Aphorisms by Michael Haaren

Michael Haaren is the CEO of a training company and writes the monthly Rat Race Rebellion (@RatRaceRebels) column for the Dallas Morning News. “I was living in Paris in Edith Piaf’s run-down 20th arrondissement in the 1980s when I published my first aphorisms,” he writes. “They appeared in short-lived U.S. literary magazines, such as Amelia and Light.” Haaren pens that most daring of aphoristic feats: Writing aphorisms about aphorisms. Ambrose Bierce (Geary’s Guide, pp. 356–358) did it  (“Aphorism, n: Predigested wisdom”); Don Paterson (Geary’s Guide, pp. 297–298) does it (“A book of aphorisms is a lexicon of disappointments”); Gabriel Laub (Geary’s Guide, pp. 43–45) did it (“Men appreciate aphorisms because, among other reasons, they contain half-truths. That is an unusually high percentage”); and so did Julien de Valckenaere (Geary’s Guide, pp. 61–62): “The shortest aphorism that makes you think the longest is the best.” Here follows a selection of Michael Haaren’s sayings, taken from the collection-in-progress Quips and Whips.

The difference between the wrong word and the right word is the difference between oceans and continence.

Aphorism (definition): Philosophy and mirth on their way to a funeral.

A popular definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Voting, for example.

The true measure of a man’s mind seldom exceeds six inches.

A good aphorism is like the membrane over a snake’s eye: a thin curtain before a striking truth.