The joke that lasted through two world wars and beyond

This post was originally going to be called – Two paraphrases that lasted beyond the world wars.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde once is…

However Oscar Wilde did say :

The hardest thing to do is nothing at all

Some things you come across in life that are so obvious you immediately think

“Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”

Pascal said ‘Most of Mens problems stem from being unable to sit in a room and do nothing.’

Some men are born great and others have greatness thrust upon them.

It seems, only I am willing to attempt to do the hardest thing in the world.


So I am sat here right now,doing the hardest thing that it is possible to do.

I’m thinking about the Joke that lasted beyond two world wars.

I’m not sure if thinking counts.

I can’t think about if it does count – as that’s not nothing and this is a journey into nothing.

The North Pole

Before the first world war there was a race to the North Pole.

Scott of the antarctic was the British hero. Continuing the essence of being British by becoming a remarkable failure.

On their failed expedition in 1912 Captain Oates was notable as he died slightly

differently to the others.

He didn’t freeze to death in the tent.

Ever been made a fool of?

Growing up,everybody made fun of Captain Oates.

I imagined he had just stepped outside the tent as he needed to use the toilet, perhaps to

drop a big load, and got lost.

Now I realise he was joking.

He had accepted that everyone on the expedition was going to die and decided he would bring that day forward.

Being in a tent freezing to death is boring people – may as well hurry death along a bit.

He said his goodbyes and as he left the tent, he joked, “I am just going outside and may be some time”

He knew he wasn’t coming back.

How could I not have realised?

Now is my time to step out of the tent.

Thanks for reading everybody.

If you hear news of my death, it will have been greatly exaggerated.

That paraphrase would have been a nice ending, if it had been written by Oscar Wilde.

Alas,it was Mark Twain.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

I note a rack is a wisp of smoke.

Perhaps I shall have more substance in your mind than that.

For a time.

Lest I fail at doing nothing and return…

I have failed at many things so far…..

Captain Oates – wiki

From wikipedia

According to Scott’s diary, as Oates left the tent he said, “I am just going outside and may be some time”,[15][16] though Edward Adrian Wilson, who was also present, made no reference to this in his own diary or the letters to Oates’s mother.[17]

12 thoughts on “The joke that lasted through two world wars and beyond

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