“I don't hold with shamans, witch doctors, or psychiatrists. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or even Dickens, understood more about the human condition than ever occurred to any of you. You overrated bunch of charlatans deal with the grammar of human problems, and the writers I've mentioned with the essence.”
“In a nutshell, I am not unaware of my failings. Neither am I a stranger to irony.”
“Bad days my memory functions no better than an out-of-focus kaleidoscope, but other days me recall is painfully perfect.”
“...if I were an angel of the Lord, I would mark the doors of each of my children's homes with an X, so that plague and misfortune would pass over them. Alas, I lack the qualifications. So when there was still world and time enough I fretted. I nagged. I corrected. I got everything wrong.”
“When a child is born, I once explained to the kids, some dads lay down bottles of wine for them that will mature when they grow up into ungrateful adults. Instead, what you're going to get from me, as each of you turns sixteen, is a library of the one hundred books that gave me the most pleasure when I was a know-nothing adolescent.”
“E' un meccanismo difensivo, sai. Tu sei sicuro che uno che non ti ha mai visto ti considererebbe un pezzo di merda, e quindi cerchi di anticiparlo. Rilassati ragazzino. Quando ti conosceranno meglio capiranno che avevano ragione: sei proprio un pezzo di merda.”
“Following the death of his wife, Sam Johnson wrote to the Reverend Mr. Thomas Warton, "I have ever since seemed to myself broken off from mankind; a kind of solitary wanderer in the wilds of life, without any certain direction, or fixed point of view: a gloomy gazer on a world to which I have little relation."
But my wife wasn't dead, merely absent.”
“But the truth is, nothing delights me more than a biography of one of the truly great that proves he or she was an absolute shit.”
“We could never agree about Boogie and I didn't share Miriam's reverence for professors. In fact, just in case I haven't mentioned it before, the pride of my office wall is my framed high-school graduation certificate, lit from above. Miriam has reproached me for it. "Take it down, darling," she once pleaded. But it still hangs there.”
“The truth is Canada is a cloud-cuckoo-land, an insufferably rich country governed by idiots, its self-made problems offering comic relief to the ills of the real world out there, where famine and racial strife and vandals in office are the unhappy rule.”
“But I hate being a grandfather. It's indecent. In my mind's eye, I'm still twenty-five. Thirty-three max. Certainly not sixty-seven, reeking of decay and dashed hopes. My breath sour. My limbs in dire need of a lube job. And now that I've been blessed with a plastic hip-socket replacement, I'm no longer even biodegradable. Environmentalists will protest my burial.”
“And what if Miriam and I were never to be reconciled?”
“There's no such thing as a superhuman. But the only thing I got to tell you, if you take a dog and kick him around he's got to be alert, he's got to be more sharper than you. Well, we've been kicked around for two thousand years. We're not more smarter, we're more alert.”
“All the same, it strikes me as unfair that I still have to defend myself against her moral judgements. My continuing need for her approbation is pathetic. Twice now I have stopped myself on the street to remonstrate with her, a crazy old coot talking to himself.”
“Posso querelare per diffamazione un tizio che mi accusa nero su bianco di avere picchiato mia moglie, di essere un plagiario, uno spacciatore, un alcolizzato con tendenze violente, e con tutta probabilità anche un assassino?"
"Non saprei. Mi sembra che il tizio sia piuttosto bene informato".”
“...I thought, breaking into a sweat, I'd better call Saul. I owe Kate an apology... Damn damn damn.”
“In those olden times you didn't have to be a space scientist to manage the gadget that flicked your TV on and off, that ridiculous thingamabob that now comes with twenty push buttons, God knows what for. Doctors made house calls. Rabbis were guys. Kids were raised by their moms instead of in child-care pens like piglets. Software meant haberdashery.”
“«C'è chi colleziona francobolli, o scatole di fiammiferi» mi ha detto una volta. «Tu collezioni rancori».”
“Do you think she'd mind if, after the dinner, I slipped out for an hour and maybe caught the third period in the Forum?'
'Brides tend to be touchy about things like that.”
“You're convinced that anybody who meets you for the first time will consider you a shit, so you take preventive action. Relax, boychick. When they get to know you better they will realize that they were right. You are a shit.”
“Ai miei tempi quando una donna diventava una star del cinema doveva girare in occhiali da sole e foulard, se non voleva essere fermata ogni due metri; adesso basta che si vesta.”
“Credevo che per Barney esistessi solo tu. Almeno questo è quello che dicono tutti. Senti, ambasciator non porta pena, ma secondo me non bisogna mai essere le ultime a sapere, e guarda che parlo per esperienza personale. Dorothy Weaver - tu non la conosci, ma non importa - lo ha visto mercoledì scorso al cocktail dei Johnson. E insomma, il tuo devoto maritino si era appiccicato ad una tizia. Le parlava fitto fitto, le sussurrava paroline all'orecchio. A un certo punto le ha persino massaggiato la schiena, e poi se ne sono andati insieme".
"Non mi dici niente di nuovo".
"Meno male, perchè l'ultima cosa al mondo che volevo era turbarti".
"Vedi, il punto è che quella donna ero io. Usciti dai Johnson siamo andati al Ritz, abbiamo esagerato con lo champagne, e poi - ma guai se lo racconti in giro -, poi ho accettato di andare a casa con lui”
“...and then I began to drift, fighting tears. I used to come here with Miriam. Miriam, my heart's desire. What was troubling her this morning? Maybe Kate had reproached her on the phone for leaving me? How dare Kate.
Oh yeah? Go for it, my darling. Remind her of what she's missing. No, don't.”
“Yes, carbon paper, if any of you out there are old enough to remember what that was. Why, in those days we not only used carbon paper but when you phoned somebody you actually got an answer from a human being on the other end..”
“In those olden times you didn't have to be a space scientist to manage the gadget that flicked your TV on and off... Doctors made house calls. Rabbis were guys. Kids were raised by their moms instead of in child-care pens like piglets. Software meant haberdashery. There wasn't a different dentist for gums, molars, fillings and extractions - one nerd managed the lot. If a waiter spilled hot soup on your date, the manager offered to pay her cleaning bill and sent over drinks, and she didn't sue for a kazillion dollars, claiming "loss of enjoyment of life.”
“Oh, dio mio, se fossi un angelo del Signore segnerei con una croce le porte di casa dei miei figli, in modo da tener lontano le sventure e la malattia. Purtroppo, per quell’alto incarico mi mancano i requisiti, e quando avevo ancora un ruolo nelle loro vite sono stato impaziente, critico e punitivo. Sbagliando sempre tutto.”
“C'è stato un tempo in cui osavo sognare che Miriam e io, superati i
novanta, saremmo spirati insieme, come Filemone e Bauci. E allora un
munifico Zeus, con un lieve tocco del caduceo, ci avrebbe trasformato in
due alberi vicini, coi rami che si sfiorano d'inverno, le foglie che si
intrecciano a primavera.”
“Technology serves to institute new, more effective, and more pleasant forms of social control and social cohesion. The totalitarian tendency of these controls seems to assert itself in still another sense—by spreading to the less developed and even to the pre-industrial areas of the world, and by creating similarities in the development of capitalism and communism.”
“I take my cue from deeds, not words.”
“the worst thing that could happen to a colored child in the South was for a parent to hear that a child was acting up. There would be no appeals, the punishment swift and physical. The arbitrary nature of grown people’s wrath gave colored children practice for life in the caste system, which is why parents, forced to train their children in the ways of subservience, treated their children as the white people running things treated them. It was preparation for the lower-caste role children were expected to have mastered by puberty.”
“When you could discern a real threat from everything else, it was called caution. When you couldn't, it was called paranoia.
You cannot separate paranoia from knowledge. The more you know, the more possibilities you see. The more possibilities you see, the more possibilities someone else sees. The more "someones" there are, the more "they" there are. It's a matter of simple math before you realize that They might not like you.”
“Because, really, what was worse than lying wide-awake in the dark, watching your life drip away, one irreplaceable minute after another?”
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