These are some of things I forget: phone numbers, faces, names and how to get somewhere unless I’ve been there at least three times.
Here’s what I remember: stories and quotes.
When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a copy of “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” – the bible of quotation books. But it seemed to me there was nothing familiar about most of its quotes – they appeared to come from writers or dignitaries who were about a million years old – and spoke that way.
After that I flirted with other books of quotations but never really fell for one until my kids got “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Colossal Collection of ‘Quotable’ Quotes.” As you might expect, the book is short on thee's and thou’s. To my knowledge, it’s the only book of quotations in existence that has a whole page devoted to James Madison and another to Homer Simpson.
So as we zero in on the New Year, I’m offering a few of my favorites from Uncle John’s; please feel free to post your own favorites, even if they are not from such an esteemed source.
“The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.” – Sigmund Freud
“The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes – naturally, no one wants to live any other way.” – Judith Martin
“I took a bus in San Francisco. The sign above the driver says, ‘Information gladly given, but safety requires avoiding unnecessary conversation.’ In New York, it’s ‘Don’t talk to the freakin’ driver. He could snap.’ ” – Norman K.
“The administration says the American people want tax cuts. Well, duh. The American people also want drive-through nickel beer night. The American people want to lose weight by eating ice cream. The American people love the Home Shopping Network because it’s commercial free.” –Will Durst
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
“Intellectual: someone who can listen to Rossini’s ‘William Tell Overture’ without thinking of the Lone Ranger.” – Billy Connolly
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.” – William Safire.