There is a humorous quote by Oscar Wilde or somebody about one minor bad act leading to a major bad act. This isn't it, but it was like this:

Don't wash your hands today, then you'll start shop-lifting harmonicas tomorrow, and be committing murder the day after.

Does anyone recognize something like this? It sounded Wildean, but it could have been Jack Benny, for all I know.

  • I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon Then beer from a bottle And the next thing you know Your son is playing for money in a pinch-back suit ... youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI
    – Pete
    Apr 30, 2022 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think very little of robbing, and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.

--De Quincey

The quotation is from De Quincey's "Second Paper on Murder considered as One of the Fine Arts".

  • That has the feel of an inversion or parody of an existing well-known quote or saying.
    – gidds
    Aug 12, 2022 at 21:19

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