Poor Robert’s Ruminations with Rob Whittle: Memorable bon mots

Poor Robert’s Ruminations with Rob Whittle: Memorable bon mots
Rob Whittle (Courtesy Photo)

By Rob Whittle

While still an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, the great Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard returned from one of his two newspaper jobs to his fraternity, proclaiming he had just written the greatest headline in sports journalism history. He wouldn’t divulge it to his frat brothers for fear that his editor wouldn’t run it, although, as Grizzard observed, “He probably would since he was half-drunk when I left the office.” 

It was the eve of the Georgia Bulldogs versus South Carolina Gamecocks football game, and, unfortunately for Georgia, one of their stars, Happy Dicks, was injured. 

Sure enough, the next day the headline ran, “Dawgs to play Cocks with Dicks out.” 

Personally, I can’t think of a better sports headline. 

Staying with sports quotes, I saved this one from the beginning of the Commanders’ season. In an article in the Washington Post about the need for the team to start the season fast – especially for head coach Ron Rivera, who needed to prove to the new owners that he was the man going forward – he came up with this gem: “One of the things John Madden told me is: ‘You win the first one, you’re always in the plus. If you lose the first one, you’re behind.’” Rivera had to go all the way back to Madden for that brilliant exercise in mathematics? 

I’ve checked the stats, and the new principal owner, despite fans’ optimism, has yet to make a tackle or complete a pass. 

I’ve always loved it when people generate memorable bon mots; in fact, I keep a file on them. I’ve included below some of my favorites. You’re welcome. 

“A day without sunshine is, you know, night.” – Steve Martin 

“It’s like they have a different word for everything.” – Steve Martin after his first trip to France 

“God created war so Americans would learn geography.” – unknown 

“I’m not good at advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?” – Chandler Bing 

“I never forget a face. But in your case, I’ll be glad to make an exception.” – Groucho Marx 

“For my favorite. And by favorite, I mean the one I hate the least.” – greeting card spotted recently in CVS 

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein 

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.” – Bill Watterson 

“Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and buy her a house.”—the thrice-married Lewis Grizzard 

I haven’t even gotten to Mark Twain, probably America’s greatest writer. 

• “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” 

• “Politicians and diapers must be changed often. For the same reason.” 

• “Go to Heaven for the climate. Hell for the company.” 

• “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” 

• “Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.” 

• “A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants.” 

Speaking of bon mots, one night after a couple of drinks, I decided to write a song. So far, it has remained undiscovered by Nashville, Hollywood and Motown, so here is the first publishing of the refrain: 

“I am a Chesapeake waterman 

Fishing crabs from the Bay 

The islands are receding 

And the water has its way” 

Shameless self-promotion. Anybody know Bruce Hornsby, or Elton John? Beyonce? Anybody? 

The writer is CEO of Williams Whittle Advertising and is the author of two historical novels, “Pointer’s War” and “Pointer and the Russian.” He can be reached at rwhittle@williamswhittle.com