In college, we played a bragging game based on the concept known as the “six degrees of separation.” To play the game, we would take turns “offering a brag” about a supposed relationship with a well-known or interesting person. The brag judged to be the most interesting or convoluted earned the player bragging rights for the day. For example, “My friend’s cousin knows the brother of Bill Gates’ neighbor’s gardener.” It was a silly game, but we enjoyed it.
Golfers love to brag. At the 19th hole, golf buddies replay their favorite shots with great fanfare. Each time they repeat a story it becomes a little more spectacular. Fishermen are also notorious for bragging. In fact, fish tales are as much a part of the sport as the actual catch. Without the exaggerations and the half truths and the honest-to-goodness bragging, it wouldn’t be fishing. The picture below (from my family’s archives) shows three fishermen recounting a recent expedition.
In business, bragging is called marketing. Sometimes marketing is an opinion-based self-claim, such as “We serve the tastiest burgers in town.” Other times it’s based on the opinions or findings of a third party as in “Independent research shows …”
For the most part, we generally tolerate these types of boasting. But, personal bragging can be obnoxious or worse when it is over the top or incessant. Muhammad Ali is well known for his claim, “I am the Greatest!” In 1966, John Lennon proclaimed that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Many have said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” I, for one, say it’s still bragging.
Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between marketing and bragging.
“The Rush Limbaugh Show … is hosted by America’s Anchorman, Rush Limbaugh, also known as: America’s Truth Detector; the Doctor of Democracy; the Most Dangerous Man in America; the All-Knowing, All-Sensing, All-Everything Maha Rushie; defender of motherhood, protector of fatherhood and an all-around good guy.” — Source: RushLimbaugh.com
For this post I’ve selected quotes addressing the art of bragging.
“None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.” — Ferdinand Foch (1851 – 1929)
“He who boasts of his ancestry is praising the deeds of another.” — Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD), ‘Hercules Furens,’ 100 A.D.
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” — Bible, Proverbs 27:1
“A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts as the results of sudden impulses and accident, than of the reason of which we so much boast.” — Albert Cooper
“Never be haughty to the humble; never be humble to the haughty.” — Jefferson Davis
“It is no great thing to be humble when you are brought low; but to be humble when you are praised is a great and rare attainment.” — Saint Bernard (1090 – 1153)
“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble,
when you’re perfect in every way.
I can’t wait to look in the mirror,
‘cause I get better looking each day.”
— Excerpt from a song by Mac Davis
© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com