Monday 9 March 2015
LORD POLONIUS: What do you read, my lord?
HAMLET: Words, words, words.
(Act II, Scene II, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince Of Denmark, William Shakespeare)
Most people who know me know that I love a good quotation. Yes, quotation . . . I’m from the old school of English Literature where one refers to a passage from a text as a quotation rather than a quote. As I’m sure an old English teacher told us once, ‘A quotation is a small piece from a text. A quote is something you get from a tradesman’ or something to that effect. Now, to be fair, I don’t love every quotation that I read. In fact, there are many that I despise, loathe, can’t stand, find grossly irritating, think are overused or misinterpreted, think are just plain, unmitigated sh!t.
I really can’t stand the constant ‘inspirational quotes’ from Paulo Coelho and Zig Ziglar. Who the f*#k comes up with these guys’ names? I know, I know – their parents. But Zig Ziglar, really? Sounds like a 70s porn star! Anyway, the reason why I can’t stand the quotations that come from these guys is because the ecards and memes with their quotations are shared around the Internet by so many f*#king people. One person sees it, shares it, and someone they’re friends with sees it and shares it, and it goes around and around for freakin’ eons. And given that our online profiles and accounts are so incestuous in terms of the number of mutual friends that we all have, at some point, sooner or later, we’ll see that bloody ‘inspirational quote’ multiple bloody times within a day. If you like the quotation that much, save it or memorise it but please, for the love of God, stop sharing it over and over again.
It’s not just quotations by those two guys that get my goat. There are loads of them that get shared, and the thing is, often they’re misattributed to people. Like those ones that Will Smith has allegedly said. Holy sh!t, he is some kind of freakin’ Zen master if he’s really said everything that is attributed to him online. In reality, I think it’s pretty safe to say that only some of those words belong to him. The majority, however, I’m sure have originally been spouted by other more Zen-like folks, and he’s just happened to latch on to how impressive those words might seem.
I’ve covered some of the quotations that I really like in a post called The Great Mrs. Parker, but that only covered quotations that have been attributed to Dorothy Parker. Of course, there are many others that I resonate with me but I don’t want to go through too many of them. I thought I’d pick out the best few and inflict them on you.
Attributed to A. A. Milne, creator and writer of Winnie the Pooh, are the following quotations:
- How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
- I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.
- . . . promise you won’t forget me, ever? . . . Not even when I’m a hundred?
- Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
- If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus a day so I never have to live without you.
Mark Illsley, writer and director of the movie Happy, Texas. This quotation is where I got the idea for the name of my blog:
- When you’re in your 20s you believe ‘someday’ is going to happen. But when you get into your 30s you realise that ‘someday’ and ‘never’ are the exact same things spelled differently.
From Doctor Who . . . yes, of course there had to be some from the show:
- You, me, handcuffs. Must it always end this way? (River Song)
- Hello, sweetie. (River Song)
- Spoilers! (River Song)
- You can trust me if you like, but where’s the fun in that? (River Song)
- People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective point of view, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. (The Doctor)
- Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good luck. (The Doctor)
From William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act III, Scene I:
- To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
and by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
no more; and by a sleep to say we end
the heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
that flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause. There’s the respect
that makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
the pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
the insolence of office, and the spurns
that patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
when he himself might his quietus make
with a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,
to grunt and sweat under a weary life,
but that the dread of something after death-
the undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
no traveller returns- puzzles the will,
and makes us rather bear those ills we have
than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
and thus the native hue of resolution
is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
and enterprises of great pith and moment
with this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action
From And Death Shall Have No Dominion by Dylan Thomas (yes, it’s the text of my new tattoo):
- Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
I’m pretty sure that I could come up with hundreds more if I put my mind to it, but I’ll leave it at that. Much better than those Paulo Coelho and Zig Ziglar quotations going around. And don’t get me started on those executive life coaches, internationally-recognized-spiritual-growth-and-human-potential-strategist-visionary-intuitive-natural healer-philosopher-author-and-people-magnet types. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m all for intuitives, philosophers, authors, and some spiritualists. Y’know, the ones that aren’t spewing bullsh!t and ripping people off of their hard earned cash. I’ve been to three different clairvoyants, one of them on three different occasions. I’m only opposed to the shonky ones and their sh!thouse quotations. 😉