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Mon, July 22

Column: Say it today, regret it tomorrow

Dr. Ron Barnes

Dr. Ron Barnes

Have you ever said something then immediately wished you hadn't?

If you answered "No" I suspect you either have a lousy memory or a very selective one.

All of us have uttered things that have come back to haunt us.

"I can tell you for a fact she won't give us a test today."

"Honey, that red and orange blouse looks great on you. Now let's go. We're already late as it is!"

"Okay, okay, I love your broccoli, banana, avocado, black bean puree. I hope we have it every night this week!"

But mutterings like these are small potatoes compared to what some of our illustrious citizens have said.

Here are a few of the more memorable ones:

After turning down the role of Rhett Butler and hearing that Clark Gable had accepted it, Gary Cooper issued this statement: "Gone with the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history. I'm just glad it will be Clark Gable who's falling flat on his face and not Gary Cooper."

In urging President McKInley to abolish the U.S. Patent office in 1899, the Patent Office director used this argument: "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Early in his career when he was a young writer with the Toronto Star, Ernest Hemingway received this appraisal from a fellow reporter: "You'll never get anywhere with those damned little short sentences."

Even noted historians get it wrong sometimes. After a long interview with Hitler in 1936, Arnold J. Toynbee said: "I am convinced of Hitler's sincerity in desiring peace in Europe."

"I think there's a world market for maybe five computers," said Thomas J. Watson, chairman of IBM in 1943.

Under the heading of wishful thinking come these words from movie producer Darryl F. Zanuck: "Video won't be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will get tired of staring a plywood box every night."

Lee De Forest, inventor of the audio tube, said this in 1957: "Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances." Guess what happened just 12 years later.

Jim Denny, booking agent for the Grand Ole Opry, gave this talent appraisal to a young man after his first performance: "You ain't goin' nowhere with that, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck." Elvis persevered anyhow.

In 1964 a United Artists studio executive rejected Ronald Reagan for the role of president in the movie "The Best Man" with these words: "Reagan doesn't have the presidential look."

And here is my personal favorite: "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." We do remember, Mr. Lincoln.


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