A. A. Milne? Alfred E. Neuman? Winnie the Pooh? The Foolish Almanak? Theodor Rosyfelt? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: I saw the following entertaining quotation on several websites where it was ascribed to the Winnie-the-Pooh character of the author A. A. Milne:
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
I searched for this quote in The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh and was unable to find it. Perhaps it was used in one of the movies. Could you explore this funny statement?
Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence of this humorous remark located by QI appeared in 1906 in “The Foolish Almanak For Anuthur Year” by Theodor Rosyfelt. The book was filled with deliberate misspellings, and the author’s name may have been creatively altered. No attribution was given within the text for its prolix version of the jest: 1
It is said that nothing is impossible; but there are lots of people doing nothing every day.
The first collection of Winnie-the-Pooh stories was published in 1926, so the joke was already in circulation before A. A. Milne’s children’s classic was released. In addition, QI has found no substantive evidence that Milne wrote or said this jest.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.