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Keep the Gloom Away
~with an aphorism a day~

by Marshall Dean

An aphorism is not like an apple or an aspirin. You don’t need to swallow it. To be specific, an aphorism is defined as a short, pointed sentence expressing a wise, clever observation, a general truth or adage. The only thing you need in order to benefit from a clever aphorism is a sense of humor.

Once in a very great while, a politician will surprise his speechwriters by coining his own aphorism. He might adlib, “The nicest thing about the future is it always starts tomorrow.” That is one even his opponent would be forced to agree with.

One of my e-mail pen pals recently sent me a batch of humorous aphorisms. Here are some of them:

~ Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
~ Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.
~ A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.
~ Seat belts are not nearly as confining as wheelchairs.
~ Why is it that, at class reunions, you feel younger than everyone else looks.
~ Why is it that it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
~ Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
~ No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
~ There are no new sins, the old ones just get more publicity.
~ No one ever says, “It’s only a game” when their team is winning.
~ Be careful reading the fine print – there’s no way you’re going to like it.
~ The trouble with bucket seats is not everybody has the same size bucket.
~ Do you realize in about 40 years we’ll have millions of old ladies running around with tattoos?

Many aphorisms are famous because the persons who wrote them were famous. Often they are serious food for thought. For example, George Washington Carver once wrote “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, tolerant of the weak and strong because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

President Franklin Roosevelt produced a well-known aphorism at the beginning of World War II when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed effort to convert retreat into advance.” Many people did not approve of FDR’s politics but his reassuring words calmed a very frightened nation. Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, imbedded a bit of wisdom in an aphorism when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”


Marshall Dean is the author of a weekly column, "Rambling Prose," which is published in the Wetumpka, Alabama, Weekend. The column is written “from the sunny side of the street.”

He is also a frequent contributor to several Web sites including Vocabula Review.
E-mail Dean at yoe43K

And read more of his stories at USADEEPSOUTH!
Once a Yankee, Always a Yankee
Kudzu ~ The Alien Invader
Barefoot, Red-faced in the Cornfield
Fireflies or Lightning Bugs?
All About Grits


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