You’re an idiot of the 33rd degree

Letters of Note has a letter written by Mark Twain to a patent medicine salesman:

Dear Sir,

Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link.


  1. I happened to skim through the snake oil ad he was sent that triggered his response. Here’s an excerpt:

    By the Secret Process of the Purification of The Solution Elixir, it is made the Life Elixir, and PURIFIED to an equality, of more than A THOUSAND TIMES MORE PURER than the Purest Water on the face of the Earth, […]
    Thus the Solution as The Elixir of Life is the Good of all Good in its One Goodnesses, its GOOD GOOD PURITY, to preserver your Blood’s life without Diseases or Death to your Health’s Everlastingnesses. This expresses the Good of all Good in One Goodnesses of Good Feeling…

    1. My dog, that reads like Engrish! I didn’t think they HAD Babelfish back in those days.

      Sigh… I can only aspire to write like Twain. I literally laughed out loud reading his tirade above.

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