Friday, May 23, 2008

"Notable Quotables"

Dr. M and I are going out of town for a few days. We’re driving to San Francisco. When I say, “We’re”, I mean “She’s.” I don’t drive on highways. And when she’s in the car, I don’t drive on driveways. I’m strictly a passenger.

Sometimes, I’m the navigator; I’m in charge of the map. “Navigator” is a job I’m even less suited for than “driver.” If my eyes aren’t good enough to see cars, what chance do I have with the very small writing on maps?

We really ought to fly.

But we’ve had it with airports. September 11th has done something I didn’t believe was possible. It’s made air travel even less appealing than it already was. I’ve never seen a business that mistreats its customers more than the airline business. They’ve got us, and they know it. Airlines don’t have to be nice to their customers, because they’re certain of one thing:

“If you’re not a superhero, you need us to fly.”

I imagine, someday, technology will be developed that will allow people to fax themselves to their destinations. I probably won’t be one of the pioneers in that department. I imagine myself arriving someplace, going up to the Service Desk and saying,

“They lost my nose.”


While I’m away, I thought I’d leave you with some quotes I’ve gathered over the decades. These are comments I’ve heard, or overheard, or other people have overheard and told me about.

I like overheard quotes. They’re often a glimpse into something real. Like candid photographs, they offer flashes of insight that posed pictures or prepared material can rarely provide.

Quotes today; quotes and Tuesday. I’ll be back with prepared material on Wednesday. Hopefully not entirely lacking in insight.

Riding high, Bing Crosby, a popular crooner was bumped from the audience’s affections by newcomer Frank Sinatra. Crosby’s response to this turn of events was this:

“A voice like Sinatra’s comes along once in a lifetime. Why did it have to be my lifetime?”

For current implications, replace “Crosby” with “Hillary Clinton” and “Sinatra” with “Barack Obama.”


Comedian Jack Benny once received an award and acknowledged the recognition with this opening remark:

“I don’t deserve this. But I have a terrible case of hemorrhoids and I don’t deserve them either.”

It may not be that things even themselves out. It could be that nobody’s counting.


A brilliant wit named Oscar Levant once said:

“Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism.”

Remember that when you hear a writer stealing from another writer call it “an homage.”


I was finishing dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida. The waiter brought me the check, along with the traditional fortune cookie.

I broke open the cookie and read my fortune:

“You will soon enjoy a financial windfall.”

“Great, “ I quipped, “I don’t have to pay the bill.”

“Not now,” retorted the waiter. “Soon.”

You think he was ready for that one?


My mother told me this story. She was standing in line at a bakery, and behind her, a mother and her ten year-old son were having an argument. The son wanted to leave, complaining there was nothing in the bakery he wanted.

“What do you mean?” replied the mother incredulously. “They have a hundred different kinds of cookies here.”

“I know,” responded the son. “But it’s always the same hundred.”

My mother had an ear. On my better days, I have one too.

If you have any memorable quotes – overheard or otherwise – feel free to pass them along.



Jon88 said...

Dinner finished, my friend and I get up from our table on the balcony and head for the restaurant's door, perforce passing the table placed on the bridge off the balcony. This table is occupied by He and She, relationship unknown. As we pass, He, in mid-story, says to She, "And so *I* wound up washing *her* underwear."

My friend and I stop dead in our tracks and perform our best double-takes (we've had practice). He is attempting to crawl under the table; She is laughing so hard that she can barely stay in her seat.

He turns to us and makes as if to speak, but I stop him and say, "Whatever it is, it can't be as interesting as what we're going to make up."

Anonymous said...

"If a piece of heaven ever fell outta the sky, I hope Grampa Ken comes with it." -an 8 year old metaphysicist, today.

Anonymous said...

My four-year-old grandson, who woke up his father in the middle of the night to announce he had puked in his bed.

"Daddy ... I over-breathed."

Rusty James said...

Ha, ha, ha...

check out

There's diamonds over there!

Alice said...

I love to listen in on what people are saying. I set up the Mexican version of Overheard in New York called Conversaciones Ajenas (it means other people's conversations).

Probably the one that ignited my love for these little gems was between my father and my mother when they were dating (I'm traslating)

My dad serves my mom a cup of coffee and asks if she wants sugar with it.

My mom replies "Educated coffee drinkers don't put sugar in their coffee"

My dad answers back: "Educated coffee drinkers don't drink Nescafe either"

I have never seen either one of them drink anything but instant, at least at home.