Aphorisms by Laurence Musgrove

Laurence Musgrove—a professor of, among other things, rhetoric and composition, creative writing (poetry), and visual thinking at Angelo State University in Texas—lists the influences of his aphoristic alter-ego, Tex, as Buster (Keaton), Henry (David Thoreau), Duke (a.k.a. John Wayne), and Groucho (Marx). Tex, a straight-talkin’ Texan line drawing sporting a speech bubble and a Stetson, might also cite such illustrious predecessors as Josh Billings (Geary’s Guide, pp. 13-16), Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard (GG, pp. 38-39) and Will Rogers (GG, pp. 53-54). Like these three aphorists, Tex dispenses folksy, homespun wisdom with a distinctly Western twist and, like Hubbard’s cartoon incarnation, Abe Martin, Tex comes fully if minimally illustrated…


Musgrove’s site Texosophy: Aphorisms, Advice & Wisecracks showcases Tex’s (which, when said aloud, sounds like ‘Texas’) sayings, many of which take the form of a Billings-esque dialectic:

Man waz kreated a little lower than the angels, and he haz been a gitting a little lower ever since. —Josh Billings


Tex and Billings also both practice cacography, the deliberate misspelling of words for phonetic effect.

Hubbard, who died in 1930, wrote a syndicated column/cartoon for more than 25 years that chronicled the sayings and doings of Abe Martin and the other denizens of the fictional Brown County, Indiana. Tex is similarly prolific if less widely published. Musgrove has lately been producing a drawing and saying a day, conveniently preserved in the Texosophy archives. Tex and Abe share a similar wry, funny, gently chiding disposition.

The world gets better every day—then worse again in the evening. —Abe Martin



In Tex, Musgrove has added a real original to the line of witty, wisecracking American philosophers that began with Poor Richard.