Sunday, April 09, 2006

Purple Cows (and Pink Elephants?)

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!

-Gellett Burgess, 1895

Apparently he regretted penning those lines, as can be seen in this followup:

Ah yes, I wrote The Purple Cow,
I'm sorry now I wrote it;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it!

My dad tells me that Burgess and his friends were quite the pranksters. One incident in San Francisco apparently caused him to lose his job:

"He would lose his job, shortly, when he and some of his fellow members of
the writing circle known as Les Jeunes would commit an outrageous act of
prankersterism. Cogswell, a noted teototaller, had given the City of San
Francisco several statues of himself holding a glass of water. A concealed
pipe kept the glass filled. Burgess and his confederates altered one of
these monuments in a way which no biographer has found fit to describe."

-Thanks, Dad, for remembering this one!

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