Quotes from The Gum Thief

Douglas Coupland ·  275 pages

Rating: (9.4K votes)


“I think if human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. Wouldn't life be more interesting that way? And now that I think about it, why the heck don't they? Who made the rule that everybody has to dress like sheep 364 days of the year? Think of all the people you'd meet if they were in costume every day. People would be so much easier to talk to - like talking to dogs. ”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“maybe memories are like karaoke-where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't know even half the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liiked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning- and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better to not know the lyrics to your life.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Dreams don't come true. Dreams die. Dreams get compromised. Dreams end up dealing meth in a booth at the back of the Olive Garden. Dreams choke to death on bay leaves. Dreams get spleen cancer.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“A few years ago it dawned on me that everybody past a certain age ... pretty much constantly dreams of being able to escape from their lives. They don't want to be who they are any more. They want out. This list includes Thurston Howell the Third, Ann-Margret, the cat members of Rent, Václav Havel, space shuttle astronauts and Snuffleupagus. It's universal.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“If you don't change, then what's the point of anything happening to you? It'll still be happening to an unchanged person.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief



“A few years ago it dawned on me that everybody past a certain age - regardless of how they look on the outside - pretty much constantly dreams of being able to escape from their lives.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“What else? I also believe that if someone comes up behind you on the freeway and flashes their lights to get you to move into the slow lane, they deserve whatever punishment you dole out to them. I promptly slow down and drive at the same speed as the car beside me so that I can punish Speed Racer for his impertinence.

Actually, it’s not the impertinence I’m punishing him for, it’s that he let other people know what he wanted.

Speed Racer, my friend, never ever let people know what you want. Because if you do, you might as well send them engraved invitations saying, “Hi, this is what I want you to prevent me from ever having.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Life always kills you in the end, but first it prevents you from getting what you want.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Do you remember how you felt at seventeen? I do and I don't (...) Imagine you came from outer space and someone showed you a butterfly and a caterpillar. Would you ever put the two of them together? That's me and my memories.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“People who advocate simplicity have money in the bank; the money came first, not the simplicity.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief



“...we're told by TV and Reader's Digest that a crisis will trigger massive personal change--and that those big changes will make the pain worthwhile. But from what he could see, big change almost never happens. People simply feel lost. They have no idea what to say or do or feel or think. they become messes and tend to remain messes.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“The modern world is devoted to vanishing species, vanishing weather and vanishing capacity for wonder.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Here are some passing thoughts. Imagine looking up at the moon and seeing it burning.
Imagine seeing the grocery store’s checkout girl grow horns.
Imagine growing younger instead of older.
Imagine feeling more powerful and more capable of falling in love with life every new day instead of being scared and sick and not knowing whether to stay under a sheet or venture forth into the cold.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“The best part of my life is gone, and what remains is whizzing past so quickly I feel like I'm Krazy-Glue'ed onto a mechanical bull of a time machine.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“I'm an adult. Discipline me and I'll bury you alive. - Roger ”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief



“Or maybe memories are like karaoke - where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't even know the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning - and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better not to know the lyrics to your life.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“You're right, a spleen is a strange thing-we technically don't need one, but maybe spleens are kept in our bodies in case we mutate or evolve, and if we grow wings or tentacles we need to have the spleen in place in order for them to work.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Maybe memories are like karaoke - where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't know even half the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning - and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better to not know the lyrics to your life.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“I used the phrase 'a certain age.' What I mean by this is the age people are in their heads. It's usually thirty to thirty-four. Nobody is forty in their head. When it comes to your internal age, chin wattles and relentless liver spots mean nothing.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“How did society ever function without you, little Sharpies? Your nibs have the precise amount of give to create a line quality with character, yet not so much character as to be smushy. Thank you, little pens.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief



“I think this is an alarming trend, Bethany, this whole 'passionate' thing. I'm guessing it started about four years ago, and it's driving me nuts. Let's be practical: Earth was not built for six billion people all running around and being passionate about things. The world was built for about twenty million people foraging for roots and grubs. [...] My hunch is that there was some self-help bestseller a few years back that told people to follow their passion. What a sucky expression. I can usually tell when people have recently read that book because they're a bit distracted, and maybe they've done their hair a new way, and they're always trying to discuss the Big Picture of life and failing miserably. And then, when you bump into them again six months later, they appear haggard and bitter, the joy drained from them–and this means that the universe is back to normal and that they've given up searching for a passion they're doomed to never find. Want a chocolate?”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“I don't understand the human heart. Only pain makes it grow stronger. Only sorrow makes it kind. Contentment makes it wither, and joy seems to build walls around it.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Ho fatto delle cazzate e delle cose buone nella vita, ma tutto è svanito da sé, ed eticamente credo di essere una persona abbastanza ordinaria, uno come gli altri. Le tue Giovanna d'Arco e i tuoi Superman non si vedono speso in giro. Il mondo è fatto perlopiù di quelli come me, che arrancano. Ecco cosa fa la gente – arranca, arranca, arranca. Anche se venire a patti con il fatto che sono come tutti gli altri mi deprime, il dolore è alleviato dalla sicurezza che mi dà il sapere di essere parte della specie umana".”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“the universe is indeed a beautiful place. If you doubt me, go check for yourself.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“The Internet has made me very casual with a level of omniscience that was unthinkable a decade ago. I now wonder if God gets bored knowing the answer to everything.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief



“It’s amazing how you can be a total shithead, and yet your soul still wants to hang out with you.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


“Actually, it's not the impertinence I'm punishing him for, it's that he let other people know what he wanted.”
― Douglas Coupland, quote from The Gum Thief


About the author

Douglas Coupland
Born place: in CFB Baden-Söllingen, Germany
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