“They looked at each other until they weren't acquaintances any longer.”
“Work hard, and if you can't work hard, be smart; and, if you can't be smart, be loud.”
“I suppose it's too bad people can't be a little more consistent. But if they were, maybe they would stop being people.”
“Most of us are ready to greet our worst enemies like long-lost brothers if we think they can show us a good time, if we think they can do us any good or if we even reach the conclusion that being polite will get us just as far and help us live longer.”
“I thought of Sammy Glick rocking in his cradle of hate, malnutrition, prejudice, suspicions, amorality, the anarchy of the poor; I thought of him as a mangy puppy in a dog-eat-dog world. I was modulating my hate for Sammy Glick from the personal to the societal. I no longer even hated Rivington Street but the idea of Rivington Street, all Rivington Streets of all nationalities allowed to pile up in cities like gigantic dung heaps smelling up the world, ambitions growing out of filth and crawling away like worms. I saw Sammy Glick on a battlefield where every soldier was his own cause, his own army and his own flag, and I realized that I had singled him out not because he had been born into the world anymore selfish, ruthless and cruel than anybody else, even though he had become all three, but because in the midst of a war that was selfish, ruthless and cruel Sammy was proving himself the fittest and the fiercest and the fastest.”
“I believed him because the truth is never hard to recognize. Nothing is ever quite so drab and repetitious and forlorn and ludicrous as truth.”
“When we left, the sun was taking its evening dip, slipping down into the ocean inch by inch like a fat woman afraid of the water.”
“When Kit called me for the next meeting I was either not myself or too much myself.”
“It made me uncomfortable. I guess I've always been afraid of people who can be agile without grace.”
“There was a lull. Sammy was staring across the room at George Opdyke, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. I was about to say he was lost in thought, but Sammy was never really lost, and he never actually thought, for that implied deep reflection. He was figuring. Miss Goldblum edged her undernourished white hand into his. Sammy played with it absent-mindedly, like a piece of silverware.”
“It's queer to think how many little guys there are like that, with more ability than push, sucked in by one wave and hurled out by the next, for every Sammy Glick who slips through and over the waves like a porpoise.”
“Very much on the defensive, I admitted that I liked to read.
"Sure," Sammy said, "I never said I had anything against reading books..."
"The publishers will be relieved to know that," I tried to insert, but Sammy was too quick for me and was already rounding the bend of his next sentence.”
“Never talk to waiters like that," Kit said.
"Can I help it," he said, "if I only went one year to finishing school?"
"It isn't manners," she said like a sensible schoolteacher quietly disciplining a small boy, "it just isn't smart."
I thought of the time I first told him not to say ain't. He took this the same way, a little peeved but making mental notes. I noticed he was never too much of an egotist to take criticism when he knew it would help. It was part of his genius for self-propulsion. I was beginning to see what Kit had for Sammy. Of course she stood for something never within his reach before. But it was more than that. Sammy seemed to know that his career was entering a new cycle where polish paid off. You could almost see him filing off the rough edges against the sharp blade of her mind.”
“First, no qualms. Not the thinnest sliver of misgiving about the value of his work. He was able to feel that the most important job in the world was putting over Monsoon. In the second place, he was as uninhibited as a performing seal. He never questioned his right to monopolize conversations or his ability to do it entertainingly. And then there was his colossal lack of perspective. This was one of his most valuable gifts, for perspective doesn't always pay. It can slow you down.”
“The principal furniture in Billie's mind was a good-sized bed.”
“I often think that the ability to earn a living by doing the thing one loves must be one of life’s greatest gifts.”
“What is a hobby anyway? Where is the line of demarcation between hobbies and ordinary normal pursuits? I have been unable to answer this question to my own satisfaction. At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant. Certainly many of our most satisfying avocations today consist of making something by hand which machines can usually make more quickly and cheaply, and sometimes better. Nevertheless I must in fairness admit that in a different age the mere fashioning of a machine might have been an excellent hobby... Today the invention of a new machine, however noteworthy to industry, would, as a hobby, be trite stuff. Perhaps we have here the real inwardness of our own question: A hobby is a defiance of the contemporary. It is an assertion of those permanent values which the momentary eddies of social evolution have contravened or overlooked. If this is true, then we may also say that every hobbyist is inherently a radical, and that his tribe is inherently a minority.
This, however, is serious: Becoming serious is a grievous fault in hobbyists. It is an axiom that no hobby should either seek or need rational justification. To wish to do it is reason enough. To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry–lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an 'exercise' undertaken for health, power, or profit. Lifting dumbbells is not a hobby. It is a confession of subservience, not an assertion of liberty.”
“Present company excluded, this looked to be the most pleasant detention ever experienced by mankind. Further proof that librarians should run the world-or a least be in charge of detention at Bathory High.”
“IN THE UNFORTUNATE EVENT THAT YOU FIND YOURSELF CORNERED BY A MEMBER OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN, PICK YOUR NOSE.”
“There was nothing left. Nothing of him, and nothing of me.”
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