Friday, April 5, 2019

Inventing Famous Quote Easier Said than Dunn

The other day I was convinced I had invented a great new quotation. I was listening to a friend reminisce about the good old days, the days when, as he put it, “Bruce Willis still had hair.”

The first thought that popped into my head was, Sheesh, that’s pretty weak. There must be more poignant and meaningful things to reminisce about than Bruce Willis’ dormant scalp follicles.

And that’s when the great new quotation just popped into my head: “They don’t make nostalgia like they used to.”

I paused for a second to let it sink in. Ooh, that’s a good one, I thought. That’s definitely a keeper. Might even get my name in one of those books of famous quotations.

Now, let me just say, I swear, I had never heard that expression before in my life. I was certain I had just created a brand new original clever quotation. But to make sure, I went on the Internet and did a Google search. I was stunned to find hundreds of matches. It seems my brand new original clever quotation was neither new nor original. Rats!

OK, well that one is already taken, I thought, but how hard can it be to come up with a genuine original clever quote? So, I had a new mission in life: create a unique quotation and get my name in one of those books.

Some of the quotes I came up with were like the nostalgia quote, someone else had already thought of it first. I soon realized creating a new quote is a lot easier said than done. (And “a lot easier said than done” is not original either!)

Every time I thought of something good, it turned out not to be original. For example, when I thought of “2B or not 2B, that is the question,” I learned that Shakespeare already said it, apparently when he was trying to remember his hotel room number.

When I came up with “I shall return,” it also was not original, having been used by Bernie Sanders every time he lost a presidential primary, dating back to his first attempt against FDR in 1940.

Other ideas turned out to be misstatements of famous quotations, such as my favorite quote back when I was in college, “Four score and seven beers ago,” and the desperate command I yell to my lawn each Spring, “Mow thyself!”

Other mangled quotes include:

  •  “Early to bed and early to rise, gets you to work on time, what a surprise!”
  • “A friend in tweed is a friend in need.”
  • “All the world’s enraged, and all the men and women merely slayers.”
  • “Tis better to have brushed and flossed than never to have brushed at all.”
  • “To err is human, to get the next guy to hit into a double-play divine.”
  • “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll drink beer all weekend.”
I was just about ready to give up. But a few weeks ago, while visiting with friends and family, I spent a lot of time listening to old people (mostly me) complain about their latest aches and pains, and reminisce about the good ol’ days of youth. (“Youth is wasted on the young” also is not original.)

While driving home, a new quote popped into my head. And this time a Google search did not produce a single match. I’m confident that NO ONE has ever used this expression before. Here goes: “The most frustrating part about being old is remembering being young.”

And if you don’t think that one is any good, to use a famous old Shakespearean quote, “Tough noogies, pal.”

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