IT IS THE MOST FAMOUS tautology in the English language: “It's déjà vu all over again.” The speaker was Yogi Berra, the most quotable person who never got past the eighth grade. Aside from the wonderful things he said over the years – referred to as Yogiisms – how could you not love a guy with a mug like his?
As a kid, I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and so I naturally hated the N.Y. Yankees. But Berra is the one Yankee I have always adored in my post- baseball fanatic years. He has to be credited with being the least educated great philosopher of all time.
There are a couple of other Yogi quotes that I find particularly evocative: “It ain’t over till it’s over” is one of them. How universally applicable is that? The other is: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” There are others just as meaningful:
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime today.”
Sometimes it turns out that there are different versions of something that an oft-quoted person said. Here’s one example for Yogi: Version 1. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Version 2. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” I think the second version sounds more accurately Yogi.
Some other Yogiisms to ponder and appreciate:
“Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”
“Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” This is at once the most sensible – and the most non-sensical! -- solution to a decision-making quandary ever offered.
“If the fans don’t come out to the ballpark, you can’t stop them.”
And finally: “I didn’t really say everything I said.”