The Corner

Two Bons Mots

Earlier this morning, a reader was quick to supply a couple of apt quotes — this was in response to my Impromptus today. The first quote is from Joe Louis; the second is from Mark Twain.

Biden was criticizing Palin for not saying the words “middle class.” Well, if you plainly represent the middle class — do you have to speak the words? Only if you’re an upper-level Ted Kennedy type do you have to say the words.

Her husband works the night shift, for heaven’s sake: She does not have to express the noblesse oblige that others find necessary.

Anyway, here’s Joe Louis on being tough: “If you have to say you are, you aren’t.” (Some people render this in the vernacular. Whether Louis expressed the idea, I don’t know — but the idea is certainly right.)

(By the way, here’s Reagan on deterrence: “Nobody ever picked a fight with Jack Dempsey.”)

At the end of my column, there’s a quirky item about establishing a reputation, or earning trust. If people know you to be a certain thing — or to have a certain character — you can deviate now and then, and people will overlook it or forgive you.

Mark Twain: “Once a man acquires a reputation as an early riser, he can start sleeping until noon every day.”

The opposite is true too: Once word gets out, or the impression is given, you’re a lazybones, you can rise at dawn and work like John Henry every day for the rest of your life, and it won’t matter.

Silly old world . . .

(BTW, some of my fellow midwesterners — of a certain vintage — say “work like a Trojan.”)

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