Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines
staked out long ago by your ancestors.
Observe people who are good at their work—
skilled workers are always in demand and admired;
they don’t take a backseat to anyone.
1-3 When you go out to dinner with an influential person,
mind your manners:
Don’t gobble your food,
don’t talk with your mouth full.
And don’t stuff yourself;
bridle your appetite.
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
wealth sprouts wings
and flies off into the wild blue yonder.
Don’t accept a meal from a tightwad;
don’t expect anything special.
He’ll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;
he’ll say, “Eat! Drink!” but won’t mean a word of it.
His miserly serving will turn your stomach
when you realize the meal’s a sham.
Don’t bother talking sense to fools;
they’ll only poke fun at your words.