A man’s amusements speak loudly of his soul. The activities to which a woman gravitates in her leisure—when she is most free to choose her options—indicates what she would do most of the time if she were able.
We are, in a manner of speaking, most similar to the thing that makes us smile.
As mischief is sport for the dullard,
So is wisdom for the man of understanding.
The proverb’s potency lies in its ability to place wisdom in the context of sport, of fun, of diversion. We are asked to imagine the good man or woman who is capable of breaking into a spontaneous and broad grin before some spectacle of prudent speech or discerning action.
There is nothing wrong with the grin, only its employment upon prurient, tawdry, or worthless objects.
Wisdom, we learn, is not unlike a well-turned double-play, a birdie on the 18th hole, a hat trick, a photo finish.
The good person breaks into cheers, applauds, jumps up and down, or settles back in quiet admiration of a thing of beauty.