The multi-talented Will Rogers (1879 - 1935) once quipped, "We are all here for a spell: Get all the good laughs you can." Such a broad view of comedy enabled him even to poke fun at his birthday:

"I was born on November 4, which is election day. … My birthday has made more men and sent more back to honest work than any other days in the year."

This versatile American entertainer was born and raised in the Cherokee Nation. With a mixture of charm, cowboy skills, and homespun humor, he worked in Wild West shows, radio, film, and theatre; he wrote books and was a syndicated writer for newspapers. Of course, with all this exposure, Will Rogers became a celebrity lionized by Lonn Taylor and many other fans: "No one has ever been able to equal the position that Will Rogers held in American hearts — he was our first national 'personality.' "

In 1935, at the apex of his popularity, the cowboy philosopher died in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska.

To Name this Day . . .


A great person can often be recognized by his or her timeless insights, and Will Rogers is no exception. Celebrate his birthday by enjoying his wit and wisdom:

On Humor
"Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else."

On Being Human
"It's great to be great, but it's greater to be human."

On Righting Wrongs
"There is nothing as easy as denouncing. … It doesn't take much to see that something is wrong, but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again."

On Universal Ignorance
"Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects."

On War
"You can't say civilization doesn't advance — in every war they kill you in a new way."

On Politics
"I tell you folks, all politics is applesauce."

A Vision
"A vision, without a plan, is just hallucination."

On Delusions of Grandeur
"If America ever passes out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone: America died from a delusion she had Moral Leadership."

Expensive Trips Abroad
"The taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back."

The Best That Money Can Buy
"America has the best politicians money can buy."

Spiritual Practice

In Laughter, Tears, Silence, Pragito Dove writes:

"Whatever playfulness means to you, engage in it. Whether it's playing indoor or outdoor games, watching comedies, or taking your dog to the park, if it turns you on, go for it. Being around children reawakens the magical qualities of presence, joy, and laughter.

"Look at your life and see where you can bring in more fun: at work, at home, with friends, with your partner. Whenever you are doing an 'unfun' activity, such as waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in traffic, or tackling a difficult report at your desk, see if you can change your attitude. Find a way to bring a playful quality to your situation: strike up a positive conversation with the next person in line, make exasperated (but smiling!) gestures to your fellow drivers, bring some humor to your report, or stand up from time to time, stretch and smile, then sit down again and continue the report. Do whatever works for you and your situation. Be creative. Then the chances are very good that you'll write a great report, arrive home in a good mood, and make new friends."

Keep Will Rogers' spirit alive by bringing some humor into your day … and reap the benefits of your playfulness.