Today is the shared birthday of two American icons, Benjamin Franklin and Al Capone, in 1706 and 1899 respectively. One is widely respected but also known as a bit of a scoundrel, and the other widely known as a scoundrel but also a little bit respected.
I’m not about to suggest they would have been friendly, though it’s possible Franklin would have found Capone interesting. And Capone? He might have found Franklin a pine box to lie down in, given the right circumstances.
Of course the Internet is lousy with quotes from each, and who knows if they’re accurate? But by process of elimination, it’s easy to tell who said what.
This one is not from the author of “The Art of Virtue”:
“Today I got a letter from a woman in England. She offered to pay my passage to London if I’d kill some neighbors she’s been having a quarrel with.”
And this one is not from the author of “The Valentine’s Day Massacre”:
“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”
These, I suppose, could have come from either one:
“My booze has been good and my games on the square.”
“Drive thy business or it will drive thee.”
“I’ll have to hand it to Napoleon as the world’s greatest racketeer.”
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
“Public service is my motto.”
“He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”
Could there be a book or a movie in the meeting of these strange fun-loving bedfellows? All it would take is a nifty solution to the problem of time travel, and finding a proper wig for Mr. Capone or a suitable hat for Mr. Franklin.
Nominate someone to be your foil in a true “Odd Couple.”