[Ads-l] Joke: I've half a mind to write a magazine poem

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 7 06:18:41 UTC 2015

Barry examined a collection of jokes about writing that employ
wordplay based on the phrase "half a mind". One instance has been
attributed to Groucho. The earliest instance listed by Barry was this
quip in 1946:


[Begin excerpt]
"Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book, and does."
[End excerpt]

Below is a similar type of joke using the same wordplay in 1894 that,
I think, reveals the evolution of the quip:

Date: January 21, 1894
Newspaper: The Daily News (Denver Rocky Mountain News)
Newspaper Location: Denver, Colorado
Article: Quips of the Day
Quote Page 12, Column 7
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
"I've half a mind to write a magazine poem." "All right. Half a mind
seems to be about enough for that sort of thing."--New York Press.
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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