by Mike Crawmer
I collect quotes. Most end up in a ever-expanding computer file. But some go public. One quote serves as my screen saver on my home computer. Others decorate my cube walls at work. Some quotes make me laugh. Most make me think, which I appreciate, especially on those days when I’m depressed with the state of the union or the latest drop in my battered retirement account.
My quote collection doesn’t include ads or commercials. While quotable, these snappy lines were created by professionals paid big bucks to think creatively. The quotes that strike my fancy were not created to sell a product. Rather, they capture an idea or mood or some truism. They may be inspirational but they’re not preachy. Pithy helps, but that’s not a prerequisite.
I use the word “inspirational” with caution. The powers-to-be at work decided long ago that the employees would benefit from a daily dose of “inspirational” quotes, displayed on wall-mounted monitors located on every floor. (A bit 1984-ish, but I suspect very few people, if any, even notice them anymore.) These quotes tend to be inane or insulting. Here are two recent ones:
· “Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting someone else to do the work.” J.G. Pollard (Who? And why would our quote-meisters think this would inspire the staff, 98-plus percent of whom do the work the executive won’t--or can’t--do!)
· “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than the ability to decide.” Napoleon Bonaparte (long-dead, unsuccessful emperor)
I am a fickle collector. I keep them or toss them out as the mood strikes me. Here are a few that have withstood the test of time, what I call my “keepers”:
· “With or without religion, good people will do good, and evil people will do evil. But for good people to do evil, that takes religion.”—Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist
· “Yet it is often the trivial that hurts the most, inside the monastery and out.”—from The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton
· “Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out.”—Anton Chekhov, Russian playwright
· “Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”—Babe Ruth
· “When things are going well, reflect. When things are going poorly, be brave.”—Korean proverb
· “The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.”—Rachel Carson
· “Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”--Benjamin Disraeli, British prime minister and writer
One of these is my computer’s scrolling screen saver. Can you guess which one? The last quote I’d like to use in my next book. It fits the story and characters perfectly. So, what are your favorite quotes?