Humorous Quotes from
How to Tango
By George Mikes
- As long as the Monroe doctrine could safely be
interpreted by the United States as meaning, 'We won't tolerate any
interference with our interference,' all was well.
- You are my darling little fiancée and you will
remain my fiancée forever.
- A devotion to meticulous detail, coupled with a princely
contempt for it, has always been one of the basic tenets of my own personal
- The police do not approve of a murder. It would be
utterly unfair to say they encourage it. In fact, they frown upon it. But
murder is not regarded as one of the major crimes in Rio.
- 'Mortality' in modern Christendom, and especially in
Britain, always means sexual morality; no one seems to be interested in
- The original meaning of the traditional embrace -
the abraco - is a keen desire to find out if the warmly-greeted acquaintance
has a gun concealed about his person. Consequently, the more suspicious a
character is, the warmer the embrace; if you really trust him, a nod will
- Corruption has a certain tradition, they say, and it
is wrong not to honour one's traditions.
- During the last insurrection - a minor civil war,
years ago - all firing always stopped between two and three p.m.: it was
time for cafesinho. Soldiers were prepared to sacrifice their lives, but not
their black coffee.
- If you ask anyone whether it is convenient for him
to see you at five p.m. in his office, he will say, without a moment's
hesitation, 'Most certainly, delighted, please do come along,' quite
irrespective of whether he will be in his office or, say, in Chicago at the
- Ask someone to do you a favour. If he has decent
manners, he will promise to, and then not to do it.
- The joy of Hatred is the great joy of the joyless.
It helps, by shifting the blame, to compensate for one's failure in the
world and to convince the Hater that he belongs to the elite. Any Hater
ultimately hates himself; and in this he is quite right. He is hateful
- It (Traffic in Brazil) is rather like a fox-hunt or
a tiger-hunt, only much fairer. There are no beaters to chase pedestrians
under one particular car: he can get under any car he likes.
- The Brazilians are born gamblers and this particular
game is not only full of thrills; it is also very cheap. No expensive
lottery tickets are needed; no large sums are staked. You stake your life,
that's all: surely that is cheap enough.
- In this world of ants and grasshoppers, we all know
that we would perish without the ants; but it is the life of the grasshopper
- Rio is not a sexy town: it is a copulating town.
- Love-making is a Good Thing and Guilt is a Bad
Thing: the two belong to different compartments of life and have nothing to
do with each other.
- Going to bed with women is almost a national hobby
with Brazilians; it is rather like cricket in England.
- According to Victorian novels these girls ought to
be desperately unhappy; but they do not read Victorian novels and they are
- They always find enough people to look down upon -
and this is an essential factor in human happiness.
- Uruguay is the only country of the world where
smugglers were able to stage a strike for better conditions.
- A few families in Peru own estates larger than
Belgium. Some other landowners have to put up with estates only half, or
even less than half, the size of Belgium.
- They (The Incas) built magnificent roads, which is
more than can be said of the British Empire of the twentieth century.
- Human nature being what it is, a friendly kick is
always preferred to cool and humane fairness.
- Whatever their weaknesses, the Colombians certainly
are accomplished masters of one South American industry: revolutions.
- This is an amazing trait in the psychology of all
dictators - they always delude themselves into believing that they are loved
and admired and that their rule is based on popular support as well as on
- There was a time when revolutions were so frequent
in Peru that special cells were reserved for deposed presidents.
- In some circles, getting an injection is rather like
having a Cadillac in North America. Poor people, if they have any self
respect, save up to have an injection - it does not matter what kind.
And when they can, at last, afford one, they are certain to have it at the
open window, at rush hour.
- A number of shirt-sleeved officials sit at shining,
brand-new typewriters, typing out visitors' identity slips, and asking
dozens of silly and pointless questions with the pompous pseudo-superiority
of the American petty official.
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