Shiny Grey Wisdom


Firefly All you Browncoats out there know the secret meaning of the word ‘shiny,’ right?*  No, I’m wrong–that sentence shouldn’t have a question mark, but an exclamation point!  Maybe two!

All you browncoats out there know the secret meaning of the word ‘shiny,’ right! !

To me, this is the all-time best piece of invented slang in all of science fiction. * (For those of you whose coats are other colors, shiny is the superb exclamation meaning ‘cool’ or ‘great’ on Firefly. Really and truly, you need to watch the series!)


The next greatext example of invented slang comes from Robert J. Sawyer’s award-winning Neanderthal Parallax trilogy: Humans, Hominids, and Hybrids. In these fantastic, engrossing books, anything wise, such as advice, is ‘grey’.  As someone with grey hair (more like white, really) I appreciate the nod to elder wisdom.


Here’s an example of words that are both shiny and grey. I’ve never quoted the pope before and don’t expect to quote him ever again, but here are Pope Francis’s ten tips for happiness:

  1. “Live and let live.”
  2. “Be giving of yourself to others.”
  3. “Proceed calmly” in life. 
  4. Have “a healthy sense of leisure.”
  5. “Sunday is for family.”
  6. Be “creative” with young people and find innovative ways to create dignified jobs.
  7. Respect and take care of nature.
  8. Stop being negative. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy,” he said.
  9. “The worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes.”
  10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said. “The call for peace must be shouted.”

Number 6, ‘create dignified jobs’ is kind of beyond me, but as for the rest–absolutely!

Take number 5: the wife and I tried to do this when the children were growing; not always, but often.

I especially appreciate number 9, because my extended family spans more than one religion–and as a youth, I was rather painfully aware of the differences.  How much better to live and let live (number 1 on the pope’s list), without trying to force our beliefs on others.  Very grey advice.

How about you? Do you have any tips for wise, happy living?



  1. winterbayne · · Reply

    Find what works for you…

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Winter. (Oh, I wish it were. Winter, I mean. Here in souther Arizona it’s far too hot these days!)

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