Whenever I’m asked to play that “if you could have dinner with any 10 people who ever lived, who would you choose?” game, Will Rogers is always at my table. The fact that the cowboy poet and humorist died in a plane crash 76 years ago doesn’t stand in the way of his being one of the best quote sources for what’s going on in this country–and with its people–today.
“An ignorant person is one who doesn’t know what you have just found out.”
This is a man who traveled from his birthplace on a cattle ranch in the still-then Cherokee Nation (now Oklahoma) to Vaudeville, Hollywood, Broadway and beyond. He died in a plane crash on his way to Alaska. And his words traveled everywhere, every day. His newspaper column was read by 40 million people.
“Never let yesterday use up too much of today.”
I love the way this man’s mind worked. He included himself in the mix when he handed down criticism. And the power he had when it came to making people think about their politicians made him, in my mind, the Jon Stewart of the 1930s.
“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
Today is his birthday. So, wherever you are, Will, please know you’re not only remembered warmly but still making us laugh at ourselves. Not sure anyone leaves a legacy better than that.
“So let’s be honest with ourselves and not take ourselves too serious, and never condemn the other fellow for doing what we are doing every day, only in a different way.”