I'm in a somewhat tetchy mood.
I had a reasonably disappointing climbing session yesterday, followed by a far from inspiring time watching England’s latest attempts at playing football. This morning, I have been entangled in a battle with my debit card reader, which refuses to allow me to send Husband some money for our house deposit no matter how much I threaten it with a trip to silicon hell. After a frustrating “conversation” with Cora, Natwest’s online assistant, I’ve concluded that the batteries need replacing. Obviously these are the stupid coin shaped batteries that you don’t have idly lying around the house, so a shopping trip is required to purchase replacement fancy batteries and eventually get the card reader to allow me to do what I want to do with my own darn money.
Minor problems in the grand scheme of things but they’ve left me feeling tetchy.
In a bid to lighten my mood I’ve trawled through my computer and human memory banks for little bits of wordsmanship that have brought me joy for various reasons. Here’s a few examples that will hopefully cheer me up and bring you some amusement too.
“Well, the thing about a black hole - its main distinguishing feature - is it's black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black. So how are you supposed to see them?” - Holly (Red Dwarf, series 3, episode 2, Marooned)
Red Dwarf is one of the series that I inevitably end up re-watching every few years or so, when I realise there’s a 1990s shaped whole in my heart that needs filling. This quote is a particular favourite of mine as Husband chose to put it on the first page of his PhD thesis, which is all about black holes.
After that neat little summary, I don’t understand why he bothered writing the rest of it.
“You either die young or you live long enough to become embarrassing” (https://buttondown.email/deadchannel/archive/the-only-haven-you-can-trust/)
I personally disagree with this quote as I’m fairly confident I’ve been embarrassing my entire life.
However, I enjoy the playful manipulation of a superhero movie quote as much as the next person, so it makes the list of amusing quotes to cheer me up. It comes from an article about the Goth Club of Eternity by Jess Zimmerman, who runs a newsletter called the Dead Channel. I’d recommend subscribing to this for excellently crafted words of wisdom on all things pop culture delivered straight to your inbox.
The article in question describes how all goth clubs are basically identical and the people in them are varieties on the same black leather and lace theme. Although Jess stresses that this isn’t a bad thing. It’s reassuring. It’s comforting. It’s safe.
I'm sure people assumed I had some burning desire to be different when I was teenage goth but, as Jess succinctly expresses, that was far from the reality.
“We already feel different. We are trying to be the same.”
Uniformity or consistency is reassuring to us as social beings. It’s why we’re suspicious of outsiders and don’t trust people who do things differently to us. When I exclusively wore black clothing and buckled a dog collar around my neck it wasn’t part of some desperate need to be different. I did it because I liked it and I enjoyed sharing this enjoyment with others who had the same taste.
This article brought back some lovely memories of smoky rooms, dodgy metal bands, and sticky pub furnishings from my teenage years. I’d highly recommend Jess’s work to goths and non-goths alike.
“Is it paranoia if your husband is hiding around the corner with a hammer?” - Husband (Monday 8th March 2021)
As mentioned in a previous post about building a successful romantic relationship, I like to keep Husband on his toes by randomly jumping out from behind doors or around corners in a bid to scare the crap out of him. He recently failed spectacularly to pull the same trick on me.
I often move around our home with a certain amount of trepidation in case Husband is in the mood for hijinks. I was therefore unphased when he jumped out from behind our bathroom door with a hammer in his hand sometime last week. It all sounds very true crime podcast but, honestly, this is all done in jest and with no actual murdering involved.
Husband was extremely frustrated that his efforts had yielded nothing more than a polite greeting and asked if I always exited the bathroom so cautiously. The quote above followed my assertion that I’m just a very paranoid person. Let this be a lesson to anyone planning to mug me. I’ve got experience in these matters and enough true crime trivia lodged in my internal encyclopedia to do better than expected in a life-or-death situation. At least I hope so otherwise what have I been preparing for all these years?
“What drives me crazy is that I’ve never heard of anyone recovering a memory of doing the chores in a satanic cult” - Sarah Marshall on You’re Wrong About (Michelle Remembers, Week 2)
If you are not currently subscribed to the You’re Wrong About podcast, stop reading this nonsense and head to your listening device to subscribe now!
Every episode, Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes take a scandal, maligned figure, or moral panic and explain why everything you think you know about it or them is wrong. Aside from the obsessively detailed deconstruction of complicated events that dwells at the heart of this excellent podcast, the hosts’ ability to point out the fabulously mundane flaws in conspiracy theories and unlikely tales is what I love most about the show.
In the episode I’ve pulled this quote from, Sarah begins taking us through the book Michelle Remembers. This book tells the supposedly true story of a woman accessing repressed memories of being involved in satanic rituals as a child, with the help of her extremely unethical therapist, Dr Lawrence Pazder. The four episodes that cover this book are a fascinating discussion of the Satanic Panic, relationships between therapists and clients, and psychological trends such as repressed memories.
They also ask some very simple questions about the logistics of performing elaborate satanic rituals. Who bought all the matching robes and black kittens? Did the cult members have table reads and dress rehearsals for their rituals? Who was the chief cult cleaner who had to forensically mop up the post ritual/orgy mess, leaving absolutely no evidence that anything ever happened there? As Sarah points out in the quote above, people never remember being the chief janitor in a Satanic cult.
“. . . a very cheery and attractive housewife came to me for a lesson complaining that she was about to give up the game of tennis. She was really very discouraged because, as she said, ‘I’m really not well coordinated at all. I want to get good enough that my husband will ask me to play mixed doubles with him without making it sound like a family obligation.’” - The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
My initial notes on this quote were simply:
“Your husband sounds like a bit of a dick, dated description of a woman, most middle/upper-class exchange ever!”
I read this book because I thought it might help with my mental game for climbing. It certainly had a lot of interesting ideas about finding your flow and allowing your body to take charge rather than overthinking the details of your performance and letting your brain get overly bossy at crucial moments. Having originally been published in the 1970s, some of the language (like the quote above) is obviously somewhat dated.
This quote conjures up a very stereotypical image in my mind. I picture a wealthy woman, who looks like one of the Kardashians and is married to a rich and older yet lithe and athletic chap. The husband initially thought it would be great having a younger wife to take on his mates at the country club but has grown frustrated with her gold-digging ways and disappointing tennis skills. Hurt by his lack of affection, our tragic heroine vows never to pick up a tennis racket again except to bludgeon her heartless husband to death.
Oops. That’s the true crime content warping my mind again. They probably just got divorced or the wife discovered the key to her inner game of tennis and they lived happily and wealthily ever after.
“A man who limits his interests limits his life.” Vincent Price
This quote also came into my world via a newsletter written by an astute and amusing woman. This woman’s name is Jen Myres and her newsletter is called Modern Adventuress. Each edition features a delightfully crafted note from Jen as well as recommendations for what to read/watch/listen to if you want to make better use of your doomscrolling time.
This quote stuck out to me because it neatly summarises my feelings about the snobbery certain people seem to exhibit about what is considered worthy interests or forms of entertainment.
I felt this snobbery quite acutely while working in theatre. A small clutch of theatrical professionals were extremely snobby about TV and film work, as if it were somehow less worthy than the long-established art of treading the boards. Maybe it was a way of making themselves feel better about having to be away from home all the time while working antisocial hours for poor wages.
Whatever the reason, if you limit your interests to what you (or some particularly opinionated members of your peer group) deem worthy rather than what you actually enjoy exploring and taking part in, you’re going to have a very boring life.
Eat at fancy restaurants if you’re so inclined but don’t be ashamed if your true foodie love is beans on toast slathered in grated Cheddar cheese. Maybe going to the opera three nights a week is your thing, but you can also savour binging episodes of The Only Way is Essex in your pajamas on the other four nights. Try it all and see what sticks!
I’d suggest you could even take this quote one step further:
“A man who limits his interest in other people’s interests limits his life” JoJo Lewis, just now, on the internet.
Finding a common interest can be a great way to spark an excellent conversation. I’d also argue that finding the other person’s most cherished interest, even if it’s different to your own, can be just as good a place to start. For example, I have no interest in taking up beekeeping. It sounds difficult, hazardous, and not especially cost effective on a small scale. But my in-laws think it’s the bee's knees (you come here for the predictable puns, right?). My mother-in-law especially enjoys telling me about the different hive designs and the complex social life of a beehive. She cares about it, so she talks about it with passion and makes it interesting.
If you put aside your own preferences and let the other person’s passion come out, you might be surprised at what you find fascinating.
“If I have to do a spreadsheet for a pint, I will do a spreadsheet for a pint” Ahir Shah on The Bunker (11th March 2021)
Said every English person desperate for a pint in a pub after many months of lockdown.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this carefully curated collection of quotations. Feel free to leave your own favourites in the comments below and share this post with your fellow wordy associates.