“The eyes are the mirror of the soul.” ~Yiddish Proverb
Well, if the eyes are truly the mirror of the soul then I have a recurring dilemma regarding how I appear through other people’s eyes.
It started when I was sixteen. I was sitting in the main office of my high school my first day back on campus after a one year stay in the States. I was going into my junior year. Next to me sat a student I had never seen before and I assumed she was new to campus. I assumed correctly. I greeted her. We talked. Our mothers talked. Then, she went to unpack and settle into her dorm room. Me? I went in search of old friends. I became rather good friends with that particular individual and she was in my grade so we ended up graduating together. It was near the end of our senior year when, in some random discussion, she mentioned meeting me for the first time and being terrified of me. What? She went on to tell me, “It is your eyes. If you are not smiling then you look as though you are mad at the world. I was completely intimidated by you.” I have heard absolutely every single variation of those three sentences more times then I can count in the sixteen years since it was first brought to my attention. I have been told that my eyes, when not backed by a smile, make me look: angry, frustrated, standoffish, irritated, conceited, unapproachable, and more – the list goes on and on. I heard it again today from a coworker who is employed in the lodge kitchens. “Don’t come back here looking all mad at the world,” he said. “You need to smile more often.”
My eyes are surprisingly feline. They have a distinctive cat shape and are an interesting shade of green with striking shots of gold scattered around the pupil. I quite like them. Perhaps I can understand the misconception as most cats sit around looking at the world with a complete air of disdain. Personally – I like to think that I am a rather amiable individual … easy to talk to … glad to meet new people … and, often, overly friendly and talkative at times, but not intimidating. What say you those who know me well?
Here’s the rub: I can not possibly walk around this earth every single day of my life with a real or false smile plastered across my face. The thought of behaving as such is made more difficult by the simple fact that I am extremely self-conscious about my teeth. Honestly though – I know no individual of my acquaintance that looks blissfully happy and grins from ear-to-ear every moment of their existence. It isn’t human.
So, my dear friends and readers, if we should one day meet (if we have not already done so) … please do not judge me by my unsmiling eyes.
“You never know how you look through other people's eyes.” ~Unknown
This, dear readers, is my 99th post on Living a Quotable Life. And, as I am not overly fond of milestone celebrations (I tend to ignore my own birthday.), I am choosing to recognize post #99 instead of post #100. It just seems more my style to do so and the title was just itching to be used. Yes, the lyrics to that good old children's "let me annoy the driver on a long road trip" standard popped instantaneously into my brain as soon as I realized this was post #99 and along with it came more childhood memories.
There were three American curriculum schools in Kenya while I was growing up and I attended two of them. My junior high and high school years were spent at RVA (Rift Valley Academy) and I am sure at some undetermined point in the future it will feature heavily on this blog. RVA is a boarding school and I lived there nine months of every year. It is part of who I am. From first grade through sixth grade I spent my school days at Rosslyn Academy and my memories of the daily drive to this campus near Nairobi are quite entertaining to me. I make no promises on how amusing anyone else will find them, but there you are. (Incidentally, the third school was the International School of Kenya -ISK- where most of the embassy kids studied. All three schools were great rivals of one another.)
Brackenhurst, the conference center where I grew up in Tigoni, Kenya, was some miles from the capital city of Nairobi. In addition to being a conference center it was also the location of the language school where all incoming Southern Baptist missionaries to Kenya and Tanzania spent six months mastering the basics of Swahili before moving on to where they would be working. Because of this, I had a steady stream of new friends coming and going on a semi-regular basis and they all attended Rosslyn Academy with me during those early years. The distance to the school, combined with the sheer brilliance of Kenyan roadways (please note the sarcasm), necessitated that we all have some single method of getting to and from school. It made no sense to have three to ten sets of parents driving thirty to forty-five minutes (one-way) each day to individually transport their children to school. So ... we had a van. A tour van. Well, it did not have the pop top that you see in pictures of the tourist vans that dot Kenya's roads and national parks but it was still the same type of vehicle.
There were rules. On the van ... there were rules. Some rules instituted by the adults: no hitting, no screaming, etc. Other rules were simply understood: older kids sat in the back & younger kids were banished to the front where we weren't supposed to know what was going on the mere few feet behind us. Our parents took turns week to week driving us into school every morning and picking us up each afternoon. My mother inherited the job for a full year or two as she was working in the school library. Poor woman. At any given time there were at least eight kids in said vehicle (this being about the standard number for those who lived permanently near Brackenhurst and their siblings ... like me) plus however many more "culture shocked straight from the United States" kids there were whose parents were studying their way to passable Swahili.
So, there you are. Road trip! Every morning for school ... road trip! It had to be a nightmare for the one adult driver trapped in that vehicle with us bumping down the pothole filled road between Tigoni and Nairobi.
"Children frequently sing meaningful phrases to themselves over and over again before they learn to make a distinction between singing and saying." ~David Anton
See? While there was to be no screaming or picking on one another or fighting or any other such nonsense ... no one every said a thing about singing. Sing, we did. Loudly. We sang everything. We would sing as many commercial TV jingles and theme songs as we could remember from whenever our last trip to the U.S. had been. Occasionally, real songs with real lyrics made their way into our repertoire. But, most often, we sang long ... annoying songs like: "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" or "They Say That In The Army" or "Pop Goes the Weasel."
(I know this is a cultural thing that will likely fly way over the heads of some of my international readers ... knowing how utterly annoying these songs really are. Children's songs are different from culture to culture and decade to decade. But, I hope you get the general idea. Google always helps if you feel the need to see the lyrics. I'm sure someone has probably even been annoying enough to post audio & video on YouTube.)
Singing passed the time and we sang the same songs day in and day out and day in and day out. Oh .. there would be the occasional disagreement and usual childish rubbish. And ... more than once we passed by horrific auto accidents that sent older siblings diving over the seats in front of them to cover the eyes of the younger children proving that they really did care about them. Randomly, and quite infrequently, a game of "I Spy" or "20 Questions" would break out, but mostly ... we sang ... the entire trip to school and the entire trip home.
Let me take this opportunity to send a great big "Thank you" out to all those parents who put up with our nonsense. Truthfully now - were you all wearing earplugs?
"Children's singing games allow a more profound insight than anything else into the primeval age of folk music. Singing connected with movements and action is a much more ancient, and, at the same time, more complex phenomenon than is a simple song." ~Zoltan Kodaly
It has been brought to my attention by more than one observant individual over the past week that I do, indeed, use the word “indeed” rather frequently in both my written and oral communication. OK, fine, I use it A LOT. As a self-professed “word nerd” I always have some new favorite word and apparently “indeed” is the word of the moment.
I have been told it makes me sound British. Well, no insult there. At least I use proper English (for the most part) instead of American English which, no offense dear friends, just sounds like an extremely butchered version of the original (especially where I reside).
I have been informed that it makes me sound Spockish. Huh? Yes, I said the same thing. It was clarified for me. Spock … as in Star Trek. Ah! I get it now. Very well then, “Live long and prosper.”
Someone mentioned to me that it made me sound more educated. HA! Well, I do have considerable more education than the individual who mentioned it … so I just bit my tongue and walked away from that conversation before I said something insulting and typically American like, “DUH!” Of course, that would have defeated the purpose as all my years of education are probably revoked from me every time I utter such stupidity. Saying the word “duh” does no one any favors …especially those attempting to endear themselves to the I.A.T.S.M.E.T.I.A.S (I Attempt To Sound More Educated Than I Am Society).
“Indeed” happens to be a wonderfully versatile word.
1. in fact; in reality; in truth; truly (used for emphasis, to confirm and amplify a previous statement, to indicate a concession or admission, or, interrogatively, to obtain confirmation): Indeed, it did rain as hard as predicted. Did you indeed finish the work?
2. (used as an expression of surprise, incredulity, irony, etc.): Indeed! I can scarcely believe it.
Indeed! I think we should all adopt the word and make an effort to use it more often.
“A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life.” ~Winston Churchill
“Words are the coins making up the currency of sentences, and there are always too many small coins.” ~Jules Renard
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
It is a lovely day. Absolutely stellar! It is a good day for a walk. I think I will take one … after work obligations have been completed – of course.
It has been a long time since I have taken a walk strictly for the enjoyment of taking a walk. Usually, I am terribly preoccupied with the whole concept of needing to get some much needed exercise … instead of enjoying the day … which induces me to attach my ipod to my skull in order to block out the world while I proceed to walk or jog down Feaster Trail which deceptively advertises itself as a natural habitat. I assume that running parallel with a stream automatically gives a path that cuts across three major roads, past baseball fields, homes, apartment complexes and two college campuses the license to claim being a natural environment. It isn’t. Well, it isn’t to me … thus the ipod is necessary to drown out the sound of vehicles, barking dogs, baseball games and more than enough general chaos to warrant not wanting to absorb all the sounds around me. My mind is chaotic enough on my own merit to not want to listen to a bunch of extraneous noise.
I would, indeed, find more enjoyment in my walk if I chose to walk on one of the walking trails here in the state park but the paths here range from only one-quarter mile to a full mile. Simply put – they are not long enough and too easily associated with my work environment to be fully relaxing. Shame.
“It is not easy to walk alone in the country without musing upon something.” ~Charles Dickens
I miss the Kenyan countryside. I long for lazy Saturdays (when I didn’t have a sporting event) spent escaping from the campus of my boarding school to explore the surrounding hillsides of the Great Rift Valley or to climb Mount Longonot … again … simply because I could. There is nothing in this country that can compare to wandering through the carpeted hillsides of the Kenyan Tea Fields or of the feel of cool sand between your toes while meandering along Diani Beach in the early morning hours - before the tourists are awake - watching the sunrise over the Indian Ocean.
Yes, there are still places in the United States where one can commune with nature without outside interference. Please don’t go sending me hate mail if you are lucky enough to live where such places can be easily reached. I envy you.
Today, however, I will walk. I need a walk. I am being taunted by the beauty of the day and it is lovely enough that I will likely forgive the pandemonium involved in walking on a path with an abundance of worldly interference.
“He knew a path that wanted walking; He knew a spring that wanted drinking; A thought that wanted further thinking.” ~Robert Frost
“What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked.” ~Mark Twain
"One must have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star". ~Friedrich Nietzsche
The brilliance embodied within my children has now been explained. I always wondered how I managed to give birth to astoundingly intelligent and amazingly talented kids. (I'm not biased. Ask anyone who has met them.) It seems my never-ending chaos does, indeed, have a purpose.
(Yes, I am aware I've taken the whole quote out of context. I like it this way. Leave me be.)
“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that count. That's when you find out who you are.” ~Joss Whedon, American Screenwriter
I saw her as I was crossing the crowded parking lot here at the lodge where I am employed. She came out of the woods from the hiking trail … maybe nine years old, dirty jeans, old t-shirt, worn tennis shoes … a total fashion disaster. She was incredibly skinny with long, wild, tangled blonde hair and a look of total determination reflected in her stare. I stopped. I watched as she ran to a vehicle where she retrieved a lightweight jacket before returning to the source of the hiking path and vanishing into the grove of trees. I could not assess the color of this child’s eyes due to the distance between us, but I could have been looking at a clone of my childhood self … right down to the jumble of freckles across the turned up bridge of her nose and spread sporadically across her cheekbones.
I can not recall how long I stood there – long after her silhouette faded among the tree trunks – lost in contemplation – before finally closing the distance between where I stood and my truck and driving the thought filled fifteen miles to my apartment. Where had she gone – not the replica of myself I saw disappear into the trees today, but the one who is somewhere deep inside me … buried under years of anger, resentment and psychological abuse … lost and begging to be found? I have been thinking about her a lot lately so it seemed as though fate was toying with me by forcing me to come face to face (though brief) with a physical incarnation of the tough, determined tomboy I used to be. That tough schoolgirl grew into who was once a pretty amazing young woman. Where are the traits that carried forth from one to the other? Where are they hiding and how can I tap into them in order to rediscover the woman I know I can be?
"It's never too late to become what you might have been." ~Away from Her, Film (2006)
In addition to seeing this present day version of myself – I have stumbled across a number of different writings and musings this week that echo my sentiments exactly and also prove that I am not alone. There is Reflections by UL … a wonderfully written poem with an apt title. There is also this musing from KK about the mirror’s reflection and how it has changed. Both items are a worthy read.
“To look at a thing is quite different from seeing a thing and one does not see anything until one sees its beauty.” ~An Ideal Husband, Film (1999)
Personally, I think the universe is telling me that it is time for my inner tomboy and the hurting woman I am (courtesy of the last 10+ years) to finally collide … creating a stronger, more confident being … someone in whom I can take pride and enjoy living with again. I know it will not happen overnight, but it will happen. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I must go home … to Kenya … before my transformation can be complete. I am on a journey – an adventure of rediscovery – and the mental journey, the physical journey and the spiritual journey must all walk hand-in-hand together. I am looking forward to finding out who I am … and rediscovering the reflection in the mirror.
“I don't know if I continue even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” ~Maya Angelou, American Poet
“The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.” ~Jim Collins, Business Author & Theorist
Yesterday evening, while walking to my vehicle after a full day of work, I found myself looking around more than usual in an attempt to enjoy the view and remind myself that I really should not complain about where I work. I should be grateful that I am not stuck in an uninviting, dusty, generic cubicle box which, in turn, is located in a boring, drab and utterly average office building somewhere. Of course, my desk space (which comes close to resembling a box) is in an open office area with no windows. Sad, really. This means that I have to leave my office and walk through the lobby in order to enjoy the view of pristinely beautiful DeGray Lake. Still, I often have to give myself a mental slap of a reminder that it could always be worse. I could have the “pleasure” of working here and be confined to waiting tables or housekeeping or some other form of labor I prefer to not think about. No, I have a simple position in sales that allows me the luxury of working with our guests (current and future) without having to scrub their toilet or scrape their dirty dishes.
True – this is merely a job. I like what I do, but I find I have no passion for it anymore. There was a time when working in hospitality thrilled me. I assume this was so because my wanderlust was being assuaged … even if vicariously through the individuals with whom I was working. And, there was the odd journey here or there for work related events that helped to ease that ever present craving. Now? Well, now it all seems a form of drudgery. I long to somehow find independence in my employment. How? I know not. But, the want is there. I have to find something I am monstrously passionate about and that is likely the thing that I am doing – at – this – very – moment.
“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we'd know some kind of peace... but we would be hollow... Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we'd be truly dead.” ~Joss Whedon, American Screenwriter
"You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries, they only asked one question after a man died, 'Did he have passion?'" ~Serendipity, Film (2001)
Have you ever had one of THOSE days that you spend in ... well, a daze? (How do you like that play on words?!) Truly though - a day where everything seems foggy and out of focus without the benefit of foreign mind-manipulating instigators like drugs, alcohol or medicine to blame? A day where things are just ... funky? The mind races.
"No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself." ~Breakfast at Tiffany's, Film (1968)
Where am I? What am I doing? Why am I here? For that matter - how did I get here? What time is it? Why can't I think straight? Why is everyone moving in slow motion? Will this day never end? Who am I ... really ... and why is everything so funky today?
"Maybe I finally found it, way down here in the mud. Maybe from down here I can start up again, be something I can be proud of without having to fake it - be a fake human being." ~Platoon (1986)
"Independence is reliance on one's own will and judgement." ~Now Voyager, Film (1942)
I have (as of today) been divorced for exactly one year ... separated for a year, 3 months and a few days ... but it has been official for a year. I almost missed it and I don't know what made me think about. It isn't as though I have the "anniversary of my divorce" penciled into my calendar. Something in my subconscious brought it too my attention this morning. Odd. Still, there are no regrets. My mind and heart are free and that, my friends, is indispensable.
"There is only one freedom of importance, freedom of the mind." ~Iris, Film (2001)
I was tagged by The Phantom to participate in a little ongoing literary meme. I'm not much of a meme person, but this one intrigued me. So, here I go before my daily ramblings begin.
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth full sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people
As he did one for poetry and one for prose, I have followed this format as well. It makes sense.
"She was skeptical, because she knew the tricks the mind could play. At the same time, her mind was - in every sense - where she was to spend the evening, and she had to be at ease with herself. She stepped out of the black crepe dress where it fell to the floor, and stood in her heels and underwear, surveying the possibilities on the wardrobe racks, mindful of the passing minutes. She hated the thought of appearing austere."
Love Poems by Women: An Anthology of Poetry from Around the world through the Ages
~Joyce Carol Oates
kisses quick as breaths, without volition
Love: I am luminous
careless as love's breathing"
I will now neglect to tag anyone. I'm not much in the mood to do so. Feel free to do your own version of this meme if you feel so inclined! Cheers!
"Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul -- but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them -- but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way -- but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us -- we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass." ~Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel
Those who know me well probably assumed by the title of this composition that I was making reference to the music of Queen and the songs 'Fat Bottomed Girls' and 'Bicycle Race.' Alas - I wish my topic was of such a frivolous nature. It is not.
I saw a young girl today riding her bicycle, very slowly, down the cracked and uneven sidewalk that runs sporadically parallel to the street my apartment complex sits one block from. I drive this road every single day and I have never seen this child until today.
Brown hair, sickly white skin (as though she has never spent more than 5 minutes outside the confines of her home or school), seven (maybe eight) years old and morbidly obese for her age - I applauded her efforts to navigate the bicycle down the crumbling concrete and I felt so sorry for her ... starting off life as "the fat kid."
Childhood obesity is a growing plague in the United States. Children who should be happy and carefree are burdened with the stress and life long slavery accompanied by diseases that are part and parcel of the whole overweight gig - like diabetes. Yes, some of this is genetic but that percentage has dropped.
I think back to my elementary school years. I was always the skinniest kid in school, but I can only remember two students during my early education who were considered fat - and both were smaller than this girl on her bicycle. One was an Indian boy (Not Native American - Indian. Remember - this was in Kenya.) and, to be honest, if I had grown up consuming Indian food every day I might not have been the skinniest kid in school. Good stuff. I have no idea what he looks like today or what became of him. The other was an American boy who grew out of his weight problems by high school and turned into a bona fide hottie and athlete. Now, he is happily married with beautiful children of his own. These were the "fat kids" in our school and things were harder on them. It was more difficult to sit in a school desk. There was no swinging upside down from the playground equipment. Physical Education (P.E. Class) was hard. They lost every race they were forced to run in the annual school Sports Day. Stuff was just more difficult.
It was evident that riding the bicycle was, indeed, difficult for the girl I saw today - but she was still trying and she was alone. There were no friends in sight.
The weight plague is expanding and, unfortunately, it is exploding among the children we should be protecting. Life for obese individuals is becoming more and more difficult in this country.
Waistlines continue to grow.
Tolerance continues to wane.
"Obesity now contributes to the death of more than 360,000 Americans a year. The incidence of childhood obesity is now at epidemic levels. Alarm bells are going off all over the place." ~Tom Harkin
I'm not saying I have all the answers. I don't. I do, however, have children who - for the most part - make wise decisions considering the items they put into their mouths. They would rather drink milk or water than a soda. This has always been - even when they were littler. They shock waitresses in dining establishments by requesting broccoli or applesauce as opposed to french fries as a side dish. They were raised to make better choices. I never forced the issue of healthy eating, nor did my ex-husband, but we made sure the good foods were always available ... we also, for a time, kept things in the house that were not so good. In recent months I have removed potato chips, pop-tarts and the like from my pantry. In their place are apples and oranges and fruit cups and yoghurt and granola and carrot sticks. We only have whole wheat bread. I've converted all the pasta to whole wheat. We don't even eat canned vegetables ... everything is fresh or steamed. I made a lot of changes. Reaction? Well, there was no weeping and gnashing of teeth. In fact, the more than excited response from both was, "Is all this stuff for us?" Cha-ching! Jackpot for mom! Proof positive that giving your kids a healthy lifestyle is, indeed, possible.
"The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends. ~Unknown
Something odd has been happening lately during the midnight hours. I have been sleeping. Imagine that! Let us hope I do not curse myself to more endless months of insomnia by finally introducing slumber and darkness to one another so that they are no longer strangers in the night.
"And so I am become a knight of the Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows!" ~Mark Twain, The Prince & The Pauper
Even stranger than my apparent ability to sleep is the sudden resurgence of my own personal dream world. I have been dreaming … a lot … more than once a night. Of course, this means my sleep is often interrupted, but at least it is still taking place to some extent. The thing about my dreams is that they are vivid, tangible, often-warped and in Technicolor. I can not imagine dreaming in black and white. How boring. If I didn’t know better I would wonder who was slipping me some acid right before bed because if I try to describe many of my dreams to you … you would swear I was tripping on some illegal substance in order to bring such thoughts into my illusions. Hooray for my subconscious! It knows I do not like mediocrity. If you are going to dream … make it good. This is why we have them.
“When one creates phantoms for oneself, one puts vampires into the world, and one must nourish these children of a voluntary nightmare with one's blood, one's life, one's intelligence, and one's reason, without ever satisfying them.” ~Eliphas Levi, French Author & Magician
And then … there is the other visitor of the night that is not quite as welcomed. This would be the nightmare. I have only had one nightmare in my life and – lucky me – it is recurring. If I am going to have a nightmare, this is the one I have:
It always begins in Nairobi. I am walking down the street, minding my own business, when I feel a presence behind me. I turn and there is nothing there, but I can feel it growing stronger. Finally, in a panic, I begin to run. It is only then that the presence takes some sort of form … something resembling black smoke with no human features (think 'LOST' for those of you who watch that particular television program and need a visual reference of sorts – although this dream began many moons before that program came on the air). I run for a block or two before turning a corner. As soon as I turn I find myself in another city: Paris, London, Barcelona, New York, Dallas … wherever. The order is never the same. I turn again and I am transported to another location. I keep running … I turn … I am somewhere new. I am still being chased. On and on this sequence commences, city through city, until the black shape catches up with me. This is where I wake, usually drenched in sweat, and pondering what has happened in my life in recent days to warrant the resurfacing of such nonsense.
I had this vision again last night. Unprecedented - as I have never experienced it while medicated for my bipolar disorder. It has always paid me a visit while I was swinging drastically between depression and mania. That isn’t the only change. Last night, for the first time, the spirit, presence, shadow, black-smoke, thing … whatever – became a person ... with a face I know well and I was still running.
What does it mean that I am dreaming it now – when I am medicated and stable and, dare I say, as close to ‘normal’ as I will ever be? And, what does it mean that the figure is no longer unidentifiable?
“There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At such time, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing, to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate.” ~Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
“I still believe in Hope - mostly because there's no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.” ~Unknown
I live in Arkansas. I know. It is not my first choice either but Fate has dropped me here. I deal with it – for now. The funny thing about this State is the place names. (I am sure there are others States with wacky place names but I am too lazy to research all fifty.) Some city names make sense. Hot Springs sits on top of – you got it – natural hot springs. It is a spa & resort town because of this reason. Other place names make no sense whatsoever. Little Rock (the capital) may seem like an odd place name, but it is derived from a small rock formation and landmark on the south bank of the Arkansas River called La Petite Roche (the “little rock”). See? Not so strange now - is it? (Thank you Wikipedia.)
Me? I live in Arkadelphia. Someone once told me it sounded fictional. Believe me, I wish it was. Alas, it is not.
Arkansas (The Natural State) + Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love) = Arkadelphia (A Great Place To Call Home).
The math does not work in that equation. Not to mention, I disagree wholeheartedly with the city slogan. Arkadelphia does happen to be a college town which is what brought me here the first time.
Arkansas is also one of those States that borrows city names from more prominent places worldwide like Egypt, Paris, Jerusalem and London. Trust me; these towns in no way resemble the great cities/countries for which they were named. Unfortunately, their presence (and others like them) led me into the following conversation on more than one uncomfortable occasion while in college.
“Where are you from?” asks the Arkansas raised college student with whom I am making small talk.
“Kenya,” I answer – wrongly assuming no clarification is needed.
Insert here any number of the following college student reactions: long pause, little lost puppy dog look, a slight cock of the head, eyes rolling upward in deep concentration … whatever … before the sad inevitability of their response.
“Um, where in Arkansas is that?”
So much for higher education, huh? Disturbing.
Still, it is not quite as unsettling as some of the following cities/town in the state of Arkansas. Trust me, the mythical sounding ‘Arkadelphia’ pales in comparison to the following:
- Ash Flat
This is the first one and I have no snide comment. How sad.
- Bald Knob
I’ll leave you to your own references on this one – rude as they may be.
What? Did U2 swing through here at some point?
- Bull Shoals
Huh? The definition of “shoals” is “a shallow place in a body of water.”
- Cotton Plant
Original, huh? I'm sure 'grass,' 'pine tree,' or 'philodendron' was already taken.
- Diamond City
Incidentally, Arkansas is the only diamond producing State and has a state park where you can come and dig for your own. I kid you not. Diamond City, however, is located on the 269 miles/433 kilometers from the diamond mine. Not even close.
- Evening Shade
You know – as opposed to morning shade or afternoon shade. Someone found it worthy enough to create a television show about said place back in the early 1990s that starred Burt Reynolds. I hated it.
Hey! Pick a number between one and a one hundred!
I am so flippin happy we named this place! (This would be the favorite of my children. They laugh every time they see it on the Weather Channel.)
Why not boxy, doxy, foxy, moxie, oxy, proxy or roxy??
- Little Flock
Apparently, they need more birds in order to come up with a more interesting name.
- Marked Tree
- Pea Ridge
You know – ‘cause all peas have these horrible ridges! They are not smooth at all!
Pig-what? Actually, it was named for a person. Still. I'd be changing my name if I was born Beth Piggott.
With 1,732 residents … I’m guessing this isn’t the most romantic spot on the planet. The school teacher who named it (according to legend) must disagree with me greatly.
Should I leave this one alone? The name Smackover is an Anglicization of the French “Sumac Couvert” which translates to “covered in sumac." Thank you again Wikipedia. Sumac is a flowering plant and not a particularly attractive one at that.
- Toad Suck
OK – This is a park, not a city … but STILL! Come visit and attend the annual Toad Suck Daze festival! :o)
Again, you have fun with this one.
Anyone want to move to Arkansas?
“The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you're doing, someone else does.” ~Unknown
Driving home today I saw an individual exhibiting some amazingly asinine behavior and I realized that there are things in this world that I simply do not comprehend. This is not a case of shrouding myself in ignorance … a trait I abhor … it is about why people do some of the stupid things they do. Here are a mere ten examples of things I do not understand. Let me half-heartedly apologize in advance if you take offense. I am sure you will soon get over it.
- Those who answer rhetorical questions and think they are the wittiest person of my acquaintance. When will the general public learn that inquiries of the rhetorical nature are not meant to be answered?
"Please don't interrupt me when I'm asking rhetorical questions."
~Mission Impossible III, Film (2006)
- Small town police officers who park their squad cars semi-hidden in the same spot every day in an effort to catch speeding motorists. The words “small town” bear repeating here. C'mon, Barney Fife, we all know you are there!
“The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.” ~Karl von Clausewitz
- Brainless individuals who smoke cigarettes or cigars while filling up their preferred mode of transportation with gas/petrol/fuel (whatever it is called in your part of the world). Do you read the signs? You are aware that petrol is FLAMMABLE, right? One would think I would take this opportunity to also point out the brilliance of someone who chooses to smoke in the first place. However, having once been a smoker myself, I understand there are a million reasons not to quit such a foul habit … such as stress, boredom, the utter joy of having a mouth that tastes like an ash tray, the belief that nicotine curbs ones appetite and you will stay skinnier, or the desire to commit suicide in a most prolonged and painful manner. Good reasons, don’t you think?
“It's a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it.” ~The Blues Brothers, Film (1980)
- People who continuously pound on my door because they “know I’m in there” even though the door has remained closed. Take the hint! I’m not going to answer. I may be in the bath. I could be stirring my risotto. I may know you are here to play with one of my children and they are visiting their father this week and I have already told you this more than once in the last day or two. I may be writing. I may be asleep or (more likely when alone) I am in some state of undress or just plain naked. Knock. By all means – keep knocking. I am not Jesus. The door shall not be opened.
“However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words.” ~Ivan Turgenev
- Whining. My children get nothing out of a whine. I don’t even acknowledge it. They have learned. For all the peace in the world – this reality needs to be taught to every child in order to one day eliminate the phenomenon that is a whining adult.
“When you face adversity, you don't whine or complain. You've got to move on.” ~Paul Barnes
- Drunkenness. Why? I am not opposed to social drinking in moderation, but do people truly enjoy having no control over their own mind, body and tongue? People do and say the most moronic things while intoxicated: passing out on restroom floors, spontaneous marriages, telling secrets given to one in confidence … or driving, for instance. Duh!
“One reason why I don't drink is because I wish to know when I am having a good time.” ~Nancy Witcher Astor
- Women who willingly and eagerly kiss a man that chews tobacco or dips snuff completely baffle me. That … is … just … foul, disgusting, gross – I can’t find a strong enough adjective. It’s nasty.
This is what a kiss should be:
“She lifted her face to him, and he bent forward and kissed her on the mouth, gently, with the one kiss that is an eternal pledge. And as he kissed her his heart strained again in his breast. He never intended to love her. But now it was over. He had crossed over the gulf to her, and all that he had left behind had shriveled and become void.” ~D.H. Lawrence, The Horse Dealer’s Daughter
- Spending endless amounts of money and time in a tanning bed – Hello? We have this fabulous orb in the sky that shows up every day without fail. It’s called the Sun. A little tanning for a supposed healthy glow I do understand – somewhat. Me? I am white. We’re talking Nicole Kidman white. WHITE! My theory is that I subjected my poor epidermal covering to an astounding amount of sun damage as a kid and teenager growing up on the equator … enough to last a lifetime. I don’t want my face looking like something that came out of a leather tannery.
“Sunburn is very becoming, but only when it is even - one must be careful not to look like a mixed grill.” ~Noel Coward
- Eating disorders. Fine, I could stand to lose a few pounds … or a lot … but I could never, ever, ever, ever stop eating or intentionally force regurgitation multiple times a day. As a sufferer of mental illness I should be able to empathize. Yet, I can’t.
“No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.” ~George Bernard Shaw
- Complacency in the workplace. Is it too much to ask for people to take some sort of pride in their work? I may not absolutely adore what I am doing for a living. It is a job not a passion. It pays the bills. Still – I take pride in what I do and I accomplish it to the best of my ability. This is why I do not get fired and why I can always find a new job if necessary. My work ethic is all the recommendation I need. I can not comprehend the mental thought processes of individuals who arrive to work chronically late, dress in a sloppy manner and exhibit even sloppier work. Do these people actually expect to succeed in this world? My garbage men take pride in their work. They arrive promptly at the same time twice a week. They wave and greet me cheerfully if I am outside my apartment as they come by. If garbage men can be happy in their jobs than anyone can. They are garbage men. They have my respect.
“Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself . . .” ~Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh
There are, I am sure, many other things in this world that befuddle me. There are those that confuse and anger me – like racism – but that is a topic for another day. Oh! The stupid behavior I witnessed on my way home this afternoon was the idiot smoking at the gas pump. I am thankful I did not need to fill up my little truck and I am more thankful that the moron is not someone of my own acquaintance.
“It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful.” ~Anton LaVey
“Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.”
Denial works … well, in this case it did. Wait, let me back up.
Yesterday morning I rose to find everyone in my acquaintance in a tizzy about the fact that we were going to get hit with a winter storm: rare in Southern Arkansas, rare in March and well … just rare. I entered into a state of immediate denial upon hearing the news. I hate snow. I hate cold. It was bad enough the temperatures were hovering around 40ºF. That, to my equatorial blood stream, is way too cold. This is how my thought processes progressed based on weather reports throughout the day.
0800 – Winter Storm Warning
Warning … as in, it is happening. Temperatures are above freezing, there is not precipitation … DENIAL.
1200 – 2” to 4” Snowfall Prediction; Winter Storm Warning
Yeah – sure, why not … seeing as it is still above freezing and there is nothing falling from the sky – not even a raindrop. DENIAL.
1400 – 4” to 6” Snowfall Prediction; Winter Storm Warning
Right, that’s going to happen. I mouth off to coworkers about how nothing is going to happen. It can’t. I’m in DENIAL.
1700 – 6” to 12” Snowfall Prediction; Winter Storm Warning
Wow! Optimistic, aren’t they? There is no way Arkadelphia, AR is going to get a foot of snow. I resolve to go in the apartment and not look at the weather report or out the windows until LOST (fabulous episode last night) is over. DENIAL.
2200 – 6” to 12” Snowfall Prediction; Winter Storm Warning
It’s raining. Raining. It is 10:00 at night and the temperature still hasn’t dropped enough for this rain to turn to snow. It’s not going to happen. I kept telling everyone it wouldn’t happen, but nobody listens to me. I’m going to bed as I will have to work tomorrow because there will be no snow. DENIAL.
0600 – Winter Storm Warning
Why? The alarm goes off. I look outside and it is …. wet. No snow. Duh – I told you. DENIAL WORKS!
(The “experts” still believe we may get 2” to 4” before the end of the day. Idiots. It’s just not going to happen.)
“The thing with pretending you’re in a good mood is that sometimes you can.” ~Charles de Lint, Celtic Musician & Storyteller (Author note: Notice he said 'sometimes.')
I have been in a relatively cranky mood all day. There is no specific reason for it – merely general discontent, I guess. I even tried to go to this site to instantly improve my mood. It didn’t work. Sadly, I didn’t even crack a smile. I am pretty sure my eyes rolled.
“On a bad day, I have mood swings – but on a good day, I have the whole mood playground.” ~Charles Rosenblum, Historian
I want to find this mythical mood playground. I say ‘mythical’ because I am not sure it exists. It is a nice concept, but I think I run through more of the mood repertoire when I am cranky than when I am not.
Know this: It’s not personal.
If I snap at you today – It’s not personal.
If I don’t greet you with glowing enthusiasm – It’s not personal.
If I send a sharply worded email – It’s not personal.
If I exhibit a wee bit of road rage – It’s not personal.
If I ignore your instant messages – It’s not personal.
If I am not in the mood to talk – It’s not personal.
If I seem aloof – It’s not personal.
Do you know what is personal? Taking it personally when I tell you, “It’s not personal.” Don’t do it.
I am sure my cranky mood will pass. It always does.
“Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.” ~Mark Twain, American Author
Here we are: the top twenty-five. And, I’m sure; they will probably be the most controversial. The top of any list always is.
#25 – “Show me the money!” ~Jerry Maguire & Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire (1996)
Who can forget Cuba Gooding, Jr. bouncing up and down in his kitchen screaming “Show me the money!?” I know I can’t. Better yet – think of the practice it gave Tom Cruise on how to act completely inappropriate in ones environment. He must have been taking notes. Again though – you knew it when you left the theater … this quote was going to go down in history.
#24 – “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.” ~Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
I know what you are thinking. Remember that patience thing we talked about in regard to ‘The Terminator’ quotes. Yes? Good! That applies here as well.
#23 – “There’s no place like home.” ~Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Again with this movie … she’s right though. Even if you completely despise the place – there really isn’t any place like home. Of course, you have to identify exactly what the word “home” means to you. I don’t count it as my current residence, but I think I am in the minority on that fact.
#22 – “Bond. James Bond.” ~James Bond, Dr. No (1962)
Yes, you are. Say it again.
#21 – “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.” ~Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Some quotes have had too little. This one has too much. I would remove the first sentence, we don’t need it. What we need is some way to articulate the sound affect that Anthony Hopkins makes when he finishes the word “chianti” because that … that is where the genius in the delivery of the line takes place. I would have cried if this quote hadn’t made the list. It is too startling to forget.
#20 – “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” ~Rick Blaine, Casablanca (1942)
Apparently, Casablanca was the only film to choose from in the beginning and they filled in the rest of the list with whatever they could find! Good God! Although – this quote does deserve to be here long before #32 and #28 which, I guess, is why it is closer to the top.
#19 – “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” ~Howard Beale, Network (1976)
Ironically – that’s what all of you should be shouting at me right about now.
#18 – “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!” ~Arthur ‘Cody’ Jarrett, White Heat (1949)
Can we just combine this one with #100? They belong together.
#17 – “Rosebud.” ~Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane (1941)
Should I give it away? Should I? It amazes me that people exist in this world who do not know ‘who’ “Rosebud” is. What does it say about a film when the most memorable line is the first line of the film? I don’t know. I was hoping you (like # 47) could tell me.
#16 – “They call me Mister Tibbs!” ~Virgil Tibbs, In the Heat of the Night (1967)
You go dude! You assert your authority. Not to mention, Sidney Poitier has one of the coolest accents ever!
#15 – “E.T. phone home.” ~E.T., E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Here is yet another beloved movie that I don’t watch. I have – long ago. I hated it. Please, don’t overload me with hate mail. This movie gave everyone in the world the ability to request to call their parents without using proper grammar. “Beth phone home.” Puuhhlleeeaaasssee!
#14 – “(What is it?)” “The stuff that dreams are made of.” ~Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon (1941)
How many quotes did Bogart earn on this countdown? Shamelessly – I have never watched this film. I need to (must add to Neflix queue), but it will probably be a while be. Subsequently, I do not know what it is that dreams are made of. Poor me.
#13 – “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” ~Oliver Barrett IV, Love Story (1970)
#12 – “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” ~Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, Apocalypse Now (1979)
The line is good. The scene is riveting. Still, I hear this line and laugh due to a day that my youngest child (maybe 5 or 6 at the time) stuck his face down in a paper bag full of Valentine candy. In went his face. He took a long, deep inhale through his nose and the uttered, “I love the smell of candy. It smells like victory!” Huh? Wow! Yes, this is what I live with. He is crazy and I can say, as his mother, that he has never seen ‘Apocalypse Now.’ I do have to admit the resemblance was astounding and very, very humorous!
#11 – “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” ~Captain, Cool Hand Luke (1967)
I think Hollywood has put this line in the ongoing recycle machine as well.
#10 – “You talkin’ to me?” ~Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)
Um … yeah, I am – just like I have been talking directly to every other moron that has tried to use this line in general conversation. You are SO original.
#9 – “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” ~Margo Channing, All About Eve (1950)
Have you ever been in one of those situations where a bunch of people are brought together for a party or some event and just about everyone is involved with everyone else in some form or another … you know, with dangerous strong undercurrents surrounding every syllable of conversation? That’s what is happening here. Brilliant! Bumpy night indeed!
#8 – “May the Force be with you.” ~Han Solo, Star Wars (1977)
I am a total sci-fi geek and I use this one a lot. I also use “Do or do not. There is no try. (Yoda)” It helps to be able to speak ‘Star Wars’ when raising two boys.
#7 – “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” ~Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
See? Getting upset at #24 did you no good, now did it? I did tell you to be patient and I did know what you where thinking.
#6 – “Go ahead, make my day.” ~Harry Callahan, Sudden Impact (1983)
This is the universal mantra of every man on the planet in a bad mood. Go ahead. Give me a reason to knock your block off!
#5 – “Here’s looking at you, kid.” ~Rick Blaine, Casablanca (1942)
I know. I know. I’ve complained a lot about how many Casablanca quotes made it into this countdown … but I like this one.
#4 – “Toto, I’ve (got) a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” ~Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz (1939)
No really?! What was your first clue? Could it be that twenty minutes ago your entire world was painted in shades of gray and now it looks like the rainbow spewed all over the place?
#3 – “You don’t understand! I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” ~Terry Malloy, On the Waterfront (1954)
No, Brando … you are no bum. Of course, the only portion of this quote I ever remember is, “I could’ve been a contender.” You too, huh?
#2 – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” ~Vito Corleone, The Godfather (1972)
Brando again – 18 years later, but still awesome. As for the ‘offer’ – who could refuse under such circumstances?
(Drum Roll, please …. Here is numero uno!)
#1 – “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” ~Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind (1939)
Are you surprised? I think not. Good line. Memorable line … and she SO deserves it.
We’re done. You never thought it would end, did you! Personally, my fingers are tired.
“You people. If there isn’t a movie about it, it’s not worth knowing, is it?” ~Dogma (1999)
Here we are again friends and we are about to progress past the half-way point on our quest to discover the greatest movie quotes of all time and, more importantly, my sarcastic opinions and wisecracks regarding the list.
I find that I am running out of sassy introduction material, so I will simply proceed on to the quotes themselves. Perhaps this segment will be a tad bit shorter. Hey – you can hope.
#50 – “Houston, we have a problem.” ~Jim Lovell, Apollo 13 (1995)
The great thing about this quote (and I am not being sarcastic about this entry) is that it is REAL. This is not just a movie quote. This is a documented historical remark. Cool. Too cool. Admit it (fellow Americans), you've said this one too when something wasn't going your way.
#49 – “It’s alive! It’s alive!” ~Henry Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1931)
This is another one that falls into the “you know you’ve said it” category. I know I have, but can any of us really infuse it with the crazy haired psychotic professor enthusiasm that it deserves?
#48 – “Well, nobody’s perfect.” ~Osgood Fielding III, Some Like It Hot (1959)
Speak for yourself buddy! Personally, I like “I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop” better, but that is just me.
#47 – “Shane! Shane! Come back!” ~Joey Starrett, Shane (1953)
What does it say about a film when the most memorable line is the very last line of the movie? I don’t know either. I was hoping you could tell me.
#46 – “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.” ~Charlotte Vale; Now, Voyager (1942)
Jerry, don’t listen to her. You need the moon too! You know you do. I haven’t seen this movie, so I have no idea what she is talking about. I assume it is something sappy. Personally, I’m not likely to ever watch it so I shall remain ignorant on the topic.
#45 – “Stella! Hey, Stella!” ~Stanley Kowalski, A Streetcar Named Desire (19510)
Notice: this is the third quote in a row to include the proper name of one of the characters. Still, I wouldn’t mind having the delicious (at the time) Marlon Brando yell, or speak, or whisper my name. It just wouldn’t have the same ring to it though, “Beth! Hey, Beth!” Nope. It doesn’t work. Damn.
#44 – “I see dead people.” ~Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense (1999)
It has to suck when your career peaks at age eleven. Still, this movie had me completely suckered and that is rare. It was also spooky as hell. This line, delivered as it was by an amazing child actor, is probably what garnered him the Oscar nomination. Not too shabby!
#43 – “We’ll always have Paris.” ~Rick Blaine, Casablanca (1942)
Sigh. Casablanca again. Poor, heart broken Rick. Do you know why this line is so powerful? We all have Paris … or somewhere like it in our lives … a place that will be forever associated with someone from our past. Of course, “We’ll always have Paris” sounds much more poetic than, “We’ll always have Topeka” or “Warsaw” or "Fiji" or, in my case, “high school.”
#42 – “Plastics.” ~Mr. Maguire, The Graduate (1967)
“Just how do you mean that, sir?”
#41 – “We rob banks.” ~Clyde Barrow, Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
No! Really! Tell me what you really do to make a living. Duh!
#40 – “My mama always said, “Life is (was) like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump (1994)
Yeah, I know and I hate the boxes of chocolates that don’t have the decipher key in the lid … you know, those boxes that tell you which chocolate shape corresponds with which flavor. I don’t like not knowing what I’m biting into. That, my friends, is just nasty. If you ever buy me a box of chocolates … just buy the ones that are all coconut and dark chocolate. I’ll be much happier. As for life – that’s allowed to be unexpected.
#39 – “If you build it, he will come.” ~Shoeless Joe Jackson, Field of Dreams (1989) Who needs that much corn anyway?
#38 – “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” ~Lou Gehrig, The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Hmmmm – that’s two baseball quotes right in a row. Sort of. Is this just a movie quote or is a real life quote converted to a movie quote? Anyone know the answer to this?
#37 – “I’ll be back.” ~The Terminator, The Terminator (1984)
There it is! Now all you folks who got in a snit over #76 can rest easy. Patience is a virtue!
#36 – “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” ~Gold Hat, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I don’t particularly care about the movie context of this quote. I do know that I have recited the line in my head every time I’ve changed jobs and had to have my photo ID taken for yet another identification badge. I have quite the collection.
#35 – “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” ~Martin Brody, Jaws (1975)
No shit, Sherlock! Du dum, du dum, du dum ...
#34 – “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” ~Marie ‘Slim’ Browning, To Have and Have Not (1944)
This is another one that gets recycled quite a bit. As for the innuendo – I’m not going to go there right now.
#33 – “I’ll have what she’s having.” ~Customer, When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Indeed. As will I. Moving on.
#32 – “Round up the usual suspects.” ~Capt. Renault, Casablanca (1942)
Enough already! I love Casablanca. Yes, it is one of the greatest movies of all time – but does this quote belong here? I don’t think so. Give another movie a chance!
#31 – “After all, tomorrow is another day!” ~Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind (1939)
You better hope so sister. Ugh, this movie again.
#30 – “I want to be alone.” ~Grusinskaya, Grand Hotel (1932)
I feel cheated. This needs the rest of the quote. “I want to be alone. I think I have never been so tired in my life.” See? It needed the rest, didn’t it? We have to know WHY she wants to be alone.
#29 – “You can’t handle the truth!” ~Col. Nathan Jessep, A Few Good Men (1992)
You know that when you saw this scene for the first time in your life that you knew, without a doubt, that this quote would become one of the most memorable in movie history. I did. Too obvious. I am sure I heard it a hundred times between the theater door and the parking lot as viewers jumped right on the bandwagon and started yelling it at one another.
#28 – “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’” ~Ilsa Laszlo, A Few Good Men
This is probably the single most misquoted line in film. Never, in the course of the movie, are the words “Play it again, Sam” mentioned. So close, yet so far away. I appreciate the AFI for attempting to set everyone straight, but I echo my sentiments from #32.
#27 – “(Hey!) I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” ~’Ratso’ Rizzo, Midnight Cowboy (1969)
That’s New York City for you! Accurate, if you ask me. Of course, you didn't ask me. I simply forced my opinion on you. Tough.
#26 – “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?” ~Lady Lou, She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Mae West is iconic. She delivers this line with a sultry sassiness that can not be ignored. I’ve been waiting for the opportune moment in which to utilize this phrase myself. Sadly, it hasn’t happened yet.
The lovely Mae West rounds out our third installment and paves the way for the top twenty-five. Trust me; you don’t want to miss this. Maybe you do, but don’t tell me. I’m happy in thinking everyone cares about what I have to say.
“That’s part of your problem, you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” ~Grand Canyon (1991)
You came back! Wow! I’m impressed. In the words of one of the most memorable (and annoying) Oscar speeches of all time: “You like me! You really, really like me! (Sally Field, 1985)”
See? Annoying, wasn’t it?
If you are expecting a recap of #100-#75 then you will be greatly disappointed. This is not television. I have not deleted Part I. It is there in all its glory for your reading pleasure.
Without further ado (or additional random procrastination) here are the next twenty-five memorable quotes from the “AFI 100 Greatest Movie Quotes” list. I can tell you are just jittery with anticipation!
#75 – “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” ~Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
We should all be able to say such a thing. Obviously, strangers are not what they used to be. The times, the times … they are a changin’. Strike that – they HAVE changed.
#74 – “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” ~Walsh, Chinatown (1974)
What difference does that make? This is one of those borderline (okay – blatant) racist lines that instantly raise my hackles. There is a similar line in the movie ‘Sahara’ (2005): “Don’t worry. It’s Africa. Nobody cares about Africa.” What? That crap pisses me off.
#73 – “Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?” ~Cesare Enrico ‘Rico’ Bandello, Little Caesar (1930)
Huh? There is another one for the Neflix queue … and why is he referring to himself in the third person?
Random Note: For my readers who do not live in the United States … Netflix is a movie rental system in which you form a queue of movies you would like to see online and they are shipped to you from various shipping centers across the country. You get to watch your movies and return them at your leisure in the prepaid envelope. There is a flat monthly fee for the number of movies you can have “checked out” at a single time and absolutely no late return fees. It is the greatest movie rental system ever invented. I jumped on the bandwagon in the early years … even before they could afford advertising. I should have bought stock options. Stupid me.
#72 – “No wire hangers, ever!” ~Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest (1981)
Fine, bitch! Alternate title: ‘How not to raise your children.’ I should watch this film any time I come even close to doubting my mothering skills. Although, I do so dislike wire hangers myself.
#71 – “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” ~Jakie Rabinowitz/Jack Robin, The Jazz Singer (1927)
You’re right, we haven’t … but we will – 53 years later when Neil Diamond will do it better.
#70 – “Is it safe?” ~Dr. Christian Szell, Marathon Man (1976)
Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. Conceivably. Perchance.
#69 – “They’re here!” ~Carol Anne Freeling, Poltergeist (1982)
Sooooo disturbing … not the line, but the girl and the way in which she delivered the line (may she rest in peace).
#68 – “Here’s Johnny!” ~Jack Torrance, The Shining (1980)
Ugh – two creepy quotes right in a row. Is it strange they both contain the word “here?” I don’t know. Seriously though – total psychosis is evident in Jack Nicholson in this film. He played this role a little TOO well.
#67 – “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” ~Rick Blaine, Casablanca (1942)
C’mon Rick! Didn’t they have Murphy’s Law back in ’42? Of course she was destined to walk into your place. I have this theory. When two people have loved each other as deeply as humanly possible there is an invisible rubber band (of sorts) that attaches itself to each participant of said love affair so that, in the event they are separated by circumstances, someday (as they move farther and farther apart) they will stretch the band to maximum capacity and it will snap them back (watch out for whiplash) into each others lives for some unidentifiable purpose. This is what happened between Rick and Ilsa and it made for one hell of a movie.
#66 – “Get your stinking paw off me, you damned dirty ape!” ~George Taylor, Planet of the Apes (1968)
Oh yeah! Because, you know, all apes have … PAWS!!! Sheesh!
#65 – “Elementary, my dear Watson.” ~Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Well earned quote. Everyone knows it. Still, I have always wondered if Watson grew weary of having his intelligence belittled and likened to that of a grade school child.
#64 – “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” ~President Merkin Muffley, Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The premise of the movie itself is absolutely ludicrous, but if you can’t make fun of current world issues then what else is there? Oh, and the full title of the film is, ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.’ Of course, because world annihilation is funny – right? In the hands of this cast and crew … yes, yes it is.
#63 – “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” ~Benjamin Braddock, The Graduate (1967)
His powers of observation are amazing aren’t they? Note to self: If I decide to attempt seducing the young business partner of my husband (the husband that I don't have) here in a few years … make sure he is painfully good-looking and in no way resemble Dustin Hoffman. At least I won't have a teenage daughter for this mythical individual to fall for.
#62 – “What a dump.” ~Rosa Moline, Beyond the Forest (1949)
Am I allowed to use the quote to sum up the movie? Please, can I? “What a dump!” Indeed.
#61 – “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend.” ~Tony Montana, Scarface (1893)
Have you seen the animated film ‘Shark Tale’ (2004)? There is an absolutely hilarious play on this line involving some serious role reversals. Simply put … it is brilliant.
#60 – “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” ~Oliver, Sons of the Desert (1933)
Yeah, now get me out!! Don’t you know that the ‘Sons of the Desert’ convention is an amazing, can’t miss event that warrants lying to your wives in order to attend without detection? You must find a way to go! What are you waiting for? Go! Go! Go!
#59 – “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” ~Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Win (1939)
Are you sure about that? I’m not. Let’s see – you just had breakfast. I’m thinking you are going to be hungry again in about four hours. No? I bet you will. (I can feel the angry comments coming now. How much angrier will they get when I reveal that, like the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ I can not stand this film? I’m good with the book … not the movie.)
#58 – “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” ~Michael Corleone, The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Here we find a quintessentially great movie quote. Why? Everyone knows this line, but most people do not realize that it comes from a film. It has become part of our every day vernacular. It is accepted as having always been … and it is extremely good advice.
#57 – “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” ~Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987)
Say it with me now: “Greed is good. Greed is good. Greed is good. Greed is good.” No. No, I am not feeling it. The term “deadly sin” keeps popping into my mind.
#56 – “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” ~Norman Bates, Psycho (1960)
Can you say “Oedipus?” Ewwwwww.
#55 – “La-dee-da, la-dee-da.” ~Annie Hall, Annie Hall (1977)
Does that really count as a quote? Really? I guess it does considering it, too, has made its way into every day language. Here is the definition from urban dictionary: ‘an expression of contempt, disinterest, or boredom, often used in the phrase, “Well la dee da” as a sarcastic “now isn’t that amazing” or “good for you.”’
#54 – “There’s no crying in baseball!” ~Jimmy Dugan, A League of Their Own (1992)
Ah yes … one of those moments where an entirely brilliant quote comes bursting forth from an entirely mediocre movie. Without Tom Hanks (lest we forget the urinating scene), this film would have sunk like a ton of bricks.
#53 – “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” ~Capt. Jeffrey T. Spaulding, Animal Crackers (1930)
I do not know either Groucho, but did you check the butter for elephant footprints? Maybe he got into your pajamas the same way he managed to get into the refrigerator.
#52 – “You had me at ‘hello.’” ~Dorothy Boyd, Jerry Maguire (1996)
‘Jerry Maguire’ is a chick flick disguised as a sports movie. It is. Still, this line is atrocious. My horror was complete when Bon Jovi wrote and titled a song by the same name (with one word altered). “You had me from hello” appeared on the album ‘Bounce’ in 2002. It is the worst single on the album.
#51 – “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?” ~Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry (1971)
This is the epitome of the guy movie … and I love it (Hello? Tomboy!). The quote itself? Fabulous. How many other movies have you heard it in? I’d wager it has surfaced in quite a few. Why not? I'm feeling lucky.
And there we are folks – we have reached the half-way point and, amazingly, you are still here. I must now get this segment posted in order to begin work on Part III.
"Whatever you say, whatever you do, movies always got there first. Even that line you just said comes from a movie." ~Dot the I (2003)