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February 23, 2007

I Don't Think I'll Be Using This Ice-Breaker Anytime Soon

Jerz, ''Poems: Short but Effective'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

Reflections on Ice-breaking

Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

- Ogden Nash

I had no idea this was an actual poem in form. My mom says this as a joke quite a lot. (No, she is not a drunk, she actually rarely consumes alcohol.) I also love how effective the title is. It really contributes to the poem's meaning, especially since I have heard the verse all my life, but never the title. It just cracked me up to know it was called that. I felt the same way about the title of "This is Just to Say" about the plums. I will have to think about that when I write my poetry.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 23, 2007 7:25 PM


Gene Wilder says this in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory too. It's amazing how that poem's just become so entrenched in our lexicon that we forget it's actually a poem written by one specific writer. It just goes to show how if you come up with a very brief pithy phrase, it can just transcend time. Candy and liquor are just vital elements of the human condition, don't you think?

Posted by: Matt Henderson at February 24, 2007 1:30 PM

I didn't really notice the title before, but knowing that this poem is about "breaking the ice" between two people really gives this poem a lot of depth. Think about it. If you want a friend, you might offer them a piece of candy, then sit down and talk, then agree to meet later, then talk some more. It could take years to really get to know someone. Now, if you want to get to know someone more quickly, offer to buy them a beer, get them sloshed, and by the end of the night you'll probably know their whole life story, along with some of their darkest secrets. Thus you've made a life-long friend in one night. So... there. "Candy" is a good start, but "liquor is quicker." Looking at it this way makes it seem really witty for seven words. That could be why it transcends the ages so well. I mean, really, the human race has been using booze as a truth serum for about as long as it has been invented.

Posted by: HallieGeary at February 25, 2007 2:39 PM

Well, they are certainly universally utilized in different ways, particularly socially. That is what makes this so effective. Even someone who doens't drink or doesn't like sweets very much can relate to the idea the poem is trying to portray.

Posted by: Lorin at February 25, 2007 2:49 PM

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