Get Off My Lawn

I browse the news feed of Franklin mentions daily, and almost stop because of the flurry of bogus quotes from Franklin. So convenient a thing it is to concoct a Franklin quote for anything one has a mind to say.

I happened across the @bfcircles Twitter group on my phone this morning, and on the view of their graphics, saw several pretty images of Franklin with sayings attributed to him that I have seen coming through other posts, also purporting to be Franklin’s words. These sayings are a little too modern, and are unfamiliar to me. I question that they are actually from Franklin. Searching the Papers Digital Edition would be an excellent step towards clarifying whether they are authentic.

For example, some quotes that strike me as bogus are:

  • “By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” I see this quoted a lot.
  • “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I see this quoted a lot.
  • “The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” OMG, the Pursuit of Happiness is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.
  • “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.”
  • “A wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contently.” Ouch – that last word is not even a word.
  • “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.”

I see a few that are good, and the graphics are generally excellent. I was starting to ease my mind, but then this blunders in:

  • “Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.”

I’d be surprised to find ANY of those major words in Franklin’s writings. This is not to disparage the circles themselves. The ideas expressed are generally agreeable to me. But like Franklin never said, “hey you kids, get off my lawn!”

p.s. Instagram’s #benfranklin tag is another mother load:


This quote is lifted from Carl Reiner, in the HBO Documentary, If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast.

YouTube of the Carl Reiner Quote