Rhyming humorist Frediric Ogden Nash (1902-1971) celebrated life with lighthearted laughter. Born on this day in Rye, New York, he was a salesman and teacher before joining the staff of The New Yorker in the early 1930s.
"Well I have learned that life is something about which you can't conclude anything except that it is full of vicissitudes. And when you expect logic you only come across eccentricitudes," he wrote.
Always delightful, with wit and timing and rascal playfulness with meter and rhyme, Nash said he began thinking in rhymes as a child. His first collection of verse, Hard Lines, was published in 1931, creating a reason to laugh just as America entered the Great Depression.
Popular with folks of all ages, Nash shared his unique verse on radio and television programs and said he aspired to be "a good bad poet rather than a bad good poet."
Nash had an ingenious flair for wilfully disregarding language. He often misspelled, twisted, or made up words to suit his rhyme. His outrageous couplets mangled the laws of writing and were "deliberately bad." He was irreverent and clever.
Essayist Basil Bottle observed that Nash was "genuinely observant of what is abidingly and harmlessly funny...(using) the vision and vicissitudes of the poetic life."
Nash published 20 volumes of verse and wrote the lyrics for two musicals, One Touch of Venus (1943), which was called "too sexy and profane" by film star Marlene Dietrich, and the Broadway revue Two's Company (1952).
With Nash, ordinary life was worth celebrating and he did so with simple truth and light-hearted poetry.
"Too clever is dumb," he once said. "Humor is the best means of surviving in a difficult world."
More NASH Quotations
No need to admit when you are right.