Truisms That Inspire and Amuse

When writing gets difficult for me, I turn to HL Mencken. The “Sage of Baltimore” was a free thinker and prolific writer in the early 20th century. His writing inspires me, improves my own writing and, I believe, helps me amuse my audience.

HL Mencken

HL Mencken

As time moves forward, Mencken becomes a little more obscure and misunderstood. But he remains eminently quotable. For example:

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.

He’s inspired me to collect and share many a truism, bon mot, aphorism and even a few jokes. With that, here are a few anonymous entries from the archives:

  • Bad breath is better than no breath at all.
  • Old age may not have much to recommend it, but generally speaking, it is preferable to the alternative.
  • When you are not sure what to say or how to answer, the only two good choices are to either 1. tell the truth or 2. be quiet.
  • If you want something to be different, you need to do something differently.
  • If you always tell the truth you will never need to remember what lie you told to who.
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.
  • Fall down seven times. Get up eight.
  • Truth is illusory. Rumors are real.
  • “Transparent” is the new buzzword for “buy my product now!”
  • The best way to avoid a fight is to make sure the outcome is obvious before the first punch is thrown.
  • Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes because there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.
  • Character is what you are. Reputation is what people think you are.
  • A man who says marriage is a 50-50 proposition doesn’t understand two things: 1. Women. 2. Fractions.
  • The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant.
  • The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

And I close with one more from the “truisms that inspire” archive from Mr. Mencken himself:

The final test of truth is ridicule. Very few dogmas have ever faced it and survived.