An IRISH BULL is any statement made ludicrous by its absurd logic. Supposedly the Irish are predisposed to this type of absurdity--or rather this is a style of humor peculiar to the Irish. An example of an Irish bull is the Irish proverb, "It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life." Another is the Irish toast "May you never live to see your wife a widow."
One day a young Irishman told his uncle that he had begun college with plans to enter the church. The uncle replied, "I hope that I may live to hear you preach my funeral sermon." Said another Irishman once, "Talk about thin! Well, you're thin, and I'm thin, but he's as thin as the pair of us put together!"
Another time two Irishmen were walking along a road on a very dark night when one fell into a ditch. The other called out, "Patrick! Patrick! Are you all right? If you're dead please tell me." A voice came back, "I'm not dead, William, but I'm knocked speechless."
Not only the Irish, of course, utter Irish bulls. Samuel Goldwyn gained such notoriety for this type of blunder that it rivaled his reputation as a Hollywood filmmaker. He said of one of his stars, "We're overpaying him, but he's worth it." To someone who annoyed him he remarked, "I never liked you, and I always will." It was also Goldwyn who said, "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on" and "Include me out."
More recently, Yogi Berra, the former New York Yankees catcher, has shown a particular genius for statements that contain an element of sprung logic. "It ain't over 'till it's over," is one of his famous remarks. Another is, "Sometimes you can observe a lot by watching." He is also credited with saying that "Ninety-nine percent of this game is half mental" and "Half the lies they tell me aren't true."
One day someone asked him, "What time is it?" and Berra replied, "You mean right now?" Another time a waitress in a pizza parlor asked him if he wanted his pizza cut into four slices or eight. Berra supposedly said, "Better make it four. I don't think I can eat eight pieces."
Back to Curiosities Page Return to Home Page