Credit/blame for what follows goes to Mrs. Mary Bauer who, still masquerading as Miss Mary Dunlap, was burdened with your scribe in her freshman English class during the 1964-65 term.
That year, among her countless contributions to our education, we learned she:
* Did an engrossing recitation of “The Creation of Sam McGee,” a poem by Robert W. Service;
* Enjoyed the works of Eatonton, Georgia, native Joel Chandler Harris;
* Allowed us to watch the movie, “Great Expectations,” in addition to reading the Charles Dickens’ classic; and
* Convinced us there were many quotations from the above authors and others, namely William Shakespeare, as relevant nowadays as when first written.
Miss Dunlap’s favorite quotation came from “Hamlet,” “Brevity is the soul of wit,” six words she refused to accept one day.
More on that shortly.
Don’t know if Mrs. Bauer is a fan of Dan Jenkins, the sports-writing newspaper guy/novelist, who died March 7, at 90, after writing such classics as “Semi-Tough,” “Dead-Solid Perfect,” “You Gotta Play Hurt,”
“Slim and None” and “The Money-Whipped Steer-Job Three-Jack Give-Up Artist,” a 2001 novel.
Among the Texas Christian University alumni’s most-quoted lines are:
“All I’ve ever done is try to get at the truth of the matter.”
* “I hate political correctness.”
* “Laughter is the only thing that’ll cut trouble down to a size where you can talk to it.”
Baseball Hall of Famer and Mobile native Satchell Paige had a humorous way with words, journalists writing about him quickly learned that.
Satchell, nearing age 50 and still pitching baseballs professionally, reportedly said “by staying ‘loose’ during off-seasons, especially by dancing, means all I have to do to get ready for a new season is shake hands with my catcher.”
Folks watching Satchell said, “He ran around in a tight circle so fast he ran his head up his own hind end” and “He was so fast, he could outrun his shadow.”
The late Van Lingle Mungo, while pitching for Brooklyn’s Dodgers, went ballistic after outfielder Long Tom Winslett dropped a fly ball costing the team and Mungo a win; after tearing up the clubhouse following the game, Mungo telegraphed his wife, “Pack up your bags and come to Brooklyn, honey. If Winslett can play in the Majors, so can you.”
More recently, Wiregrass native Dr. Harold Stanley, after years teaching political science courses at the University of Rochester and Southern Methodist University, was named Assistant Provost at SMU.
Upon learning of Harold’s new position, your scribe, a skillful, investigative journalist, asked, “What do you do as assistant provost?”
Harold, one of Mrs. Bauer’s ace debate students, said, “Assist the provost.”
Finally, about then-Miss Dunlap’s favorite quote: When your scribe didn’t have the complete answer to the last discussion question on a major test and, grasping at straws, desperately noted at the end of an incorrect stab in the dark, “Remember, Miss Dunlap, brevity is the soul of wit!”
“But not in this case, Mr. Adams!”