The Timeless Brilliance of W.C. Fields

The Timeless Brilliance of W.C. Fields

As a kid, my parents used to take my sister and I to this little retro-styled diner in Dallas every Sunday. It was our tradition. I remember the food being good enough to instill my life-long attachment to breakfast fare, but more importantly, I remember the menu. There wasn’t anything overly fancy about it aside from the back of the menu being covered in quotes from W.C. Fields. As young as I was, I had no idea who Fields was, but I swear, over so many trips to the diner I must have memorized the entire collection. As much as I knew what he said, I never quite understood who he was.

W.C. Fields was one of the most prolific comedic minds of the early 1900’s. Think of a turn-of-the-century Jerry Seinfeld, if you will. He was known for his ego, his drinking, and his wit. Fields was a master marketer and began his career in comedy at the age of 20. He would go on to perform with the likes of Charlie Chaplin on some of the grandest stages in the world. Fast forward 25 years and the quaint little diner still sits in the suburbs of north Dallas, and the menu hasn’t changed.

Neither has the brutal humor of W.C. Fields.

It’s almost like he says the things we think but don’t say. Here is a collection of some of my favorite quips:

“I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally. ”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”
“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
“I never hold a grudge. As soon as I get even with the son-of-a bitch, I forget it.”
“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”
“I don’t drink water. Fish (have sex) in it.”

“Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.”
“A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money”
“Fell in love with a beautiful blonde once. Drove me to drink. And I never had the decency to thank her.”
“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. ”

“A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.”
“Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There’s nothing like having a midget for a butler. ”
“Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.”
“No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.”

“Never try to impress a woman, because if you do she’ll expect you to keep up the standard for the rest of your life.”
“Take me down to the bar! We’ll drink breakfast together!”
“Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.”
“I always keep some whiskey handy in case I see a snake…which I also keep handy.”

“I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol, and wild women. The other half I wasted.”
“It is funnier to bend things than to break them.”
“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”
“Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”

“I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.”
“You can fool some of the people some of the time — and that’s enough to make a decent living.”

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