We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Reading these verses, I couldn't help but think of how the baby boomers - having received from their parents calloused and bloodied hands a nation free, solvent, secure and ascendant - are on course to leave the next generation a nation indebted and in decline. The passing of the "greatest generation" may spare us their disapprobation, but it will not alter the judgment of history.
1) The word translated as "vanity" literally means "mist" or "breath" - by extension meaning "nothingness" or "for naught".
It does not have the connotation of human foibles or conceit that the word "vanity" has.
2) "Teacher" is not the standard Jewish translation of the word "Kohelet" - which is variously understood as a pseudonym for King Solomon, or as a word meaning "scholar" - it is related to a word meaning "gatherer"- as in, gathering wisdom. Which is what the author claims to have done.
Lots of other inaccuracies:
"unhappy business" is just a "bad thing" with which men "afflict themselves" not "busy themelves.
"chasing after wind" is literally "bad/mean spiritedness"
I hated all the "works that I made" - which makes more sense than the translation.
3) The key phrase of this book is "under the sun" - those who give themselves over to material pursuits are never satisfied.
The only wisdom and fulfillment is from living "above the sun - when spiritual and moral matters inform and give transcendent meaning to temporal existence.