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 26, 2012
“If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a popular American poem verse from the 1830s. The verse has many joke endings that replace “try, try again.”

“If at first you dont succeed, you’re running about average” is a jocular anti-proverb that has been cited in print since about 1954 and is of unknown authorship. The saying appeared in the Reader’s Digest, where it might have been popularized.

American film comedian W. C. Fields (1880-1946) is attributed with this take on the saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” Other variations include “If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success,” “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try management,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try left field,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so your failure is statistically significant,” “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving isn’t for you,” “If at first you don’t succeed, we have a lot in common” and “Cooking Rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.”


The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred. R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 578:
Thomas H.Palmer
U.S. author, 1782-1861
“‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”

Quoted in The Village Reader (1840). The identical words, except with “try, try again,” appear in a poem titled “Perseverance; or, Try Again,” printed in Common School Assistant, Aug. 1838. No author is identified.

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 66
1955
Pg. 128:
M. H. Alderson: If at first you don’t succeed you’re running about average.
-- Mt. Vernon, Mo., Lawrence County Record.

3 February 1955, National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, IN), pg. 6, col. 8:
M. H. Alderson: If at first you don’t succeed you’re running about average.—Lawrence County Record.

21 July 1955, Lebanon (PA) Daily News, pg. 1 left masthead:
GOOD EVENING
IF at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

11 October 1955, The Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, MT), “Today’s Chuckle,” pg. 1, col. 4:
If at first you don’t succeed, that makes you about average.

10 March 1956, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “CERF...and Grin & Bear It,” pg. 4, col. 2:
Herb Shriner says, “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.”

Google News Archive
5 March 1963, Meriden (CT) Journal, “Dear Abby” by Abigail Van Buren, pg. 7, col. 6:
CONFIDENTIAL TO MARTY: If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

Google Books
Speaker’s Desk Book of Quips, Quotes, and Anecdotes
By Jacob Morton Braude
Bombay: Jaico Pub. House
1966 [©1963]
Pg. 311:
If at first you don’t succeed, that makes you just about average. —WARREN HULL

Google Books
Sharkproof:
Get the job you want, keep the job you love—in today’s frenzied job market

By Harvey Mackay
New York, NY: HarperBusiness
1994
Pg. 30:
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED ... YOU’RE DOING ABOUT AVERAGE

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
Edited by Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 54:
If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average.

Google Books
“Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words”:
Folk Wisdom in Art, Culture, Folklore. History,Literature, and Mass Media

By Wolfgang Mieder
New York, NY: Peter Lang
2008
Pg. 107:
If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, August 26, 2012 • Permalink


Actually the joke has sense. We must aim high, more than the average because if just be contented with the average then failure is possible.

Posted by rat control  on  08/27  at  07:09 AM

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