John Bent? Navy Sailor? Drunken Fellow? Winston Churchill? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: The state of inebriation is temporary, but the state of stupidity is durable. A clever dialog hinges on this fundamental difference:
“You are drunk.”
“Yes, and you are a fool. But I will be sober in the morning, and you will remain a fool.”
Would you please explore the provenance of this thrust and parry?
Quote Investigator: This comical interaction is a member of a family of anecdotes which famously includes a story about Winston Churchill’s jousting with an antagonist. A separate QI article centered the Churchill anecdote and tales from the U.K Parliament can be read by following this link.
This article will center on the earliest matches located by QI. In 1863 the “Urbana Union” newspaper of Urbana, Ohio published the following short item. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
The drunken fellow’s reply to the reprimand of a temperance lecture, delivered in some of the stupid forms of that order of men is worth remembering. “I’m drunk-but-I’ll get over that pretty soon; but you’re a fool-and you’ll never get over that.”
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1863 July 1, Urbana Union, (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, Urbana, Ohio. (Newspapers_com) ↩