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:
“I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place” (11/19)
“Watch repairmen always get to work on time” (11/19)
“I never use body butter. I don’t want to make myself irresistible to cannibals” (11/19)
“Why do midgets make bad parents?"/"Because they struggle to put food on the table.” (11/19)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
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Entry from September 15, 2009
“When you throw dirt, you lose ground”

"When you throw dirt, you lose ground” is often credited as a “Texas proverb.” The saying is anonymously given in a 1923 Pennsylvania newspaper: “It is encouraging to know that politicians who throw mud eventually lose ground.”

W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel promised no “mud-slinging” in a 1942 Texas campaign for United States senator: “I have never thrown mud in my life...Confucious say ‘he who throw mud lose ground.’”

The “when you throw dirt/mud, you lose ground” saying is used throughout the United States and is usually not associated with any one person or state.


Wikipedia: W. Lee O’Daniel
Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel (March 11, 1890 - May 11, 1969) was a radio personality and a Democratic Party politician from Texas.

27 November 1923, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 4, col. 2:
It is encouraging to know that politicians who throw mud eventually lose ground.

3 July 1942, Lubbock (TX) Morning Avalanche, pg. 7, col. 5:
No Mud-Slinging?
“I had hoped for no mud-slinging in this campaign,” O’Daniel continued. “But I was disappointed...I have never thrown mud in my life...Confucious say ‘he who throw mud lose ground’...”

8 December 1949, Billings (MT) Herald, pg. 2, col. 3:
Somebody said that if you throw dirt you lose ground.

11 October 1952, Beckley (WV) Post-Herald, pg. 1, col. 3:
“My Republican opponent must do the same with regard to his own record as a public servant. May he long remember that the best way to lose ground is to throw dirt.”

5 October 1954, Charleroi (PA) Mail, pg. 4, col. 4:
People who throw dirt always lose ground.

14 April 1955, Hawarden (IA) Independent, pg. 4, col. 3:
When you throw dirt, you lose ground.

26 May 1956, Las Vegas (NM) Daily Optic, pg. 1, col. 2:
“I believe in the old maxim that if you throw mud you lose ground.”
(Adlai Stevenson—ed.)

4 May 1966, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 8B, col. 1 ad:
THOSE WHO THROW MUD LOSE GROUND
(Ray Holbrook, candidate for Galveston county judge—ed.)

HR Resource
When You Throw Dirt, You Lose Ground
Cookie Tuminello
August 17, 2009
“When you throw dirt, you lose ground.” - Texas Proverb

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, September 15, 2009 • Permalink