Pretty Blatant Plagirism
Nonfiction. Just a collection of cool quotes. Fun.
This email is in your inbox because, in a roundabout way, when you really get down to it, I couldn't find a mousepad in 2017. Without a proper pad to backlight the mouse’s sensor, my cursor would do that thing were it suddenly stops tracking, then refuses to move unless you do big, slow, sweeping motions, then gets stuck on the edge of the screen, then doesn’t move for like the first ten rapid shakes but on the eleventh moves way too much, and it pings around the screen for a bit, and it won’t obey you for going on like twenty full seconds, and then an hour later it’ll repeat the whole process, and you come to hate your mouse in a way that is both confusing and confrontingly existential because, like, why aren’t you in control here?
To put an end to these hourly crises, I just whacked my mouse onto a crisp, leather bound notebook I had lying around. I had a lot of crisp, leather bound notebooks lying around in 2017. My top five weaknesses are probably skiing, sun baking, a propensity to buy crisp, leather bound notebooks I have no real need for, and counting.
But the point I’m trying to make is that I was using a notebook for a mousepad in circa 2017.
Around then I came across a funny line in a book I was reading, but no one seemed to find it very funny when I read it out to them. Even when I put it in context by explaining the entire plot in great detail? So I decided to write the line down for the only person who I could count on to find my reading to be interesting and worthy of praise: Myself. I used the mousepad notebook for this, since it was empty and nearby.
Since then I’ve filled it with my favourite quotes, sometimes big and funny, sometimes innocuous and charming, from a great array of books/TV shows/movies/bus ads/general life. I was reading back through it the other day and found a lot of them kinda made sense to our post-2020 existence. In a time as unprecedented and horrific and totally wacko as this, it’s probably a good idea to leave the social commentary to other people. So that’s what we’re doing today.
I appreciate this is a bit lazy. I’m busy. Kind of.
If you have a mousepad quote notebook, or a less pretentious way of keeping track of great lines, then I’d really love to hear them. Maybe this could be an expanding and recurring segment at All My Eggs? I always find it interesting to hear what kinds of writing other people find interesting—be it a turn of phrase, a great bit of dialogue, or just a really good sentence. Just reply to this email with any resonant lines you can think of.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I’ve been working on a new season of the These Stories Are Not Real podcast, which will be out very soon. Regular stories will resume soon.
For when our Lockdown Brains make us sad or violent and then we have an epiphany about social unity:
‘I think the heat must have made him irritable. In his normal state he would not strike a lamb. I’ve known him to do it.’
‘Not strike lambs.’
Dimly, for he was not accustomed to thinking along these lines, he perceived a numbing truth that human beings are merely as many pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, and that our every movement affects the fortunes of some other piece. Just so, as faintly at first and taking shape by degrees, must the germ of civic spirit have come to prehistoric man. We are all individualists until we wake up.
- PG Wodehouse, ‘Piccadilly Jim’
For what it feels like to discover a new interesting street on your lunchtime walk (substitute maze for LGA):
A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.
- Margaret Atwood, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
For when a coworker asks in the traditional zoom call peter-out about your opinions on very unexceptional weather phenomena:
People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.
- Kurt Vonnegut, ‘Cat’s Cradle’
For when it flicks over to daylight savings and Freedom Day is approaching and sunsets become magnificent in the Spring:
Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth.
- Mary Shelley, ‘Frankenstein’
For exercising in lockdown and reaching out to people and being in love and etc:
Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible. And I mean that literally. I hurt my knee on the treadmill this week and it wasn’t even on. Don’t treat your heart like an action figure wrapped in plastic and never used. And don’t try to give me that nerd argument that your heart is a Batman with a limited-edition silver battering and therefore if it stays in its original package it increases in value.
- Amy Poehler, Harvard Day Commencement Speech
For when we have our first socially distance picnic with up to four double-vaxxed friends within 5km of home:
For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone with a swiss cheese plate, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging open and the savanna stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.
- Douglas Adams, ‘So Long and Thanks For All The Fish’
For introverts not looking forward to leaving their dank cocoons:
‘Mary, you know I hate parties. My idea of hell is a very large party in a cold room where everybody has to play hockey properly.’
- Stella Gibbons, ‘Cold Comfort Farm’
For generally best practice moving through the world post-lockdown:
‘The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong, I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realise that something’s always wrong with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t realise that everybody’s always going around all the time with something wrong and believing they’re exerting great willpower and control to keep other people, from whom they think nothing’s ever wrong, from seeing it. This is the way of people.’
- David Foster Wallace, ‘The Pale King’
For how it feels to be double-dose vaccinated (i.e. delusions of grandeur):
‘One might also say that I am the sum total of all frogs. Nonetheless, this does nothing to change the fact that I am a frog. Anyone claiming that I am not a frog would be a dirty liar. I would smash such a person to bits.’
Katagiri nodded. Hoping to calm himself, he picked up his cup and swallowed a mouthful of tea. ‘You said before that you have come here to save Tokyo from destruction?’
‘Exactly,’ Frog said, nodding. ‘That is exactly what I propose to do. You and I will go underground beneath the Shinjuku branch of the Tokyo Security Trust Bank to do mortal combat with Worm.’
- Haruki Murakami, ‘Super-Frog Saves Tokyo’
Thanks for reading, there are other more normal stories over at the website archive. Hit the heart icon at the top! Send me your quotes! Viva la Freedom Day!