Don’t Try to Get out of Work

William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name “O. Henry,” became one of the most popular authors in America at the turn of the last century. He wrote for years, but his literary career really took off from a most unlikely place—prison. Porter had been convicted of embezzlement from the bank where he had worked in Texas (although there is some evidence that it was not theft but carelessness that led to the loss of funds) and was sentenced to five years in prison. While there, he wrote and published some of his best-known stories, establishing himself as a premiere author.

In his interactions with others, O. Henry displayed the same wit that filled his stories. It is said that once when he attempted to get a royalty check from a New York publisher without success. He went to the office to try to collect in person, only to be told that the person who signed checks was not available because of a sprained ankle. “My dear sir,” O. Henry said, “does he sign them with his feet?”

When we are trying to avoid doing something we don’t want to do, almost any excuse will suffice. Rather than looking for reasons to avoid the tasks that are set before us, we should be faithful and diligent about our work.

Source: After Dinner Stories by Famous Men, Hearst’s International Library Co., Inc.

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