Tag Archives: Ogden Nash

Experience to Let

Last week I added a book to a tall bookshelf, and wondered, in my purging frame of mind, if there were a book in that collection that I might remove in exchange. A fat volume of Ogden Nash’s poetry caught my eye, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d looked in it, so I ended up chuckling to myself for an hour as I perused the dozen pages that I found marked with post-it’s — by me, of course. I decided to keep the book around. It’s a good one for reading by the fire when one is tired from cleaning out closets and so forth.

Just a little bit about the poet, from this page: “His first writing job, in New York, was composing streetcar card ads for a firm that had previously employed F. Scott Fitzgerald. His passion, though, was rhyme. ‘I think in terms of rhyme,’ he said, ‘and have since I was six years old.’ (He once said that he almost fell in love with a woman named ‘Mrs. Blorange’ because he was so fascinated with her name—orange being one of the few words in the language, along with silver and pilgrim—that has no standard words with which to rhyme.)”

Note: In the poem below, mulcted means swindled.

Experience to Let

Experience is a futile teacher,
Experience is a prosy preacher,
Experience is a fruit tree fruitless,
Experience is a shoe tree bootless.
For sterile wearience and drearience,
Depend, my boy, upon experience.
The burnt child, urged by rankling ire,
Can hardly wait to get back at the fire.
And, mulcted in the gambling den,
Men stand in line to gamble again.
Who says that he can drink or not?
The sober man? Nay, nay, the sot.
He who has never tasted jail
Lives well within the legal pale,
While he who’s served a heavy sentence
Renews the racket, not repentance.
The nation bankrupt by a war
Thinks to recoup with just one more;
The wretched golfer, divot-bound,
Persists in dreams of the perfect round;
Life’s little suckers chirp like crickets
While spending their all on losing tickets.
People whose instinct instructs them naught,
But must by experience be taught,
Will never learn by suffering once,
But ever and ever play the dunce.
Experience! Wise men do not need it!
Experience! Idiots do not heed it!
I’d trade my lake of experience
For just one drop of common sense.

-Ogden Nash
from I’m A Stranger Here Myself © 1938

And here is a bonus poem for you, a wise little rhyme that makes me wonder if its wisdom was for him common sense, or came by experience. From what I can tell, his marriage was till death, and there doesn’t seem to be any drama surrounding it to make a long Wikipedia post. I hope his wife enjoyed his funny verses!

To keep your marriage brimming,
with love in the loving cup,
whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
whenever you’re right, shut up.

In this new era, quotes with gnomes.

gnome gnotebook 1st page 2015

It was only a few weeks ago that I told you about my late friend Bird’s Gnome Gnotebook, the contents of which I was so glad to receive in the form of a fat photocopied packet. One of you alerted me to the fact that one can buy empty versions of these notebooks online, and I quickly sent off for one, as a remembrance of my beloved friend.

P1120297

And to keep quotes in, of course! Anastasia recently shared this fun Ogden Nash verse (above) and I copied it at the bottom of the first page, where the gnome sits with his nose in a book. These contemplative gnomes will keep company with whatever I write here, on every page.

I must have a thousand quotes in computer documents, and another few hundred on papers bursting out of a manila folder. For years I used some very efficient software to help me in sad face outlinemy collecting, called Smart Quote Organizer. But it eventually proved too hard for someone with my lack of computer savvy to maintain; every time we got a new computer or made major changes, I almost lost that data. Finally I did lose it, I lost all those hundreds of good quotes and was fairly deflated — for a few minutes. I realize that even the most excellent examples of pithy sentences are just representatives of truth and wit and wisdom. The substance remains with humankind. But I decided to return to more primitive methods of storage, while not abandoning my simple Windows document folders.

At left is a page in quotes money qbmy first quotes notebook, which I arranged alphabetically in subject categories. Some pages are full and some are still completely blank, so I probably shouldn’t give up on it yet.

Of course I wouldn’t think of giving up reading it. Just now the words on this page with the heading Money have made me muse on whether I have violated any of my principles by spending on my new (technically “used,” though not written in) Gnome Gnotebook. I don’t think so.

Bird didn’t have her jottings in any particular order and I don’t plan to worry about that with my new book, either.

P1120375 old quotes crp

Above is the old notebook with the quotes all hidden inside, waiting to be pored over and contemplated. And here is another page from that book. Clearly I gave more attention to good handwriting in that previous era a decade ago, which is about when I started using this book that was gift from son Pathfinder’s family.

quotes life & limitations qb

Many of these quotes on Life and Limitations immediately apply themselves to what could be called my hobby of collecting quotes – especially the reality of limitations. The Bible says that “of the making of books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12), and I don’t think I will run out of (quality – they must be quality) quotable excerpts from those books, or other writings or speeches or folksy proverbs.

I, however, am very limited in my time, my life span, and yes, my mental abilities. I am limited in how many quotes I can publish on my blog and still maintain good standing in the eyes of my readers. So that’s all for now, folks. Have fun with these!

I needed some green soup.

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.

~Ogden Nash

Off and on since October I’ve been the frequent recipient of the benefits of modern dentistry, at which I am amazed and for which I am greatly thankful. Still, more than once while waiting “for things to settle down” I’ve had the proverbial aching tooth that is so distracting and mentally consuming. Just to prevent pain and promote recovery I was on two different occasions instructed to eat “nothing harder than spaghetti” for three days. That means no crunchy vegetables, which are one of my favorite munchies. It’s a good thing I have many soup recipes, and it’s also good that I had made a giant batch of this one before the torture began.

I made it with kale this time, and Mr. Glad thought that version was not half as good as the original spinach, but I could still slurp it by the quart. It’s the anise seed that makes it special. The recipe is pretty straightforward; I usually multiply it x8 so that I can have it in the freezer and at-the-ready. It loses nothing by waiting in the freezer and is a great accompaniment to any Italian main dish. I like it just as well without the cheese and lemon.

P1120284kale soup

FLORENTINE SPINACH SOUP

1 T. olive oil
½ c. each thinly sliced celery and green onion
2 tsp. anise seed
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach (other leafy greens may be substituted)
3 c. regular-strength chicken broth
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
lemon wedges
grated Parmesan cheese

Pour oil into a 3-4 qt. Pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add celery, onion, and anise seed to pan; stir occasionally until vegetables just begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add spinach, broth, and pepper; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Pour soup, a portion at a time, into a blender or food processor (or use immersion blender?), and whirl until smoothly puréed. Reheat if necessary, pour into bowls, and offer lemon wedges and cheese to add to taste. Makes four servings (unless you are serving someone like me, who would want to eat this whole pot.)