Of course, you're familiar with the more quotable "It ain't over 'til it's over," typically attributed to Yogi Berra. Only Yogi didn't say it. Not exactly.
That's what I've just learned from Ralph Keyes's delicious book The Quote Verifier (St. Martin's Griffin; $15.95). Also available at amazon.com.
It's a gem of a book -- for an aphorist, a laughorist, or anybody who loves words, quips, and getting the facts right.
Keyes takes hundreds of well-known quotes and painstakingly demonstrates each quote's origin (insofar as it can be determined) and its evolution.
You'll be surprised. And delighted.
This book is terrific entertainment (though I confess it can make the reader an insufferable snob if he or she cannot help correcting common assumptions about famous quotes, but I suppose that's between me and my therapist, or at least my Supervising Laughorist).
But it's great stuff.
If you want to learn more about The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When or its author, check out:
Since you've asked, Marie Antoinette did not originate the phrase "Let them eat cake." And Leo Durocher, who managed my beloved Giants during their great 1951 miracle against the dreaded Dodgers (who unfortunately won today), did not quite say "Nice guys finish last."
"You could look it up."
Oh, that's another quote Mr. Keyes deconstructs.
Speaking of "it ain't over 'til it's over" (yep, the quote's here to stay; that's part of the evolutionary thing), the E Pluribus Unum Humor Contest is over. Results will be published soon.
(I'm easy. If you twist my bloggered virtual arm, I suppose I'd still take a few witty suggestions for a shiny-new U.S. motto at firstname.lastname@example.org).
"Now, go eat some cake."