Daily Archives: April 23, 2019

Twain (April A ~ Z Challenge)


My daughter, Kate, and I share a love of Mark Twain. I appreciate his somewhat cynical view of the world, and his ability to speak about it with understated sarcasm, wit, and a good heart. Some wonderful examples:

  • “In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of twenty-four hours!”
  • “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”
  • “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
  • “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
  • “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”
  • “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
  • “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
  • “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
  • “A man’s character may be learned by the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
  • “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”
  • “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.”
  • “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
  • “Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”
  • “Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”
  • “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
  • “The rain is famous for falling on the just and unjust alike, but if I had the management of such affairs I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust out doors I would drown him.”
  • “To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was tautology.”
  • “Happiness ain’t a thing in itself–it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant.”
  • This, from a letter to an unidentified subject: “My sympathies are also with you in your desire & purpose to preserve your native language in your American homes, & keep it alive in the family along with our American tongue. My sympathies could not fail there, for this movement of yours, so publicly & trustingly expressed, is a high compliment to our free institutions. There are countries where it is a punishable crime for the alien subject to use the speech that was born to him, but in America we do not care what a man talks; for we know that the sentiment back of the words will be American, every time — & deep & strong, too.”
  • And this one, from a letter written to the gas company, is one of my all-time favorites: “Some day you will move me almost to the verge of irritation by your chuckle-headed goddamned fashion of shutting your goddamned gas off without giving any notice to your goddamned parishioners.”