Le Mot Juste; or, Pithy Sayings & Quotable Quotes

October 27, 2007 at 5:22 pm (Pithy Sayings)

Before I recycle today’s Washington Post, here are two gems. First:

amy.jpg Amy Dickinson currently writes the syndicated advice column that appears in the Style section of the Post. She has had big shoes to fill: namely, those of the venerable Ann Landers. I personally think she’s doing a terrific job of it!

Today, her column’s first plea for help came from a woman whose husband’s niece habitually turns up at their doorstep with her husband and young child in tow. These visits make it necessary for the writer and her husband to vacate their bedroom and sleep on the couch downstairs. Recently, the niece announced that on her next visit she would be bringing their new puppy along, as it was still too young to be placed in a kennel (but presumably not too young to chew people’s shoes to shreds or to pee – or worse – on the living room carpet!) This is where the hostess presumptive finally put her foot down. Her refusal to accommodate this merry band has naturally caused bad feeling and awkwardness. She inquires plaintively: Was there was a better way to handle the situation?

Here is the first paragraph of Amy’s response:

“Your husband’s niece did you all a favor when she insisted that she bring her puppy along to visit. Sometimes, pushy people push their way right through the end zone and into the parking lot of the football stadium.”

Yes!! You don’t have to be a sports enthusiast – I sure am not – to get her meaning. You’ve been warned, pushy people of the world; reign it in, or suffer the consequences!

The second gem is from a story on the paper’s front page: “A Museum on Woodstock, With a Haircut.” Although this newly built edifice is officially called the Museum at Bethel Woods, it will focus primarily on the Woodstock festival and the culture that gave rise to it. Here is columnist Joel Achenbach’s take on it:

“You could call it a hippie museum with a haircut. It demonstrates more than anything the American capacity to turn even the most unruly and chaotic moments in our history into something orderly, manageable and culminating in a gift shop.”

Now, as a lover of gift shops wherever I may find them, I ask you, Is this necessarily a bad thing? And by the way, it is by no means a purely American capacity. I was thrilled with the proliferation of gift shops in Great Britain.

p1000905.JPG p1000899.JPG Middleham Castle, the childhood home of King Richard III, is now a stark ruin perched poignantly on a hill in Yorkshire. You stand there, thinking sic-transit-type thoughts…and then pop into the gift shop for booklets, postcards, and water bottles!

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