It’s after midnight on a Sunday night. The dormitory has calmed, as has the screaming in the next room, which was presumably in response to a video game. Or murder. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
The air-conditioning window unit is composing an orchestration of humming, rattling and buzzing. There are brief snoring solos guest-starring roommate Michael, who has been out for the last couple hours.
Other than that, it’s peaceful. So I’m doing some personal reflecting.
Actually, I’m on Facebook.
Right now, 50 of my Facebook friends are online. I could have a live “chat” with any of them right now, if I wanted to. But that would require typing; an action that emits a small, obnoxious clicking.
The room is so still, it would seem irreverent to interrupt with clicking. Instead, I’m reading the quotes that I’ve posted on my Facebook profile page.
“Favorite quotations” is a feature within a user’s profile where a person posts a wide assortment of quotes they find worth sharing.
I enjoy reading other people’s favorite quotes. Often a hodgepodge of words from the mouths of celebrities, brief scripture pieces or funny dialogue between friends, the quotes offer a sort of insight into that person.
I get to see what they find meaningful, interesting, funny or just plain absurd.
I get to see their personality in the words of others.
But I’m doing some personal reflecting: I’m reading the quotes that I’ve collected on my own profile.
I’m interested in what the quotes I’ve collected say about me. Maybe, as a whole, they create a giant typographical picture of me. Or maybe, as a whole, they are just a conglomeration of disconnected citations. Here’s what I’ve pieced together so far.
First, and most obviously, I am a writer.
n “Being an English major prepares you for impersonating authority.” —Garrison Keillor
n “Our whole life is one big moment of plagiarism.” —Chris, English professor
n “Journalism isn’t the best writing. It’s the best writing you can do under pressure.” —Don (quoting), newspaper editor
Second, I apparently have a fascination with quotes driven by pure oblivion, as illustrated by my conversation with Evan at a restaurant….
Me: “Evan, do you really need two straws?” Evan: “I’m sharing with my mom. I think she has salmonella.”
A few other samplings of ignorant bliss:
n “How do they celebrate the fourth of July in Europe? Do they shoot fireworks, too?” —Sammy
n “The Big Dipper simulates the Big Dipper.” —Audrey
n “When was a nickel five cents?” —Kelsey
Like many others, I have a tendency to gravitate toward quotes by celebrities, especially funny ones.
n “I’m donating my shoulder to the wheel, my nose to the grindstone, my ear to the ground…. But I only have eyes for you.” —Hawkeye, “M*A*S*H”
n “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” —Frank Sinatra
n “Life is tough, but it’s even tougher when you’re stupid.” —John Wayne
n“I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” —Winston Churchill, to a woman who confronted him on his state of inebriation
My favorite quote by a fictional character is uttered by Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”: “Every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck.”
Truthfulness is key to a good quote.
Of course, there are always the quotes that were hilarious at the moment, but after time become only slightly humorous…. And only for the sake of randomness, I might add.
For example, this bit of a phone call between Kelsey and me….
Me: “Stop wheeing in my ear.”
Another good example of complete randomness was uttered by former English teacher, Bob, who said, “Michael… What the heck?”
To be fair, I think the humor there was mostly vocal fluctuation; something that does not translate well to printed word.
Of course, many of my collected quotes testify to my own sense of humor, which one reader described as “bizarre.”
n “Some friends are like Slinkies. Not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.” —Shelby (quoting)
n “Kids are a lot like mud pies; they’re a lot of fun to make, but afterward they’re just a mess.” —Dad (Thanks, Dad.)
n “Stop talking, even if you are talking to yourself!” —Gregg, former band instructor
And to top it all off, one quote even testifies to my own occasional moments of wit. Or lack thereof, as shown in this exchange between Maria and me at a Mennonite church youth event….
Maria: “Any denomination that starts with an M can’t dance.”
Me: “Like Mormons. You can only dance with so many partners at once.”
One could also deduce that since I included quotes by a crooner, radio variety show host and musical, plus the mention of classical music earlier, that I have a wide musical taste.
Then again, maybe I’m taking this too far. It could be that all of this contemplation is just a case of late-night sentiment.
It’s way past my bedtime, after all. The Window Unit Symphony is now featuring a solo by my bed; a light alto aria calling me to slumber.
Perhaps I should add that Richard Wagner’s opera “Götterdämmerung” inspired the phrase, “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”