Humorous Quotes from
In one era and Out the other By Sam Levenson
(Comment by his brothers on violin lessons) Sammy has such a wonderful memory. He makes the same mistakes over and over again.
They (the brothers) compared me with Heifetz. “A Heifetz he ain’t!”
I went from one charity luncheon to another. These charitable people would gather to eat on behalf of the hungry of the world, so I joined in, being pretty hungry myself.
Insanity is hereditary; you can get it from your children.
I have always done that (laughed at my own jokes), not because I think they are funny but because Papa had told me, “Never depend on strangers."
I was invited to cocktail parties jammed with celebrities. I was the only one there I had never heard of.
He (Papa) often threw in, “And remember, if you want your dreams to come true, don’t sleep.”
The American way was to frugal your way up the ladder of success. You started by collecting rare coins – like pennies for instance.
Mama herself was an extravagant saver. She saved more than my father earned.
We had a permissive father. He permitted us to work.
Our failures and our success, Papa insisted, were our own fault. (That relieved Papa and God of a great responsibility.)
Often Papa would prod us with, “You know what Lincoln was doing at your age?” We knew what Lincoln was doing at Papa’s age, but we knew better than to bring it up.
As young American hopefuls, we tested the rags-to-riches formula by embarking on small capitalist enterprises. Since we had the requisite rags, we were already halfway there.
When I was given something new, let’s say a hat, I took it as one takes a wife – to cherish and protect, in sickness and in health, for poorer or richer, for better or worse, until death do us part.
If you don’t have a education, you have to use your head.
I had to share mine (sled) with my brothers. They had I for downhill and I for uphill.
Maximal use of raw materials is possible only in a home in which ownership is relative. (The more relatives the less ownership.)
No one ever had to tell us stories to interest us in food. (With our childhood appetites, if you had put sugar on a fly it would have tasted like huckleberry.)
“There is no such thing as bad food,” Mama used to say, “there are only spoiled children.”
When brother David first gazed on the immense dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural History his reaction was: “Boy! What a soup Mama could make out of that!”
I discovered that if I move the bathroom scale to a room where the floor slants a little, I can lose weight without struggling.
...That’s how Mama got fat – from shame. It was a shame to leave this and a shame to leave that.
If I had to do it all over again today, I couldn’t afford it.
I spent so many years of my life learning how to make ends meet. Now that I have the means, they have moved the ends farther apart.
“A penny for your thoughts” is now fifty dollars an hour with the
psychoanalyst, for the very same thoughts.
Favorite Long Quote/Extract Those confrontations were my first lessons in ideological warfare.
“I don’t like the looks of this codfish.”
“Lady” – when he called her “lady” he no longer thought she was – “for looks
you don’t buy codfish; you buy goldfish.”
“Mister, this chicken has a broken leg.”
“Look, lady, you gonna eat it or dance with it?”
“Yesterday in the dozen eggs you sold me was two stinkin’ eggs. Shall I
bring them back?”
“No, lady. Your word is as good as the eggs.”
“Listen, my friend the butcher, before you weigh the meat, take out the
“I buy with bones; you’ll buy with bones.”
“I don’t pay for no bones.”
“Alright. No bones.”
“Thank you. You're a gentleman. Now put the bones in a separate bag for
soup. Thank you. Now, never mind the meat. I don’t like your meat anyhow.”
On Sight-seeing Day we walked to Times Square, each of us loaded with fifty pennies. We waited in line with people so rich they had the whole fare in one coin.
Phillips was always the leader. He was the one to get lost first.
The American success formula is first to get a home of your own, then to get a car of your own so you don’t have to stay in that home of your own.
Perhaps much of the happiness had been in the pursuit. Or as my Uncle Benny always said, “It’s not the sugar that makes the tea sweet, but the stirring.”
He (the interior decorator) urged us to keep up with the times by scouting around for something new in antiques.
It is a good thing that when God created the rainbow He didn’t consult a decorator or he would still be picking colours.
My mudder says she wants change for a dollar. She says the dollar she’ll give you Monday.
The lemonade man pushed a cart on which there was an inverted ten-gallon glass jug containing fresh-drowned insects floating about in yellowish embalming fluid.
The grand opening of a supermarket is marked by the kind of pageantry that in other epochs marked the coronation of an emperor, the beautification of a saint, the lifting of a thirty-year siege, the birth of a male heir to the throne, or the winning of national independence.
The glut of goods breeds gluttony. Enough is heavenly; too much is hell, the hell of indecision.
To us bread was just bread. We just asked God to give us our daily bread. And God knew and we knew what we were talking about. Bread! Amen. Today’s woman must choose from among breads that are nonfattening, unfattening, or defattening; enriched, nonenriched, or re-enriched; thin-sliced, thick-sliced, round-sliced or unsliced; slow-baked, fast-baked, baked-while-you-sleep; with or without seeds; with or without raisins; with or without vitamin B added; Jewish, Italian, or French daily breads with or without Amen.
Daylight Saving Time, she (Mama) said, is like cutting off the end of a blanket and sewing it on to the other end to make it longer.
Our washing machine, no sooner had we bought it, developed a serious character defect. It steals socks. There was nothing I could do about it, since the guarantee does not cover moral imperfections.
A husband was supposed to make a living, and a wife was supposed to make a life of it. Only children talked of happiness; they still believed in fairy tales.
“Love, shmove!” Papa used to say. “I love blitzes; did I marry one?”
My father never took my mother out before they were married, and afterwards only if they were headed for the maternity hospital, which in Mama’s case was often enough to give her rosy cheeks.
At the end of the day Mama could count on Papa to come home with those three little words on his lips that made it all worth while: “What’s for supper?”
The secret of an enduring marriage was no secret. They quarreled. We saw nothing paradoxical about it. Married people exercised their marriages the way babies exercise their lungs, by yelling.
If a man didn’t have a wife, he would have to quarrel with total strangers, and for that they can take you away.
Must you quarrel with me on the street? What do we have a home for?
People are still marrying for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, but not for long.
There have been several attempts (all failures) to compile a Who’s Whose in America.
The stork story made no sense to me. I could not conceive of any stork dragging eight kids up six flights of tenement stairs. Besides, if a stork ever showed up at our house, Mama would have plucked him and cooked him.
A book can be listed in the library catalogue under Fiction, Clinical
Psychology, Psychopathology, Bedroom Furnishings, and Popular Mechanics, but no matter what the subject, every book now has a girl on the cover and no cover on the girl.
Modern camera technique makes imagination unnecessary. The zoom lens can give a loving couple a physical that would take six days at the Mayo Clinic.
Dream of a world of winners without losers. Nobody should win the human race.
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