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Best retorts from history’s best
Apr 15, 2011
In a moment of great provocation, have you ever been unable to come up with just the right retort?
Well, you’ll probably find it here:
• “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” — Winston Churchill
• “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” — Winston Churchill
• “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” — Clarence Darrow
• “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” — William Faulkner about Ernest Hemingway
• “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. I’ll waste no time reading it.” — Moses Hadas
• “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” — Abraham Lincoln
• “I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” — Groucho Marx
• “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of  it.” — Mark Twain
• “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” — Oscar Wilde
• “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play. Bring a friend ... if you have one.” — George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
• “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one.” — Winston Churchill’s response
• “I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.” — Stephen Bishop
• “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” — John Bright
• “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let's hope it’s nothing trivial.” — Irvin S. Cobb
• “He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” — Samuel Johnson
• “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” — Paul Keating
• “He had delusions of adequacy.” — Walter Kerr
• “There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” — Jack E. Leonard
• “He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” — Robert Redford
• “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work — he overcame them.” — James Reston about Richard Nixon
• “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” — Mark Twain
• “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” — Mae West
• “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts ... for support, rather than illumination.” — Andrew Lang
• “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” — Billy Wilder
Kid’s logic
While I sat in the reception area of my doctor’s office, a woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the room. As she went to the receptionist desk, the man sat there, alone and silent.  
Just as I was thinking I should make small talk with him, a little boy slipped off his mother’s lap and walked over to the wheelchair. Placing his hand on the man’s, he said: “I know how you feel.  My mom makes me ride in the stroller, too.”
Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day I entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her needle. “'No, no, no!” she screamed. 
“Lizzie,” scolded her mother, “that’s not polite behaviour.” 
With that, the girl yelled even louder: “No, thank you! No, thank you!”
Just before I was deployed to Iraq, I sat my eight-year-old son down  and broke the news to him. “I’m going to be away for a long time,” I told him.  “I'm going to Iraq.”   
“Why?” he asked. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there?”