'Are you seeing a psychiatrist?' as a conversation opener would nowadays earn you a punch in the nose, but for fifty years it was a compliment. It meant, 'One can plainly see you are sensitive, intense, and interesting, and therefore neurotic.' Only the dullest of clods trudged around without a neurosis.
A woman may be called a wife and mother for most of her life, while a man is called a husband and father only at his funeral.
Almost any dog thinks almost any human is the Great Spirit, the Primal Creator, and the Universal Force Behind the Sun and Tides. What human can resist?
By and large, people who enjoy teaching animals to roll over will find themselves happier with a dog.
Cats vary so widely that all data is meaningless and the professional classifiers gnash their teeth trying to come up with even a single fact common to all.
Coaches and headmasters praise sport as a preparation for the great game of life, but this is absurd. Nothing could be more different from life. For one thing sports, unlike life, are played according to rules. Indeed, the rules are the sport: life may behave bizarrely and still be life, but if the runner circles the bases clockwise it's no longer baseball.
Cussing is a great releaser of the tensions, a detumescence, a loosening of the corsets and lightening of the accumulated load, a stimulating explosion in the cylinder head of the spirit. Like so many joys, bad words suffer dilution from overuse, and those who have served in the armed forces, advertising agencies, or the Nixon White House may find they have lost their savor.
Dogwoods are great optimists. Daffodils wait and see, crouching firmly underground just in case spring doesn't come this year, but dogwoods have faith.
Exercise, to qualify at all, must be lonely, painful, humorless, and boring.
For some of us, the soul is resident in the sole, and yearns ceaselessly for light and air and self-expression. Our feet are our very selves. The touch of floor or carpet, grass or mud or asphalt, speaks to us loud and clear from the foot, that scorned and lowly organ as dear to us as our eyes and ears.
Gloom we have always with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy requires tending.
However long you have a cat and however plainly he lays his life open before you, there is always something hidden, some name he goes by in a place you never heard of.
I have ferreted out the alarm clock, plugged it in, and set it, musing on the word 'alarm' and why the world must be wakened daily to cries of panic and danger.
If a quick glance back over world history shows us anything, it shows us that war was one of our most universal joys from our earliest beginnings, savored at every possible opportunity and even some quite incomprehensible ones.
In a proper pub everyone there is potentially, if not a lifelong friend, at least someone to lure into an argument about foreign policy or the Red Sox.
In America, snobs who wouldn't be seen dead with a lottery ticket play the stock market.
In civilized places idleness, once the prerequisite for abstract thought, poetry, religion, philosophy, and falling in love, has become a character flaw. In America we've managed to stamp it out almost completely, and few people under forty can remember a single moment of it, even in earliest childhood. The phrase 'spare time' has vanished from the land.
In the suburbs, everywhere you go you're trespassing, but a city is public property; if you're there, it's yours, and we set our feet down on our city as firmly as kings.
In the taverns all was amiable and easy, but the coffeehouses were cauldrons of edgy malcontents.
It's curious that throughout our history together, with no apparent effort, people have been able to think of the cat simultaneously as the guardian spirit of the hearth and home, and as the emblem of freedom, independence, and rootlessness.
Joy has been leaking out of our life. We have let the new Puritans take over, spreading a layer of foreboding across the land until even ignorant small children rarely laugh anymore. Pain has become nobler than pleasure; work, however foolish or futile, nobler than play; and denying ourselves even the most harmless delights marks the suitably somber outlook on life.
Life, after we'd had a few millennia to observe it, turned out to be dreadfully unfair, so we invented sports.
Maybe tips act as a magnet for all our insecurities. Maybe they're the final exam on our ability to survive on our own; will we leave too much out of nervous apology for our lives, or not enough, out of sheer incompetence?
Moral indignation is a pleasure, often the only pleasure, in many lives. It's also one of the few pleasures people feel obliged to force on other people.
Napping is too luxurious, too sybaritic, too unproductive, and it's free; pleasures for which we don't pay make us anxious.
No doubt about it, solitude is improved by being voluntary.
Nobody complains about hospital food anymore; perhaps hospitals no longer need to serve food, since all the patients are sent home before dinnertime.
Our Revolution was born and raised in taverns.
Parents needn't bother driving small children around to see the purple mountains' majesties; the children will go right on duking it out in the back seat and whining for food as if you were showing them Cincinnati. No one under twenty really wants to look at scenery.
Parties happened more easily and more often in the olden days; a piano and three or more people constituted a party.
Smiting enemies has always been so admired that, unlike medicine or archaeology, it entitled its successful practitioners to become kings, emperors, and presidents...
Sometimes, with luck, we find the kind of true friend, male or female, that appears only two or three times in a lucky lifetime, one that will winter us and summer us, grieve, rejoice, and travel with us.
Success in war was the only success that counted; failure was a disgrace to be wiped out only by starting another war and winning it.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that a moderate beer drinker- whatever that means- swallows 11 percent of his dietary protein needs, 12 percent of the carbohydrates, 9 percent of essential phosphorus, 7 percent of his riboflavin, and 5 percent of niacin. Should he go on to immoderate beer drinking, he becomes a walking vitamin pill.
The larger the ego, the less the need for other egos around. The more modest, humble, and self-effacing we feel, the more we suffer from solitude, feeling ourselves inadequate company.
The nostalgic notion of the family orchards is lovely- all that wholesome fruit for our forebears to sit on the back steps biting into- but basically we were growing it to drink.
The only people who still read poetry are poets, and they mostly read their own.
The thing to remember is that children are temporary. As soon as they develop a sense of humor and get to be good company, maybe even remember to take the trash out and close the refrigerator door, they pack up their electronic equipment and their clothes, and some of your clothes, and leave in a U-Haul, to return only at Thanksgiving.
The trouble with American History is that you don't remember it, and why should you? Nobody does.
There is no 'cat language.' Painful as it is for us to admit, they don't need one!
To extract the fullest flavor of our drinking house, we needed to spend serious evening time there, slowly coming to know the bartender and the regulars, their joys and sorrows.
True ownership of anything requires time.
Very few people have no opinions about cats.
We don't get enough pampering. If we were once the only child of an adoring mother, we developed a taste for it; if not, we developed a thirst for it.
Found 44 occurence(s) in 51,798 quotation(s).