[PW] Quote Trace: Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away.

Suzanne Watkins gilgunn2003 at ymail.com
Thu Jun 14 18:03:50 PDT 2012


THE QUOTE VERIFIER
us.macmillan.com/BookCustomPage_New.aspx?isbn...isprint=true

"Whenever I feel an urge to EXERCISE I lie down until it goes away." This observation is often attributed to Mark Twain. It certainly "sounds like" the sedentary author. Others who get credit for the witticism include W. C. Fields, animator Paul Terry, and--most often--former University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins. 

According to biographer Harry S. Ashmore, this line originated with humorist J. P. McEvoy and was one of many that Hutchins squirreled away to use at appropriate moments. In a 1938 profile of Hutchins, McEvoy himself wrote in American Mercury, "He holds with that hero who confessed: 'The secret of my abundant health is that whenever the impulse to exercise comes over me, I lie down until it passes away.'" If "that hero" was McEvoy himself, he wouldn't be the first writer to put his own words in an anonymous mouth. 

A version of this line ("Every time I think of exercise, I have to lie right down 'til the feeling leaves me.") appeared in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, whose screenplay was written by Sidney Buchman. 

Verdict: Not Twain, not Hutchins, more likely J. P. McEvoy.


Sue W
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Ní neart go cur le chéile"


--- On Thu, 6/14/12, Michael J. Lowrey <orangemike at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Michael J. Lowrey <orangemike at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [PW] Quote Trace: Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away.
To: list at project-wombat.org
Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 8:48 PM

On Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Wombats: A humorous remark about exercise is often ascribed to
> Mark Twain. There are many variations of this comment, and here is one
> example:
>
> When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away.

"The secret of my abundant health is that whenever the impulse to
exercise comes over me, I lie down until it passes away." One of the
many witty things said by Robert Maynard Hutchins, the "boy president"
of the University of Chicago who pulled the U. of C. (a charter
member) out of the Big 10 Conference because the sports were
interfering with education.

McEvoy, J. P. "Garlands for the Living: Young Man Looking Backwards"
AMERICAN MERCURY December 1938, p. 482

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1938dec-00482

-- 
Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food
and clothes."
     --  Desiderius Erasmus
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