“A little style is a good thing, but you can’t trust a person who won’t be ugly in front of you.”
“No matter where you go, poor people have the capacity to endure. Some people even compliment us on it, as if endurance is all we can achieve.”
“Doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men.”
“Some people act like it’s a sign of weakness if you want to belong, but I think most human beings yearn to find at least one open door in their lifetime.”
“Empathy is what separates human beings from teenage boys.”
“The poor aren't defeated. We're domesticated.”
“Oppression doesn’t make people noble. Give any of us a little comfort, and we’ll kill to keep it. The despised become despicable.”
“It’s easier to hold onto a bad idea if you never share it, and it’s harder to defend one if you let it out.”
“The ancient Egyptians believed the god Anubis met each of us on the other side, and that he stood before a great scale on which our hearts were set. There each was weighed, tested, for its worth.
Was this the heart I wanted measured?”
“There are people who say life is dull. Just a series of mundane events. But I can’t agree. Things happen. Bet on that.”
“Don’t focus on the mishaps; consider the pleasures instead.”
“I don’t have much faith in institutions, but I still believe in people.”
“Before September 11, the skinny, jittery black guy made security think one thing: drug mule. But after the attacks, security only cared about bombs. So it was the Arab guys, the Puerto Ricans and Indians, even white men, that got searched. I was too dark to make people worry on a plane. Still caused fear in elevators.”
“I’m always looking for the monster. Not even just in horror. I want them in everything. Just give me the monsters. Logical conclusions don’t satisfy. Monsters satisfy, absolutely.”
“The success of any society must be judged by the life of its worst off. No other calculation will do.”
“The shame wasn't in discovering that she had a price; everyone had one of those. Maybe it was just in learning, so concretely, that this was what she cost.”
“Time alone is pornography for people with families.”
“Human beings are no damn good,” he said. “We are even worse than animals. We like ...”
He trailed off, cleared his throat, but his voice hardly reached a whisper.
“We like monsters,” he said.”
“I don’t know what to say about the hygiene of the male species.”
“Fuck the meek. The despised will inherit the earth!”
“People hear that you grew up religious, and they can’t imagine you’d have a complex relationship with faith. If you believe one part, you must believe it all. But who gets more chances to see the absurdities than the devout? An answer that’s satisfying on Sunday becomes contradictory by Wednesday night. Belief is a wrestling match that lasts a lifetime.”
“A little style is a good thing, but you can't trust someone who won't be ugly in front of you.”
“This was one benefit of being a grown man and not a kid: I wanted to impress this woman, but not to the point of getting myself killed.”
“Seeing America by bus is like touring the Louvre in a Porta Potti.”
“And you can fool yourself if you’re raised in New York. Think that somehow your birthplace alone makes you cosmopolitan. But it isn’t true. We’re rubes too.”
“Think of King Jesus as our greatest doubter. Who saw the order of society and taught us to defy it. Who saw the ugly urges in ourselves and taught us to resist them. As we navigate through the powerful tides, doubt is our rudder.”
“It’s frightening to step into a place and understand you’re a victim. I’m not talking about a bad feeling or a vague sense. I mean knowing. A quick fire runs through your heart and limbs. You go stiff because you’re aware something’s about to happen, but you can’t think clearly enough to escape.”
“The poor aren’t defeated, we’re domesticated.”
“It's hard to fake faith, in yourself or anything else.”
“News flash: The whole thing is a huge mess and a giant nightmare and it’s all about to explode in your face and you have no idea what
you’ve gotten yourself into. Love is no game. People cut their ears off over this stuff. People jump off the Eiffel Tower and sell all their
possessions and move to Alaska to live with the grizzly bears, and then they get eaten and nobody hears them when they scream for help.
That’s right. Falling in love is pretty much the same thing as being eaten alive by a grizzly bear.
Believe me, I should know.”
“Rachel, Rachel, Rachel,” he said, very still and unmoving. “Always jumping to the wrong conclusion. You’re like a frog, you know.”
“Most of the people I have really cared about in this world, I have elected to the position. I have a belief that a man’s real relatives are scattered throughout the universe, and seldom if ever belong to his immediate kin.”
“He turned to look at me straight on, and I saw a kind of purplish fire in his eyes, a hint that this whiny, plump little man was only showing me the tiniest bit of his true nature. I saw visions of grape vines choking unbelievers to death, drunken warriors insane with battle lust, sailors screaming as their hands turned to flippers, their faces elongating into dolphin snouts. I knew that if I pushed him, Mr D would show me worse things. He would plant a disease in my brain that would leave me wearing a straitjacket in a rubber room for the rest of my life. ‘Would you like to test me, child?’ he said quietly. ‘No. No, sir.”
“He’s garbage, he cares about nothing but the truth.”
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