Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to Samuel Clemens

In honor of Mark Twain's birthday, which is today, here are a few of his quotes with editorials.

"All generalizations are false, including this one."
So, then...some generalizations are true? Which ones? Yesterday, Rich wrote about how women talk more than men, and studies have shown this to be true, if you believe in generalizations. I know a man who just won't shut up. You greet him in the morning with a simple hello, and somewhere around 2:30 in the afternoon, he finally stops with his continuous string of blabber. Oddly, much of what he says is mindless generalization. He's always nice enough to nudge your shoulder to wake you up because you have once again fallen asleep to the lullaby of his chatter.

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
I don't remember why, but during our Thanksgiving dinner, someone mentioned Lady Godiva--it may have been after someone mentioned how much they like Godiva chocolate. No one could quite come up with the story of Lady Godiva, so my niece and I hopped over to a computer to read up on Wikipedia. According to legend, her husband was over-taxing the people of Coventry. Despite her pleas for relief, he would not ease his strangle hold. He finally agreed to lessen the burden if she would agree to ride through the streets naked. She agreed, warning everyone ahead of time so they would hide indoors out of respect for her. One man, a tailor, peaked and was struck blind. Lady Godiva's husband was forced to ease the tax burden and relieve the people.

"I can live for two months on a good compliment."
Can't we all. If one single person tells me how nice my tone has gotten after I play my horn, I will practice with confidence for weeks, thinking the hours of scales and struggles with the metronome are actually producing positive results. And if one single person says they like a story or post I've written, I just smile and smile. Compliments are nice.

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."
I do not understand this need to look younger, and I especially do not understand this idea that a youthful face is a "flawless" face, a face with no lines or wrinkles. I always thought the lines and wrinkles one picks up over time are a sign of life experience and character. They are acquired and should be appreciated. A person in their 50s who has the skin of a child looks empty and false. And a person who has removed all traces of laugh lines looks as if they have never laughed, and who wants a life like that?

"No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon."
This speaks for itself. I think the reason churches have stained glass windows is so you can't be distracted by what's going on outside when the words start to all run together.


dive said...

Hee hee. That last one really got me chuckling, Robyn, remembering all the hours spent exploring the stained glass in St.Michael's church when I was young.
A very happy birthday indeed to the greatest American storyteller, the dark, complex and wonderful Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Sassy Sundry said...

I love the one about Lady Godiva.

Garrison Keillor read some of Huck Finn this morning during the Writer's Almanac.

Anonymous said...

I never get tired of reading Twain's memorable quotes. Did you know that many of Mark Twain's books are available online free like
The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is available online here