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 August 27, 2011
“You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there”

"A body can pretend to care, but they can’t pretend to be there” is advice from the book Don’t Squat With Yer Spurs On!: A Cowboy’s Guide to Life (1992) by Texas Bix Bender. Business author Tom Peters has used the saying in his books and speeches, but it’s often slightly changed to “"You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.”

The advice is sometimes given as Texas “cowboy wisdom.” Many labor-intensive organizations that provide care (such as healthcare or tutoring) have used the saying.


Google Books
Don’t Squat With Yer Spurs On!:
A cowboy’s guide to life

By Texas Bix Bender
Salt Lake City, UT: Peregrine Smith Books
1992
Pg. 46:
A body can pretend to care, but they can’t pretend to be there.

5 January 1997, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. C2, col. 1:
HOSTS Tutor Appreciation Month
You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.

Google Books
Why We Don’t Talk to Each Other Anymore:
The De-Voicing of Society

By John L. Locke
New York, NY: Touchstone
1998
Pg. 43:
The reason, as the saying goes, is that “you can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.”

Google Books
The Brand You50, or, Fifty ways to transform yourself from an “employee” into a brand that shouts distinction, commitment, and passion!
By Thomas J. Peters
New York, NY: Knopf
1999
Pg. ?:
Attention Is All There Is.
Or follow Texas Bix Bender: “A body can pretend to care, but they can’t pretend to be there.”

Google Books
Life Is a Series of Presentations:
Eight Ways to Inspire, Inform, and Influence Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

By Tony Jeary with Kim Dower and Joel E. Fishman
New York, NY: Fireside
2004
Pg. 9:
I believe it was the business consultant Tom Peters who once said of customer service, “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.”

Roadfly Forum
doc540
03-11-2005 12:47 PM
(...)
Liberals, you can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.

FireRescue1
September 11, 2006
Command Presence: Presentation is Everything
By Billy Schmidt
(...)
“You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there,” Bix Bender writes in his book, “Don’t Squat With Yer Spurs On!” He’s describing a vital feature of leadership: command presence. Command presence is not about control, it’s about connecting. More important, it’s not about power, it’s about partnership.

Nashville (TN) Business Journal
Executive profile
A conversation with Hunter Atkins, CEO and chairman of The Bank of Nashville

Date: Sunday, June 10, 2007, 11:00pm CDT - Last Modified: Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 12:32pm CDT
(...)
Most important lesson learned: “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there,” anonymous west Texas cowboy.

Birmingham (AL) News
Gen. Krulak, the college’s president, helps Birmingham-Southern freshmen move in
Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 2:18 PM Updated: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 3:47 PM
By Greg Garrison—The Birmingham News
(...)
“There’s an old saying in the Marine Corps,” Krulak said. “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to be there.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, August 27, 2011 • Permalink