Years ago, a wise old man handed me a small booklet and suggested I should read it.
It was called “Two-Liners.’’ The subtitle was “A lot can be said in just two lines.’’
I guess the modern-day version of a “two-liner” is a 140-character tweet, a catchy meme or a thought-provoking post on social media.
“Two-Liners” was published decades ago by a man named Joe Pruett, who died in 1987 at age 80. I never met Mr. Pruett, but I would have loved to have known him.
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He had lived in Macon since 1935 and ran a local advertising company for 45 years. He served as executive secretary of the Georgia Farm Equipment Association and was a devoted leader in the state and local exchange clubs.
Joe was a natural-born writer. He edited his local newspaper in Leesburg at age 12. Later in life, he always was rushing off to meet a deadline or publish a newsletter for the Exchange Club, the AARP or his Sunday School Class at Vineville Presbyterian.
As a young boy, he developed a stutter, after becoming frightened by a thunderstorm. But his stuttering never got in his way of speaking to different groups around Macon. In fact, one awarded him with a plaque that read, “In G-Grateful A-A-Appreciation For S-Superb L-L-Leadership.’’
Pruett’s booklet contained more than 1,700 “two-liners” he had collected over the years. He didn’t claim them to be original. His byline noted the witty sayings and wise cracks were “stolen from others by Joe F. Pruett.’‘ He often gave it to people instead of sending Christmas cards.
I wrote down a few of my favorites.
Money will buy a dog, but only love makes him wag his tail.
We need more four-letter words — like love, kiss, help and care.
A wishbone won’t get you as far as a backbone.
There’s a big difference between free speech and cheap talk.
Stopping is about all you can do on a dime these days.
You can’t go to heaven if you don’t read the instructions.
The awkward age — too old to cry and too young to swear.
Middle age is when your knees buckle, and your belt won’t.
Ballot boxes make more noise than protesters.
Never let a kiss fool you or a fool kiss you.
I have collected my own “two-liners” over the years, as well as some three- and four-liners. I have kept a repository of song lyrics, commercial jingles and any collection of interesting words that could be borrowed and bended, passed along, saved, downloaded and forwarded.
Here are a few I will share a few with you.
Somebody doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.
Nobody ever complained about waking up to the smell of bacon.
The best thing about playing soccer is you don’t have to watch it.
A meal without a dessert is like a sentence without a period.
Always turn your head to find the cool side of the pillow.
When your words are talking to your heart, don’t interrupt.
The one advantage to working seven days a week is you don’t dread going to work on Monday.
Now that shampoos contain organic ingredients like strawberries, cucumbers and watermelon, it’s no wonder I get out of the shower every morning craving a salad.
The only people who truly know your story are the ones who helped you write it. (I heard this one just this Friday.)
Always arrive 15 minutes early everywhere you go. If you’re five minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late.
It doesn’t matter how many races you’ve won if you’ve missed the joy in running them.
Never put a $10 tree in a 10-cent hole. (Hey, that might make a good title for a book.)
Ed Grisamore teaches journalism at Stratford Academy in Macon and is the author of nine books. His column appears on Sundays in The Telegraph.