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.

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Entry from July 25, 2012
“Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time”

"Opportunitays, like eggs don’t kum but one at a time” ("Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time") is from the American humorist Josh Billings (pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw, 1818-1885), from a published 1871 collection of sayings. The saying means that if one makes the most of one opportunity, then another opportunity will come. However, if the opportunity is wasted, another opportunity may not come.

A somewhat similar American proverb is “Opportunities, like eggs, must be hatched when they are fresh.”


Wikipedia: Josh Billings
Josh Billings was the pen name of 19th century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (21 April 1818 – 14 October 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not endured so well with later generations.

Google Books
Josh Billings, hiz sayings
By Josh Billings
New York, NY: Carleton, Publisher, Madison Square
1871
Pg. 214:
Opportunitays, like eggs don’t kum but one at a time.

Google Books
A Handbook of Proverbs:
English, Scottish, Irish, American, Shakesperean & Scriptural

Edited by James Allan Mair
New York, NY: George Routledge and Sons
1873
Pg. 60:
Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time. American.

Google Books
Peter Pengelly; or, ‘True as the clock’
By James Jackson Wray
London: Cassell Peter & Galpin
1877
Pg. 41:
Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time; so it is better to pick them up at once, for fear of accidents, for Time comes that way, and he has a heavy foot.

Google Books
A Select Collection of English and German Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, and Familiar Quotations with Translations
Edited by John Barten
Hamburg: Edited by Conrad Kloss
1896
Pg. 112:
Opportunities, like eggs. come one at a time.

Google Books
Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern English and Foreign Sources
Seelcted and compiled by Rev. James Wood
New York, NY: Frederick Warne and Co.
1899
Pg. 335:
Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time.
American Proverb

Google Books
A Dictionary of Similes
By Frank Jenners Wilstach
Boston, MA: Little, Bown, and Company
1916
Pg. 280:
Opportunitays, like eggs, don’t kum but one at a time. — JOSH BILLINGS.

20 January 1922, Rockford (IL) Republic, pg. 13, col. 3 ad:
“Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time.”—Old Proverb.
(Wortham’s—ed.)

Google Books
The Book of Common and Uncommon Proverbs
By Clifford Sawhney
Delhi: Pustak Mahal
2003
Pg. 19:
Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time.
Never expect good fortune or opportunity to come in a torrent. You will always get only one chance at one point of time. Once that opportunity is wasted, it may never come again. So, one should learn to make the best of one’s opportunities.

Google Books
The Routledge Book of World Proverbs
Edited by Jon R. Stone
New York, NY: Routledge
2006
Pg. 314:
Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time. (American)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Wednesday, July 25, 2012 • Permalink