Says who?

Funny story written by Frank Cotolo

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was once quoted as saying, "I'm an optimist, but I'm an optimist who carries a raincoat." However, Wilson has been photographed hundreds of times without a raincoat under his arm, defying his words and making historians wonder if he ever wore under pants.

French writer Robert Mallet said, "Many pessimists end up by desiring the things they fear, in order to prove that they are right."

Mallet, of course, said this in French and to my knowledge, never knew Wilson. But Mallet did own a raincoat.

Still, some feel Mallet (whose bloodlines include the person who invented the stick that bears his name) may never have said such a thing, since documents unearthed in a café in Nice prove he was a manic depressive who often scraped his face against rough concrete buildings just to ease his inner pain.

I bring these two examples to your attention because during your life you will read or hear quotes that will be credited to someone who never made the statement.

For instance, Cary Grant never said, “Judy, Judy, Judy.” And Mr. Blackwell never said, “Anyone who undresses nicely is a friend of mine.” I made that up.

Also false is the quote from Marc Antony about Julius Caesar. Marc did, in fact, come to praise Julius as well as he came to bury him. On top of this, no one knows if Julius was buried at all. Shakespeare misquoted Marc Antony to serve his artistic purposes.

As well, a raven can’t speak at all, no less be quoted, so Edgar Allen Poe was full of hokey juice, too.

Did you know that at one time no one even wrote down what other people said? It’s true.

Once there were no quotes. This is because at one time mankind had the sense to realize that nothing anyone said was worth repeating, no less writing down to remember.

Since the invention of quotes, quoting has become all too popular. People have become accustomed to using quotes “when they can’t think of something good to say themselves,” says Ringwald Constanzio, a leading and former teacher of English at Oxford. “I’m disgusted with everything anyone ever said,” says Constanzio.

So the next time someone quotes someone to make a point, tell him or her to say it in their own words. Like the famous clown Emmett Kelley once never said, “ .”

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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