“Brilliant” Ashleigh Ellwood

By Tommy Clarkson from the February 2011 Edition

Last month, I wrote of James Thurber whose birthday, December 8th, was one day before mine.

F.T. Eyre has – once again – reminded me of yet another humorist writer whose works, as well as his last name, are singularly “Brilliant” – Ashleigh Ellwood generally precedes his unique family name. Lo and behold, he and I share the same day of birth – the 9th – with his birth preceding mine by eleven years, being in 1933.

He was described in The Wall Street Journal as “history’s only full time, professional published epigrammatist.” Unique to his work, he employs a self-imposed limit of 17 words per epigram. (For those who may have forgotten, an epigram is “a concise, witty, and often paradoxical remark or saying.”)

That well describes his works. Two excellent examples are: ”What good is it if I talk in flowers while you’re thinking in pastry? And, “Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to!” Thought provoking, those.

There is simple brilliance in the counsel that, “If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what would have happened if you had done it.” And, is there not poignant truth is this: “Why does life keep teaching me lessons I have no desire to learn?”

Those who know me are well acquainted with my general rejoinder to their greeting queries of my health – “Parts of me are perfect, my hair follicles and toe cuticles. Everything in between, however, seems to have gone to hell!” Now you know I’ve but “lifted” from Mr. Brilliant’s, ”I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent.”

Who among us, that has observed our politicians in action, cannot but agree that this seems to well apply to the preponderance of them and their conduct, “ The time for action is past! Now is the time for senseless bickering!”

  • You can’t just suddenly be my friend. You have to go through a training period.
  • Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?
  • The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.
  • My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.
  • Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story.
  • I want either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
  • It’s not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.
  • Please don’t lie to me, unless you’re absolutely sure I’ll never find out the truth.
  • Sometimes I need what only you can provide, your absence.
  • By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me
  • Maybe I’m lucky to be going so slowly, because I may be going in the wrong direction.
  • A good friend is worth pursuing… but why would a good friend be running away?
  • I don’t understand you. You don’t understand me. What else do we have in common?
  • My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating.
  • Try to be the best of what you are, even if what you are is no good.
  • All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power.
  • I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must be from you.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and whatever you hit, call it the target.
    Inform all the troops that communications have completely broken down.
  • Should I abide by the rules until they’re changed, or help speed the change by breaking them?
  • Better start rushing before the rush begins!
  • My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right.
  • Please don’t ask me what the score is, I’m not even sure what the game is.
  • Try to relax and enjoy the crisis.
  • I can do only one thing at a time, but I can avoid doing many things simultaneously.
  • Everything takes longer than you expect even when you expect it to take longer than you expect.
  • Been through hell? What did you bring back for me?
  • My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.
  • If you can’t learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.
  • I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.

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Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation – Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.

Tommy Clarkson

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Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.

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