And he was one of them (writers, that is)!
Phyllis agrees with him because she's got one of them (writers, that is) who doesn't know a darned thing about how to balance a checkbook.
I just note on the monthly statement "$334.86 out-of-balance" and let it go at that. My wife has fits over my writer's lack of business acumen.
"Does that mean we've got $334.86 we don't know we have?" she asks. "Or we have spent $334.86 more than the book shows?"
"I don't know," I answer. "I just know it's $334.86 out-of-balance. We'll find out when the bank calls us to complain that we're short $334.86. Or long."
Why she lets me handle the money, I'll never know.
But now she's got Irvin S. Cobb's comment about writers being poor businessmen to give her a reason to take over the cash.
"I'll find that $334.86 error," she says, "and then we'll know whether we're in the hole or not."
Cobb may have something there after all. I admit I never read the small print � and that's usually where the stickier stuff is.
Now with all that technology foolishness to confuse us even further, no wonder I'm bewildered.
Take the computer, for instance � and I wish you would! That machine, for all its good points, mystifies me to no end. I guess I'm just a dunderhead when it comes to something new.
Goodness knows I've tried-but thank the Lord I saved my typewriter or you'd be short a column this week. Of course, that's better than being minus $334.86! (Phyllis's words, not mine.)
Cobb, who died in 1944 at the age of 68, wrote other clever things like "Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn" and "A good story-teller is a person who has a good memory and hopes other people haven't."
But this is the first time he affected my life with that businessman stuff. I prefer other quotes like Josh Billing's line about a good writer being someone who has more brains "than most men possess." That's better than being a good businessman � but then I'm prejudiced.
Needless to say, Cobb � who's dead, you know � has hurt my professional feelings. He could have given his fellow writers a glowing tribute instead of making us sound like Bob Crachitt on a high stool.
I just hope that Tom Clancy and John Grisham are better at counting their marbles than I am!
Of course, if I were a good businessman, I wouldn't be a writer, and I'd have a certified public accountant do my figures. I might even end up being an Enron executive instead of a lowly scribbler.
On the other hand, I've made my choice. Even in grade school they knew that I was better at words than I was at numbers.
So I'll go on � the computer willing � and not give it another thought. Except to wonder where that $334.86 is!
� 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz