Marlon Brando? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: We are unable to anticipate the full consequences of the changes we make to ourselves. The following wistful and convoluted expression reflects this unease:
I want to be who I was when I wanted to become who I am now.
While listening to the radio I heard this attributed to the famous actor Marlon Brando, but I cannot find any citations. Would you please help?
Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence linking this expression to Marlon Brando.
The earliest close match located by QI appeared in an article published in the journal “Christianity Today” in July 1967 about the rebellious young generation. The words were printed as a slogan on a button, and no ascription was provided. Emphasis added to excerpts: 1
When it comes to expressing their views on life, they say by button: “I Want to Be What I Was When I Wanted To Be What I Now Am,” or “Neuroses Are Red, Melancholy Is Blue, I’m Schizophrenic, What Are You?,” or “End Poverty, Give Me $10.” They further advise: “Reality Is Good Sometimes for Kicks But Don’t Let It Get You Down,” and “Even Paranoids Have Real Enemies.”
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1967 July 21, Christianity Today, Dear Slogan-Lovers by Etychus III, Page 20, Christianity Today International, Carol Stream, Illinois. (Verified on microfilm) ↩