Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Where There is Will, There is Wit

Will-Rogers-StampWisdom is hard to find and sometimes even harder to recognize. Luckily, we had Will Rogers to point us in the right direction with his love of words and Western wit.

A family member forwarded some of Will’s choicest sayings, which are the perfect fodder for a weekend without a Duck football game.

His Okie wisdom is at once practical and profound:

  • “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
  • “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
  • “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.”
  • “Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n putting’ it back.”

Rogers had a knack for understanding man’s foibles:

  • “There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.”
  • “There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence to find out for themselves.”
  • “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

He was clearly a man with a country and from the country:

  • “Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.”
  • “Never squat with your spurs on.”
  • “Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.”
  • “Always drink upstream from the herd.”

The Rogers’ quotes that resonate most with me are, of course, the ones about aging:

  • “Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.”
  • “The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.”
  • “Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me; I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.”
  • “When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of algebra.”
  • “You know you are getting old when everything dries up or leaks.”
  • “I still don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.”
  • “One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.”
  • “One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.”
  • “Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.”
  • Long ago, when we cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it’s called golf.”
  • If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.”

Whatever vintage you are, Rogers offered sage words to live by:

  • “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
  • “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy thing they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”
  • “Common sense ain’t common.”
  • “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
  • “We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”
  • “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.”
  • “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

I’m not sure there was another man who said so much in so few words.

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