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 :: 1894-1961, American Humorist, Illustrator

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I'm 65 and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I'd only be 48. That's the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than twelve years between the ages of 28 and 40.
~ James Thurber - [Age and Aging]

 

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If a playwright tried to see eye to eye with everybody, he would get the worst case of strabismus since Hannibal lost an eye trying to count his nineteen elephants during a snowstorm while crossing the Alps.
~ James Thurber - [Theater]

 

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In an extensive reading of recent books by psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and inspirationalists, I have discovered that they all suffer from one or more of these expression-complexes: italicizing, capitalizing, exclamation-pointing, multiple-interrogating, and itemizing. These are all forms of what the psychos themselves would call, if they faced their condition frankly, Rhetorical-Over-Compensation.
~ James Thurber - [Psychology]

 

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It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.
~ James Thurber - [Idleness]

 

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It takes that je ne sais quoi which we call sophistication for a woman to be magnificent in a drawing-room when her faculties have departed but she herself has not yet gone home.
~ James Thurber - [Alcohol and Alcoholism]

 

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It's a nanve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.
~ James Thurber - [Wine]

 

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It's better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
~ James Thurber - [Questions]

 

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Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
~ James Thurber - [Anger]

 

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Love is the strange bewilderment that overtakes one person on account of another person.
~ James Thurber - [Love]

 

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Love is what you've been through with somebody.
~ James Thurber - [Love]

 

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Man is flying too fast for a world that is round. Soon he will catch up with himself in a great rear end collision.
~ James Thurber - [Travel and Tourism]

 

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My drawings have been described as pre-internationalist, meaning that they were finished before the ideas for them had occurred to me. I shall not argue the point.
~ James Thurber - [Drawing]

 

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My opposition [To Interviews] lies in the fact that offhand answers have little value or grace of expression, and that such oral give and take helps to perpetuate the decline of the English language.
~ James Thurber - [Interviews]

 

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Next to reasoning, the greatest handicap to the optimum development of Man lies in the fact that this planet is just barely habitable. Its minimum temperatures are too low, and its maximum temperatures too high. Its day is not long enough, and its night is too long. The disposition of its water and earth is distinctly unfortunate (the existence of the Mediterranean Sea in the place where we find it is perhaps the unhappiest accident in the whole firmament). These factors encourage depression, fear, war, and lack of vitality. They describe a planet, which is by no means perfectly devised for the nurturing or for the perpetuation of a higher intelligence.
~ James Thurber - [World]

 

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One has but to observe a community of beavers at work in a stream to understand the loss in his sagacity, balance, co-operation, competence, and purpose which Man has suffered since he rose up on his hind legs. He began to chatter and he developed Reason, Thought, and Imagination, qualities which would get the smartest group of rabbits or orioles in the world into inextricable trouble overnight.
~ James Thurber - [Humankind]

 

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Philosophy offers the rather cold consolation that perhaps we and our planet do not actually exist; religion presents the contradictory and scarcely more comforting thought that we exist but that we cannot hope to get anywhere until we cease to exist. Alcohol, in attempting to resolve the contradiction, produces vivid patterns of Truth which vanish like snow in the morning sun and cannot be recalled; the revelations of poetry are as wonderful as a comet in the skies -- and as mysterious. Love, which was once believed to contain the Answer, we now know to be nothing more than an inherited behavior pattern.
~ James Thurber - [Cosmos]

 

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Some American writers who have known each other for years have never met in the daytime or when both were sober.
~ James Thurber - [Writers and Writing]

 

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Sophistication might be described as the ability to cope gracefully with a situation involving the presence of a formidable menace to one's poise and prestige (such as the butler, or the man under the bed -- but never the husband).
~ James Thurber - [Sophistication]

 

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Speed is scarcely the noblest virtue of graphic composition, but it has its curious rewards. There is a sense of getting somewhere fast, which satisfies a native American urge.
~ James Thurber - [Speed]

 

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The animals that depend on instinct have an inherent knowledge of the laws of economics and of how to apply them; Man, with his powers of reason, has reduced economics to the level of a farce which is at once funnier and more tragic than Tobacco Road.
~ James Thurber - [Economy and Economics]

 

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