“Everything I loved was taken away from me, and I did not die.”
“Oh, I guess I want to fall in love, to stay in love for a while. I want to feel real romance every day that I possibly can. I want to feel something special in my life. I want to experience intimacy with another person. I'm not that different from everyone else. Except that I act instead of daydream.”
“Have faith and pursue the unknown end.” Oliver Wendell Holmes”
“A saying of Sun-tzu’s hammered through her head: “A victorious army wins its victories before seeking battle.”
“Dr. Cross, please come! Please! Dr. Cross" the loud shouts continued. I didn't recognize the woman's voice, but privacy doesn't seem to count when your first name is Doctor.”
“Ray Bradbury had once written that “living at risk is jumping off a cliff, and building your wings on the way down.” Sampson”
“Have faith and pursue the unknown end.” Oliver Wendell Holmes said that. I have faith. I pursue the unknown. That’s my job description.”
“A victorious army wins its victories before seeking battle.”
“That’s the problem with stun guns, even an expensive eighty-thousand-volt Tensor. They don’t always bring down a big man. Especially a crazed one with a sense of purpose.”
“Hell is a city much like Los Angeles”
“I slid the Glock nine millimeter out of my shoulder holster. Light. Efficient. Semiautomatic. Twelve deadly shots. My teeth were gritted so tight they hurt. I clicked off the safety. I”
“«Se necesita a todo un pueblo para criar bien a un niño».”
“A half-dozen or so FBI techies and LAPD homicide detectives were still on the scene. The latest Pearl Jam played from somebody’s radio. The lead singer seemed to be in terrible pain.”
“If you need anything, let me know,’ he said. Stop talking to me.”
“I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin.”
“MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2011 Port St. Lucie, Florida First impressions are important, and in his first full meeting with us as the Mets manager, Terry Collins makes a really good one. We are in a conference room in Digital Domain Park. Everybody is there—Sandy Alderson, the new general manager, his assistants, the players, the coaches, the trainers, the clubhouse manager, and even our two cooks. We go around the room and introduce ourselves. Sandy speaks first. “The expectations for this club outside of this room are very low,” he says. “I know you guys expect more of yourself, and I expect more of you too.”Sandy is not a rah-rah guy, and his approach is low-key but very compelling. “The goal of any professional sports franchise is to win, and that’s why we’re here.” When he’s done, he turns the floor over to Terry, who says, “Sandy stole my speech.” Everybody laughs. Terry has no notes. He speaks from the heart. I’ve heard a lot of these first-day speeches, and believe me, it’s more common than not for them to seem formulaic, straight off boilerplate. This is not like that at all. Terry is intense, fiery, and enthusiastic. I never get the feeling he is saying things for effect. It seems so authentic, the way he makes contact with everybody in the room and jacks up the decibel level. Even when he dabbles in clichés—“We’re going to do things the right way”—you can’t help but feel his passion and energy. Terry is a small man and doesn’t have an imposing presence when you first see him, but he is powerful nonetheless. The essence of his talk is simple: “Everybody says we’re going to stink. I hear it over and over. I think they’ve got it all wrong. You want to come along as we prove them all wrong?” Terry talks for twenty minutes or so, and by the time he is done, all I can think of is: This is a guy I’m really going to enjoy playing for. CHAPTER THREE FAITH ON WALNUT Some kids are fighters. Other kids are scrappers. I am a scrapper. I spend two extremely scrappy years—fifth and sixth grades—at St. Edward School, and the trend continues into the seventh grade at Wright Middle School, where the kids are bigger and stronger than me, but not too many have less regard for their bodies. I don’t worry about pain or getting hit or getting knocked down. I just get back up and come back at you like a boomerang. My goal when I fight is simple: I want to give more than I receive. This doesn’t make me proud. It’s just what it takes to survive, and in seventh grade survival is what I’m all about. Fights aren’t an everyday occurrence in my neighborhood, but I seem to have more than my share of them. I fight to defend myself, to right a wrong, or to settle a dispute. I’m not picky. I figure out early that in a school where smoke billows out of the bathroom and pregnant girls walk the hallways, you don’t want people thinking you are wimpy. So I learn to act tough when I need to, and sometimes when I don’t need to—which gets me into trouble. In the lunchroom one day, I get up from my seat. You have assigned seats at Wright at lunchtime, and strict rules about leaving them, the school’s effort to prevent the cafeteria from turning into WrestleMania. But I need to get a homework assignment from a classmate, so I get up and walk across the lunchroom. A monitor corrals me and says, Get back to your seat. He’s kind of nasty about it. I don’t appreciate his tone. I cuss under my breath. Not loud, not a bad cussword, but an audible obscenity, no doubt. Now he doesn’t appreciate my tone. Come with me, young man. You are going to regret your garbage mouth. He’s right—I am going to regret it—because this is Tennessee in the mid-1980s and corporal punishment still rules the day. The monitor escorts me down to see Mr. Tinnon, the assistant principal in charge of paddling. He conveniently keeps the paddle by his desk.”
“Sometimes, coming home in the early morning like this, I'd imagine things had altered while I was absent: a knife on the bread board that I didn't remember leaving out, a book face down on the table, a cup brimming with tea and dishwater in the sink. The evidence I wanted didn't need to be too elaborate or detailed. I could have constructed an entire afterlife from a half-moon of lemon rind or a small blister of jam on the tablecloth.”
“Judges live with shadows behind them.”
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