Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Commonplace Book

I hadn't looked at it for a long time --my commonplace book. It's a note book in which to record quotes and comments I find noteworthy. I started this one back in 1975.

It reminds me of what I was reading in those days, and what struck me as insightful.

If you have the stomach for it, I'll select some:

"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity." (George Bernard Shaw)

"Many a man wishes he were strong enough to tear a telephone book in half, especially if he has a teenaged daughter." (Guy Lombardo)

"In your marriage it only makes sense for both of you to paddle in the same direction. Otherwise you'll only go in circles." (Marabel Morgan, The Total Woman)

"I was in love with a beautiful blonde once --she drove me to drink-- 'tis the one thing I'm indebted to her for." (W. C. Fields)

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." (Mark Twain)

"Sometimes the only thing it takes to get an elephant out of your way is to drop a peanut." (Unknown)

"America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature." (G. K. Chesterton)

"She's been knitting with only one needle for years." (Unknown)

"Omnia videre, multa dissimulare, et pauca corrigere." (St Bernard) I think Pope John used to say that too: "See everything, turn a blind eye to much, correct a little."

I still keep a commonplace book, especially to help my poor memory when I want to add some flavor to a homily or what I'm writing.

When some unfortunate soul comes to clear out my belongings because I've gone either to nursing home or cemetery, he'll come upon this commonplace book and wonder, "What's this?"

He probably won't guess that it's a chronicle of the insights I picked up along life's journey, but if he does figure it out I hope he'll notice where the wisdom came from --from many people of various backgrounds, but all of whom gave a second thought to the meaning and humor of life.

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