COMMENTARY: The Guy in the Glass

Years ago I came across a poem entitled “The Man in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow. I looked it up on the Internet and discovered a website maintained by his children that contains the original version written in 1934 and published in The American Magazine as “The Guy in the Glass.”

It contains timeless truths about integrity.

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn’t your Father or Mother or Wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

Judging from the devoted words of his children, Mr. Wimbrow never cheated the guy in his glass.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 4

  1. It is reminiscent of “Reflections of Yourself” that I wrote for my Father in 1975, however, I was never quite sure of how he interpreted it. As a result of I surmised that it was truly written for myself. Thanks for reminding me of Mr. Wimbrow’s wonderful contribution…L.C.

    1. Really like this, I plan to share it with my students. Just wondering – what is pelf? on the first line? Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I used to manage a crew of all types of individuals. I had this as a large poster on a wall in my office. Some thought is crazy, most thought about it, though. I would even use it on occasion when doing a new employee orientation. My 12 year old grandson has it on a wall in his bedroom.

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