When you receive a “job offer” to go to work for a place which promises great fortunes and opportunities, wonderful benefits, and other attractive drivel, and it then turns out that you have to pay to participate in this “job”, something suspicious is afoot (usually a pyramid scheme, or some other sort of uncouthness). It is in instances such as this that one might display sagacity (suh’GAS’it’ee) in quickly deciding that despite the opportunity to make a lot of money, it’s never wise to have to pay an employer for a job.
Or, perhaps your car is not running well. You take it to the auto shop and are quickly told that the problem can be fixed for something like $1200. If you’re well enough to-do that this is pocket change, you go ahead and pay the man. Alternately, you might display some sagacity by saying, “All that for two brake pads and rotors?! What are they; made of platinum?!” and march out the door.
If you are a gentleman who has been randomly approached be a woman offering you “a good time”, it takes very little sagacity to determine that you are in the presence of someone of questionable ethics and certain ulterior motives which may leave your pocketbook penniless.
And so on.
Sagacity is, thus, the combination of wisdom and tasteful discrimination. It is, moreover, the application of the former to the latter. Thus, you discriminate because you are wise. You do not get taken advantage of. You choose between something which seems too easy and something a little less convenient but of sounder quality or ethical backing. You don’t believe everything you’re told without at least a little bit of support. You take things with a grain of salt, not because your cynical, but because you know better, either from experience or just because you’re so darn smart.
And so on.
One who displays these qualities is sagacious (the adjectival form of “sagacity”). As a general rule, being sagacious—displaying or employing sagacity—is a very good thing.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Mark Jacobs. Mark is Jet Fuel Review’s prose editor. He is an Aviation major, but the left side of his brain is an avid writer. Mark is a junior and works a few hours a week as a tutor in the Writing Center.