Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You Won't Find These In Bartlett's (Well, Maybe One Or Two)

As you know by now, Google is always writing, always calling, always letting me know what's going on with my life.

So I wasn't surprised when the other day, Google emailed me the following cryptic message: We live behind the sorrow moon, we live in to the final day

I still have no idea what it means, and none of my further Googling has given me much information, but I like the way it sounds, especially the behind the sorrow moon part, which has a lovely melancholic ring to it.

But it got me thinking about those various catchphrases I use that don't necessarily have any meaning to anyone else. A few of them I've mentioned here over the eons I've been keeping this blog. But I figured I'd compile a dozen of them. Feel free to steal any that might come in handy in your life.

Ooh, I'll try to make them alphabetical. Now that should be a challenge!

Before the flowers of friendship faded friendship faded. That's Gertrude Stein, so it might be in Bartlett's.

Did he ever write Church, State And Freedom? Church, State and Freedom was the first book my father wrote, and a classic in its field. Whenever my father heard about someone else's accomplishments (say, Roger Maris's 61 homeruns), he'd respond by saying, "Well, did he ever write Church, State And Freedom?" Once, when I was listening to a friend extol the virtues of an acquaitance of hers, who was hardworking, brilliant, and chopped her own firewood, I thought, "Well, did she ever write About David?" But it works better with Church, State And Freedom.

Don't wait for Harry. Give me the axe. That comes from a Lizzie Borden biography. She was with a bunch of friends, who were always very careful about what they said to her, and one of them mentioned what a shame it was the view was spoiled by an ugly shed and someone else said, "Well, when Harry comes we'll ask him to chop it down," and there was an awkward silence, followed by Lizzie Borden's response. I went through a Lizzie Borden stage, but this is the one absolute best anecdote and a highly useful phrase.

If you can't trust your banker, who can you trust? From an episode of Maverick. People who know Maverick know that phrase. At least I've met someone who did once.

I hate her rotten f......g guts. In real life, I curse a lot, and when I use this phrase, I fill in the missing letters. This was said by the husband of a friend of mine, when the friend asked if he'd be interested in going to an Anne Murray concert. I think it stuck in my mind because I couldn't imagine anyone caring that deeply about Anne Murray. I probably don't say this particular phrase out loud very often, but then again, I don't say, "Did he ever write Church, State And Freedom" out loud that often either.

If you're going to America, go to America. The story goes that Grandfather Rabbi Pfeffer was making his way from Hungary to America, when he got offered a great job in Germany. He wrote his wife (at home with the five little Pfeffers, of whom my father was the littlest)to ask if he should accept the job, and Grandmother Mrs. Rabbi Pfeffer responded, "If you're going to America, go to America," so he did, and a good thing indeed that he did. It's a very useful phrase for keeping on target.

Life is for the living. My father's mantra, borrowed from Thomas Jefferson. Also a contender for Bartlett's.

Life With Its Sorrow, Life With Its Tear. I say this all the time, and I finally decided to find out where it came from. It's the name of a novel I never read. I figure I must have read a review of it somewhere and the title stuck in my mind.

Never apologize, never explain.This has something to do with Henry Ford, but I'm not sure what, since I've never read a biography of Henry Ford, a thoroughly unpleasant person from what little I know about him. The Ty Cobb of industrial magnates. As one prone to apologizing and explaining, it's good to remind myself that I shouldn't.

People Meet And Sweet Music Fills The Air. The title of a movie I've never seen, Swedish maybe, and maybe about sex.

There's More To Life Than The Hully Gully. I've definitely quoted this one in my blog. It's from a True Confessions story (although not necessary from the actual True Confessions Magazine; there were a lot of different confessions magazines and I read them all)about a girl whose dream was to be a go-go dancer, only her boyfriend thought she was misguided. Unlike Life With Its Sorrow, Life With Its Tear , I actually read this story. All the way through. Possibly more than once.

You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time and those are pretty good odds. Also from Maverick, and quite possibly from the same episode as the line about trusting your banker. On the occasions when I've written fiction about subjects I'm unfamiliar with, I let these words of wisdom from Bret Maverick's old pappy reassure me.

While there are no doubt many other phrases I use at just the right moment (I watched a lot more TV than just Maverick), a dozen is enough for now. But if anyone wants to offer one or more of their own, feel free to share in the Comments. Just be careful with the four letter words!


Anonymous said...

OMG! The quote "Life is for the Living" was in Charlie St. Cloud (a far better book then movie, but the movie was very good). I love quotes! A few of my favorite are (They are quite romantic):
"We were given two eyes to see; two hands to touch; two legs to walk; two ears to listen, but why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else for us to find"~anom I live off of
"All love that has not friendship for its base,
is like a mansion built upon the sand." ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Anonymous said...

Oh, Grace those are so sweet! Here is an every so true one "Sometimes it's not how big the steps are, simply just the direction in which the steps are going."

~~Sunshine :-)

Anonymous said...

I've always been a bit morbid, but I actually wrote this on a wall (We were repainting, so some friends and I graffitied her house). "Some times, when life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade, or the juice can squirt back in your face, cause you to go blind, trip infront of a bus and survive to get the hospital from hell most nights stayed award."

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Grace and Sunshine and Anonymous-

I like all your quotations, and thank you for them.

I forgot to include one of the ones I use the most. "Do we care? To rhyme with where." I'm pretty sure it's from The House On Pooh Corner- it's definitely a Winnie The Pooh poem (I used to memorize them, but that's the phrase I use the most often).