Never kick a cow chip on a hot day

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Even though some book critics call it boring, I’m still leaning towards purchasing a book containing quotes from my American hero – Will Rogers.

Bryan Sterling is the author of “The Best of Will Rogers, a collection of wit and wisdom astonishingly relevant for today’s world.”

Just the book’s title is a mouthful….just wondering if the inside pages are as entertaining.

There are tons of books concerning the life and times of Will Rogers. He was a published author himself – writing a half-dozen books over his lifetime. He was also the first big time radio commentator; besides writing more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns and befriending Presidents, Senators and Kings. His opinions were sought by the leaders of the world.

Will Rogers was first an Indian, a cowboy, then a national figure; a star of Broadway and 71 movies of the 1920s and 1930s. He now is a legend.

According to his biography, Rogers was born in 1879 in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation. As he grew older, his roping skills developed so special that he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing three lassos at once…one caught the running horse’s neck, the other would hoop around the rider and the third swooped up under the horse to loop all four legs.

His skills won him jobs trick roping in Wild West shows and on the vaudeville stages where, soon, he started telling small jokes. Quickly, his wise cracks and folksy observations became more prized by audiences than his expert roping. He became recognized as being a very informed and smart philosopher–telling the truth in very simple words so that everyone could understand.

His words still ring with common sense today…here’s a sampling of his work:

Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

There are two theories to arguing with a woman….neither works.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.

There are three kinds of men: the ones that learn by reading; the few who learn by observation; the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf.

That’s the wit of Will Rogers.

(Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at or 252-332-7207.)