Aphorisms by Daniel Liebert

Daniel Liebert grew up in St. Louis in what he describes as “a very verbal Jewish family.” The table talk of his childhood was filled with proverbial expressions and Yiddishisms, echoes of which can be heard in his own aphorisms. “If grandma had a beard, she’d be grandpa,” was an oft-cited explanation for why something happened to be the way that it was. Instead of going to college, Liebert embarked on a Whitmanesque wandering through Europe, Africa and the Middle East, eventually settling in Cairo for several years during the 1970s. He’s been a stand-up comedian and joke-writer; now, he writes poems. Liebert came to aphorisms through humor; he once penned the sayings on bumper stickers and buttons for a living. His most famous line: JESUS IS COMING—LOOK BUSY. As a former stand-up comic, Liebert cites Stanislaw Jerzy Lec as his biggest influence. Lec is “the essential bridge between my comic sense and my philosophy,” he says.

If you like these aphorisms, more of Mr. Liebert’s musings can be found in Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists, out on Oct. 2…

Any grail, long sought, becomes a holy grail.

Flour, too, grinds down millstones.

Extreme old age cheapens one’s death.

Nature has laws but no lawyers.

Placebos are highly addictive.

Seeing a play on opening night is like having sex with an hysterical and exhausted virgin.

The poorer we are, the more valuable our money.

The mind is more kitchen than library.