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:
“Tuesday is just Monday’s ugly sister” (3/27)
“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky—and a dog to eat the rare steak” (3/27)
“What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for” (3/27)
“Good girls are made of sugar and spice. Country girls are made of whiskey on ice” (3/27)
“This whiskey tastes like I’m about to tell you how I really feel” (3/27)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from July 04, 2016
“If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves”

Haitian writer Jacques Roumain (1907-1944) wrote in Gouverneurs de la Rosée (1944), translated as Masters of the Dew (1947):

“If work was such a good thing, the rich would have grabbed it all up long ago!”

“If work were so great, the rich would have hogged it long ago” has been credited since at least 1994 to American author Mark Twain (the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835-1910), but there’s no evidence that Twain ever wrote it.

David Brent, a character in the BBC television mockumentary The Office, has been credited in the 2000s for:

“If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.”


Wikipedia: Jacques Roumain
Jacques Roumain (June 4, 1907 – August 18, 1944) was a Haitian writer, politician, and advocate of Marxism. He is considered one of the most prominent figures in Haitian literature. Although poorly known in the English-speaking world, Roumain has significant following in Europe, and is renowned in the Caribbean and Latin America. The great African-American poet, Langston Hughes, translated some of Roumain’s greatest works, including Gouverneurs de la Rosée (Masters of the Dew), a masterpiece of world literature. Although his life was short, Roumain managed to touch many aspects of Haitian life and culture.

Wikipedia: David Brent
David Brent is a character in the BBC television mockumentary The Office, portrayed by the show’s co-creator, co-writer, and co-director Ricky Gervais. Brent is a white-collar office middle-manager and the principal character of the series; he is the general manager of the Slough branch of the Wernham-Hogg paper merchants and the boss to most other characters in the series. Much of the comedy of the series centres on Brent’s many idiosyncrasies, hypocrisies, self-delusions, and self-promotion.

Google Books
Masters of the Dew
By Jacques Roumain
Translated by Langston Hughes and Mercer Cook
New York, NY: Reynal & Hitchcock
1947
Pg. 50:
“Eh!” said Simidor bitterly this time, “if work was such a good thing, the rich would have grabbed it all up long ago!”

29 December 1961, New Statesman, “The Agony of Haiti,” pg. 986, col. 2:
And, as the peasants go back to hoe the fields and cut the sugar-cane, they say wryly, If work were really such a good thing, the rich would have taken it all long ago.

Google Books
Hope on the Dole
By Tony Walter
London: SPCK
1985
Pg. 31:
In the words of the Haitian proverb, ‘If work were so wonderful, surely the rich would have found a way of keeping it all to themselves.’

Google Books
The Empty Raincoat:
Making Sense of the Future

By Charles B. Handy
London: Arrow Business Books
1994
Pg. 26:
‘If work were so great,’ quipped Mark Twain, ‘the rich would have hogged it long ago.’

Google Books
Just Spirituality
By Tom and Barbara Butler
New York, NY: Mowbray
1996
Pg. 122:
‘IF WORK was so great, the rich would have monopolized it long ago.’ So said Mark Twain, suggesting that the benefits of work were not all that they were sometimes made out to be.

14 September 1998, The Guardian (UK), “The low down:: Flexible working” bu Bill Saunders, pg. C57, col. 1:
Twain claimed that “if work was so great, the rich would have hogged it all”. John Stredwick and Steve Ellis say that in the 1990s this is apparently what has happened.

Google Books
My Own Witness
By Mrinal Pande
New York, NY: Viking
2000
Pg. 21:
Mark Twain, the memo said, had once remarked that if work was so good, the rich would have hogged it long ago, and the same applied to the Hindi language.

Google Groups: soc.culture.usa
Bush has 42% time off for holidays
Habshi
8/8/01
If work was so good the rich would keep more of it for themsleves.

Google Groups: alt.buzzard.rules
taken from David Brent - star of BBC’s The Office.
BuZZard
1/30/03
(...)
If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.

Google Books
Man Walks into a Bar:
Over 6,000 of the Most Hilarious Jokes, Funniest Insults and Gut-Busting One-Liners

By Stephen Arnott and Mike Haskins
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2007
Pg. 461:
If work was so good the rich would keep more of it for themselves.

Twitter
Ryan M.J. Burke
‏@ryanmatthewb
If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.
8:01 AM - 18 May 2009

Twitter
charukesi
‏@charukesi
If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves ~ David Brent. Profound thought for a Sunday morning
10:59 PM - 27 Jun 2009

Google Books
The Quotable A**hole:
More than 1,200 Bitter Barbs, Cutting Comments, and Caustic COmebacks

By Eric Grzymkowski
Avon, MA: Adams Media
2011
Pg. 110:
If work was so good, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves. —David Brent, The Office

Facebook
TropicalDawg
January 29, 2016
“If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves.”
Mark Twain

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, July 04, 2016 • Permalink