A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“My girlfriend told me to go out and get something that makes her look sexy…so I got drunk” (10/17)
“How do you stop a dog from barking in the back yard?"/"Put it in the front yard.” (10/17)
“What do you call a nightmare about paper?"/"A bad ream.” (10/17)
“I’ve been cutting carbs lately—with a pizza cutter” (10/17)
“Why did the dog cross the road?"/"To get to the barking lot.” (10/17)
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Entry from September 03, 2016
“I love hard work. I could watch it all day”

English author Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) wrote about work in Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) (1889):

“It always seems to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.”

“Work fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours!” is a popular paraphrase. “I love hard work. I could (sit and) watch it all day” became a popular version of the saying since the 1970s and 1980s.


Wikiquote: Jerome K. Jerome
Jerome Klapka Jerome (May 2, 1859 – June 14, 1927) was an English author, best known for the humorous travelogue Three Men in a Boat.

Three Men in a Boat (1889)
It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.
. Ch. 15.

Google Books
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)
By J. K. Jerome
London: J. W. Arrowsmith
1889
Pg. 244:
It always seems to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.

Google News Archive
11 July 1973, The Age (Melbourne, AUstralia), “Letters to the Editor: It’s hard labor in the post office,” pg. 8, col. 6:
SIR,—Peter Ryan’s letter (4/7) on the postal workers brings to mind Mark Twain’s famous words on the virtues of hard work—“I can watch it all day”, he said.
(...)
G. SLATER (General Secretary-Treasurer, Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia).

21 May 1986, Ukiah (CA) Daily Journal, pg. 3, col. 1 photo caption:
it’s a dog’s life
To paraphrase an old joke, these farm hounds love hard work. They could watch it all day long.

Google Books
Work and Leisure in Christian Perspective
By Leland Ryken
Portland, OR: Multnomah Press
1987
Pg. 12:
We signal our uneasiness about our attitudes toward work by our quips: “Work fascinates me—I can sit and watch it for hours.”

Google Books
1 and 2 Thessalonians
By Max Lucado
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson
2007
Pg. 112:
Even our bumper stickers reveal our culture’s disdain for work: “Work fascinates me . . . I can sit and look at it for hours!”

Twitter
Chris OConnor
‏@GrumpyWookie
Digging & mulching - good exercise, but hard work.  I love hard work - I could watch it all day
8:57 PM - 24 Aug 2007

Google Books
Money, Love:
A Novel about Raising Your Parents

By Brad Barkley
Westland, MI: Dzanc Books
2013
Pg. ?:
When I would finish and shut off the mower, Roman was always ready with the old joke, which he’d adopted for his own: “I love hard work; I can sit and watch it all day.”

news.com.au (Australia)
Takeaway nation: Why Australia hates to cook
SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 12:12AM
Jason Murphy @jasemurphy
(...)
But our attitude to cooking is a bit like the old joke: “I love hard work. I could watch it all day.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, September 03, 2016 • Permalink