I always thought that my reading was not well rounded because, like some of the more literary characters in the books I did read, I never could remember anything witty or apropos to throw into a conversation. I’ve never amassed a repertoire of pithy sayings from, say, the Odyssey or Finnegan’s Wake, even from Catcher in the Rye. Only recently has it occurred to me that the writers, fleshing out those literary savants they’d created, had time and references to make their characters widely or aptly read. The ones I admired for their bon mots were just characters, not real folks. And if there are, and there probably are, such folks floating around in the real world – and I’d guess they’d be closer to the academic world than I am – they are few and far between. Yes, most folks know a few lines or sayings from Shakespeare or the Bible, but most don’t know that they know them, if you know what I mean.
Most of the books I’ve read didn’t lend themselves to memorable catchy phrases, but now that we are into the second century of the cinema, there are plenty of times I can quote appropriately from the movies. Frankly my dear, one could go on and on with quotes from Gone with the Wind, Dirty Harry, The Godfather, Casablanca, Star Wars, Love Story, even Blazing Saddles – though that’s more of a sound bite than a quote.
And then there’s our family favorite: I’ll get you, my pretty,
and your little dog too!