Monday, June 1, 2015


I enjoy making lists and collecting quotes.  I have a folder in my file cabinet full of them.  Most of what interests me comes from television and the movies, so you won't find anything profound like "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." or "Dear me, I think I'm becoming a God."  But, you will find Poe's "God help my poor soul." because there's something about his struggle that fascinates me.

Some of the lines are funny.  Some are stupid.  Most reveal something about my place in the world at the time I first heard them.  I spend a lot of time searching for answers.  These provide me with a glimpse of hope.

"That's what a writer does.  Takes the truth and twists it."
-Lucille Ball, 1950's.

"How she feels?  How 'bout me?  How 'bout how I feel?"
"You're gonna get it.  I don't know what second, what minute, but you're gonna get yours."
-Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason).  The Honeymooners, 1950's.

"I want love.  I want life, damn it!"
"In the midst of death, we are in life."
"It makes you feel less lonely in the dark."
-General Leo FitzJohn (Peter Sellers).  Waltz of the Toreadors, 1962.

"I can make you do anything I want.  Absolutely anything.  I can make you dance.  I can make you sit or kneel, or I can take away your power like this!"
-El Presidente Rodriguez.  Gilligan's Island, 1965.

"It's real!  It's real!  No matter what it is, it's not nothing."
-Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington) on death.  One Day at a Time. 1970's.

"The universe is a very big place, but if you accept me, we could make it one step smaller."
-Mork from Ork (Robin Williams).  Mork and Mindy, 1980's.

"There are many things in this universe you're not meant to understand.  But they are real.  I'm real."
-Alf (Gordon Shumway).  Alf, 1980's.
"Can you please explain to me the meaning of the word, 'oops'?"
-Willie Tanner (Max Wright),  Alf, 1980's.

"I've never seen that.  I never seen anybody drive their garbage down to the street and then bang the hell out of it with a stick.  I've never seen that."
-Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks).  The Burbs, 1989.

"You have just said goodbye to oxygen."
-Big Boy (Al Pacino).  Dick Tracy, 1990.

"I'd rather be a failure in something that I loved than a success in something that I didn't."
-George Burns, 1991.

"The male kangaroo doesn't have a pouch.  Only the female has it, so the male has pouch envy.  Why should she have this huge pouch, and I have nothing?  I have things to carry, too.  At least, at least give me a pocket."
-Polar Bear.  Seinfeld, 1992.

"Pull the string!"
-Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau).  Ed Wood, 1994.

"Necessary?  Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine?  No.  But I do it anyway 'cause it's sterile and I like the taste."
Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn).  Dodgeball, 2004.

"That's good.  Pretend he's your little sister.  Your little sister with a pitcher.  Playin' a little guitar."
Officer Slater (Bill Hader).  Superbad, 2007.
"He's a freak.  He's the fastest kid alive.  He's the fastest kid alive."
Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen).  Superbad, 2007.

"I drink your milkshake."
-Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis).  There Will Be Blood, 2007.

Here's my favorite quote from any stage play (and since I've done theatre for over 35 years now, I think it matters.)

"And you - ain't you bitter, man?  Ain't you just about had it yet?  Don't you see no stars gleaming that you can't just reach out and grab?  You happy?  You contented son of a bitch - you happy?  You got it made?  Bitter?  Man, I'm a volcano.  Bitter?  Here I am - a giant, surrounded by ants!  Ants who can't even understand what it is the giant is talking about!"
-Brother Younger (Danny Glover).  A Raisin in the Sun, 1959 (original Broadway production).

Here are a couple of personal ones.

"e to the motherfuckin tan" - graffiti I found scribbled in a high school notebook, 2005.  A former student and I were cleaning out my classroom.  I tore out the scrap of paper and saved it.

"I'm real. I'm freakishly truthful."
-Graham Schaafsma, 2008.  (A student of mine, I think, using an alias.  If anyone knows who this is, please let me know.)

"bannes, grips, wall-meel. all frista" - my grandfather's shopping list, early 1980's.  I kept this, but not to shame him.  Thinking about him and the time we spent together (with my brothers) makes me smile.  He's the one person I wish my wife and children could've met.  The note, of course, was a reminder for my grandmother to grab bananas, grapes, and watermelon while at the supermarket.  All fruit.

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