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Some people have a way with words
My Favourite Quotations
Member Name: ladybracknell
My Favourite Quotations
Date: 28/11/12, updated on 29/11/12 (123 review reads)
Advantages: Wise words that raise a smile
Disadvantages: There's always someone waiting to wipe the smile off your face!
Unlike W C Fields who said "Start every day with a smile and get it over with", I think that actively seeking out the humour in everyday situations is what makes life bearable. Throughout my time on the planet I've found that if you can laugh in the face of adversity and, more importantly, laugh at yourself and your situation, nothing ever seems quite as terrible. Consequently, most of my favourite quotes are those that look at life from a slightly wry or humorous perspective rather than treating it as the serious business it sometimes can be. In the words of that most quoted of people, Oscar Wilde, "Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about it."
To err is human; To purr feline!
Our last, much loved cat, Poppy, is now permanently snoozing in the back garden having clocked up over twenty years of largely inactive life. Anyone who has ever lived with a cat will agree with that well known person, Anon, who said "Dogs have owners, cats have staff." I have to admit to being rather fond of cats despite their very inflated idea of their place in the world and as there is a wealth of observations on the feline species, I'll have to confine myself to just a couple of my favourites.
Robert A Heinlein, the science fiction author, certainly had the measure of not just cats but women, too, when he wrote "Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
Another writer, H P Lovecraft, he of the scary horror story, made quite a few observations about cats and not only noted their affinity with those spooky things which humans can't see, but also recognised their untrainability. "Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement."
Bill Dana, an American comedian from the 1950s also had a view of training cats. "I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It's not. Mine had me trained in two days."
My favourite cat quote, however, which perfectly encapsulates the sheer contrariness of the entire species has to be "If cats could talk, they wouldn't." So true!
Life, the Universe and Everything...
In these materialistic times it's very easy to be envious of what your neighbours have but take a leaf from the late Quentin Crisp who advised, "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper."
Not only has life become more materialistic but rather more dangerous due to all the religious extremists walking round with bombs strapped to them, willing to die to prove that their imaginary friend is better than that of somebody else. Even the greatest philosophers weren't willing to be quite that committed. Saint Augustine, the man credited with bringing Christianity to these islands, obviously enjoyed some of the more carnal aspects of life and was in no hurry to embrace a totally religious existence so he prayed "O Lord help me to be pure, but not yet." Bertrand Russell, one of the world's greatest philosophers, so well used to being able to prove or disprove the same theory, admitted "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."
Like most people, E=MC˛ means diddly squat to me which probably proves Einstein's theory that "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." The man who thought it all up in the first place, explains relativity beautifully in layman's terms. "When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity."
As I grow older, I'm also beginning to see the truth in Robert Oustin's observation that "Life is like a hot bath. It feels good while you're in it but the longer you stay in it, the more wrinkles you get!"
A rose by any other name....
Eleanor Roosevelt is a woman I've long admired. She not only fought tirelessly for civil rights in America but on a personal level put up with her husband's infidelity for many years. Rumour has it she may have been a closet lesbian so perhaps she didn't mind that so much. One thing is certain, however, Eleanor not only had a strong sense of what was right and just but also a great sense of humour, some of it quite self-deprecating. The first of her quotes is one well worth remembering. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Her opinion on war is no less unequivocal. "I cannot believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war."
Both of those quotes are fairly serious so just in case anyone was ever in any doubt that Mrs R had a keen sense of humour, her remark about a rose which had been named after her is a classic.
"I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall."
I can't possibly write a piece about quotations without including a couple from the wonderfully caustic Dorothy Parker who managed to be extremely bitchy on the one hand and incredibly funny on the other. Her opinion about a book which was regarded as something of a masterpiece was, "This isn't a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." I'm sure we've all read a few like that.
With so many witticisms to choose from this queen of the clever quote, I think I'll finish instead with one of Dorothy's little poems.
I wish I could drink like a lady
I can take one or two at the most
At three, I'm under the table
At four, I'm under the host.
Summary: Laugh and the world laughs with you