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The Great Humourists – #1 Mark Twain

    It was my seventh grade english teacher who read wonderful stories to us aloud, and the example of my mother who was always reading something or other and would often say to me ‘If you are bored go read a book’ that ignited a love of reading in me. I take particular pleasure in those writers of a curmudgeonly bent who had the gift of producing humourous insights into the human condition. Mark Twain wrote prodigously and even when I find some of his work distasteful, it always presses me to examine the world in which I live. And like other humourousists from history, he reminds me that humanity is as silly and serious in the past as it ever is today. I present a few of my favourites from his overflowing pen!

    “I went to dinner, which was served in a small private room of the club with the usual piano and fiddlers present to make conversation difficult and comfort impossible.”

    “I think I can say, and say with pride that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.”

    “I do not like work even when someone else does it.”

    “We have natural & justifiable distrust of talky men who make a sounding & ostentatious pretense of saying a thing & yet don’t say it after all — men who hide a mustard-seed of an idea in a kaleidoscope of words, so that the more you turn the thing the more you can’t quite capture that elusive little idea, because it always takes refuge, just in time, behind a new & bewitching rainbow-explosion of fine language …”

    “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – attributed

    “Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.”

    “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.”

    It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.”

    “There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.”

    “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”

    “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

    “Truth is such a precious article, let us all economize in its use.”

    “Barring that natural expression of villiany which we all have, the man looked honest enough”

    “By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity–another man’s I mean.”