You have no doubt heard the expression “when a door closes, a window opens”. What you probably do not know is that this expression derives from an ancient greek teaching. The original saying roughly translates to “as one window closes, another must open”.
This week I made friends with a man looking to obtain window replacements in Melbourne. He is engaged in the business of what they call house flipping; he buys an old home, gives it a fresh lick of paint and some other cosmetic enhancements, and sells it for a lavish profit. He tells me that replacing the windows of an older home greatly increases how much he can sell the house for.
We got talking about the aforementioned expression; he thought the saying about doors and windows was apt for his house flipping business. I had to laugh at his naivety. The expression’s meaning has shifted so far from its original purpose.
I explained to my dear new friend that this expression is not as inspirational as he thought. The actual meaning in Greek refers to the problems of stealing we had, many centuries ago, before we became a peace-loving country. As one window of the house closes, with the inhabitants of the house defending themselves against a burglar, another window around the other side of the house is opened by another burglar. Often the second burglar would be working in cahoots with the first, and they would split their spoils. Greece has a dark past from which we can learn many lessons of the ugly side of human nature.
My new friend enjoyed hearing about the origin of his favourite saying. And to think, I would never have shared this knowledge with him if he was not asking me if I knew any timber window installers in Melbourne!