Owe Money Quotes

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I'm looking into my past lives. I'm convinced some of them still owe me money.
Graham Parke (Unspent Time)
He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn't owe too much money.
Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1))
I admire your tenacity, young prince. Grimalkin is not easy to find in the best of times. You must have come far to seek him out.... And this is not the first place you have searched. I can see it on your face. Why, I wonder? Why does he come so far? What is it that he desires so badly, to risk the ire of the Bone Witch? What is it you want, Ash of the Winter Court?' 'Would you believe the cat owes him money?' Puck's voice came from behind my shoulder, making me wince.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4))
Any titles, money, or privilege you inherit are actually hindrances. They delude you into believing you are owed respect.
Robert Greene
We are never quits with those who oblige us," was Dantes' reply; "for when we do not owe them money, we owe them gratitude.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
No, I don't want your money. The world moves less by money than by what you owe people and what they owe you. I don't like to owe anybody anything, so I keep to myself as much on the lending side as I can.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
I stabbed a piece of broccoli like it owed me money.
C.J. Roberts (Epilogue (The Dark Duet, #3))
Sleep evaded him like an old friend who owed him money.
James Newman (Ugly As Sin)
The Sikh gave him the money. When Menon asked for his address so that he could repay the man, the Sikh said that Menon owed the debt to any stranger who came to him in need, as long as he lived. The help came from a stranger and was to be repaid to a stranger.
Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
England and America owe their liberty to commerce, which created a new species of power to undermine the feudal system. But let them beware of the consequences: the tyranny of wealth is still more galling and debasing than that of rank.
Mary Wollstonecraft (Letters Written During A Short Residence In Sweden, Norway And Denmark)
We’ll have to figure out a way to spend our money,” said Kaz. “What money?” said Jesper. “It all got poured into the Shu coffers. Like they needed it.” “Did it?” Nina’s eyes narrowed and Jesper saw a bit of her spirit return. “Stop playing around, Brekker, or I’ll send my unholy army of the dead after you.” Kaz shrugged. “I felt the Shu could manage with forty million.” “The thirty million Van Eck owed us—” murmured Jesper. “Four million kruge each. I’m giving Per Haskell’s share to Rotty and Specht. It will be laundered through one of the Dregs’ businesses before it passes back through the Gemensbank, but the funds should be in separate accounts for you by the end of the month.” He paused. “Matthias’ share will go to Nina. I know money doesn’t matter to—” “It matters,” said Nina. “I’ll find a way to make it matter. What will you do with your shares?” “Find a ship,” said Inej. “Put together a crew.” “Help run an empire,” said Jesper. “Try not to run it into the ground,” said Wylan. “And you, Kaz?” Nina asked. “Build something new,” he said with a shrug. “Watch it burn.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Oslo probably owed them money. Sockeye Sammy’s shiner testified that it might not be a good idea to stiff his employer. But if I couldn’t pay up, I’d surely make myself scarce, too!
Mark Barkawitz (Full Moon Saturday Night)
Yeah," he grount out. "I nailed her." "Where?" Luc always wanted the dirty details. "Stockroom. Pay up." Luc snorted and reached for his wallet. "I really got taken on this one , didn't I?" He handed over four hundreds and five twenties. "Yeah, well, you can have the last laugh once the Sem brothers catch up with me. Seems she's their sister." "Dude." Luc streched out the word and then whistled, low and long. "Nice knowing you. So, will it at least have been worth it? Being gutted by Shade, I mean. Was she good ?" His body heated as though remembering. And wanting again. "Of course I was." Fuck. Con spun around to find Sin standing there, hands on hips and fury in her expression. Like a kid caught stealing candy, he whipped the money behind his back. She looked at him as if he was an idiot and grabbed his arm, briging it around. "It's not what you think," he said lamely, because it was exactly what she thought. "Really? So that big asshole behind you didn't bet you five hundred bucks that you couldn't fuck me ?" "Ah..." "That's what I thought. You dick. How stupid do you think I am ? Your name really fits you , Con." She snatched the money from him, took two hundreds and three twenties, and thrust the remaining two hundred and forty dollars back into his hand. Then, smiling broadly, she punched him in the shoulder. "Next time you make a bet like that, don't cheat me out of my half. I owe you a ten." She winked and left him, jaw-dropped and gaping, as she sauntered away.
Larissa Ione (Ecstasy Unveiled (Demonica, #4))
If time is money and you wasted my time, then give me back my money!
Ljupka Cvetanova (The New Land)
I could not understand how people could not like something as beautiful as the aerodrome. But I had lately become convinced that in general people were pretty boring. They liked to moan for hours on end about how hard it was to make ends meet, about the money they owed, the price of food, and other similar worries, but the minute some more brilliant or attractive subject come up, they were struck deaf.
Ismail Kadare (Chronicle in Stone)
In fact this is precisely the logic on which the Bank of England—the first successful modern central bank—was originally founded. In 1694, a consortium of English bankers made a loan of £1,200,000 to the king. In return they received a royal monopoly on the issuance of banknotes. What this meant in practice was they had the right to advance IOUs for a portion of the money the king now owed them to any inhabitant of the kingdom willing to borrow from them, or willing to deposit their own money in the bank—in effect, to circulate or "monetize" the newly created royal debt. This was a great deal for the bankers (they got to charge the king 8 percent annual interest for the original loan and simultaneously charge interest on the same money to the clients who borrowed it) , but it only worked as long as the original loan remained outstanding. To this day, this loan has never been paid back. It cannot be. If it ever were, the entire monetary system of Great Britain would cease to exist.
David Graeber (Debt: The First 5,000 Years)
Colonel Cargill was so awful a marketing executive that his services were much sought after by firms eager to establish losses for tax purposes. His prices were high, for failure often did not come easily. He had to start at the top and work his way down, and with sympathetic friends in Washington, losing money was no simple matter. It took months of hard work and careful misplanning. A person misplaced, disorganized, miscalculated, overlooked everything and open every loophole, and just when he thought he had it made, the government gave him a lake or a forest or an oilfield and spoiled everything. Even with such handicaps, Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
To me it seemed that the teaching of God's Word was unmistakably clear: 'Owe no man anything.' To borrow money implied to my mind a contradiction of Scripture--a confession that God had withheld some good thing, and determination to get for ourselves what He had not given.
James Hudson Taylor
To pay for my father's funeral I borrowed money from people he already owed money to. One called him a nobody. No, I said, he was a failure. You can't remember a nobody's name, that's why they're called nobodies. Failures are unforgettable.
Philip Schultz (Failure: Poems)
It's the giving that makes one stronger, but sometimes the taking can make one weaker, if even vulnerable or blinding.
Anthony Liccione
Because if someone owed me several thousand, and then stole from my house, and then I found out he had the money and didn’t pay me back, I’d be pretty pissed,” Hackett said.
E.C. Diskin (Broken Grace)
It’s never good to owe money to a guy with a cellar full of military hardware. Especially not when he rides with an outlaw biker gang.
Craig Schaefer (A Plain-Dealing Villain (Daniel Faust, #4))
Like you? I go out of here every morning… bust my butt…putting up with them crackers everyday…cause I like you? You about the biggest fool I ever saw. It’s my JOB. It’s my RESPONSIBILITY! You understand that? A man got to take care of his family. You live in my house… sleep on my bed clothes…fill you belly up with my food… cause you my son. You my flesh and blood. Not ‘cause I like you! Cause it’s my duty to take care of you. I OWE a responsibility to you! Let’s get this straight right here… before it go along any further… I ain’t got to like you. Mr. Rand don’t five me money come payday cause he likes me. He gives me cause he OWE me. I done give you everything I had to give you. I gave you your life! Me and your mama worked that out between us. And liking your black ass wasn’t part of the bargain. Don’t try and go through life worrying about if somebody like you or not. You best be making sure they doing right by you. You understand what I’m saying, boy?” - August Wilson, Fences, 1986.
August Wilson (Fences (The Century Cycle, #6))
I sat up and the room was full of a man with a gun.
Donald E. Westlake (Somebody Owes Me Money)
I owe your mother much more than money. I’m not trying to stop you from stealing from me, I’m trying to help you to stop stealing . . . from all stores, from your family, from yourself.
Michael Benzehabe (Zonked Out: The Teen Psychologist of San Marcos Who Killed Her Santa Claus and Found the Blue-Black Edge of the Love Universe)
Why did you come in to-night with your heads in the air? 'Make way, we are coming! Give us every right and don't you dare breathe a word before us. Pay us every sort of respect, such as no one's ever heard of, and we shall treat you worse than the lowest lackey!' They strive for justice, they stand on their rights, and yet they've slandered him like infidels in their article. We demand, we don't ask, and you will get no gratitude from us, because you are acting for the satisfaction of your own conscience! Queer sort of reasoning!... He has not borrowed money from you, he doesn't owe you anything, so what are you reckoning on, if not his gratitude? So how can you repudiate it? Lunatics! They regard society as savage and inhuman, because it cries shame on the seduced girl; but if you think society inhuman, you must think that the girl suffers from the censure of society, and if she does, how is it you expose her to society in the newspapers and expect her not to suffer? Lunatics! Vain creatures! They don't believe in God, they don't believe in Christ! Why, you are so eaten up with pride and vanity that you'll end by eating up one another, that's what I prophesy. Isn't that topsy-turvydom, isn't it infamy?
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
A panda walks into a bar. He asks the bartender how he can get a little action for the night. The bartender motions to a young woman. She talks to the panda, and they go back to her place. After having sex, the panda abruptly leaves. The next night, the woman goes to the panda's house. "You owe me money," she says. "For what?" The woman rolls her eyes and explains, "I'm a prostitute." The panda pulls out a dictionary and looks it up: "Prostitute: Has sex for money." The panda says, "I don't have to pay you. I'm a panda. Look it up." She is about to protest when the panda hands her the dictionary. The woman looks up "panda" in the dictionary, and it reads, "Panda: Eats bush and leaves.
Various (101 Dirty Jokes - sexual and adult's jokes)
No one ought even to desert a woman after throwing her a heap of gold in her distress! He ought to love her forever! You are young, only twenty-one, and kind and upright and fine. You'll ask me how a woman can take money from a man. Oh, God, isn't it natural to share everything with the one we owe all our happiness to? When one has given everything, how can one quibble about a mere portion of it? Money is important only when feeling has ceased. Isn't one bound for life? How can you foresee separation when you think someone loves you? When a man swears eternal love--how can there be any separate concerns in that case?
Honoré de Balzac (Père Goriot)
Matt huffs. “Can you do me a favor, Ryke? These two owe my uncle forty grand.” He points to me. “This girl says her checkbook is in the car. Follow them and get the money from her.” “Yeah, no problem.” My stomach drops further. Now we’re going to be tailed by Matt’s superhero friend who looks fit enough to tackle me and pin me to the grass.
Krista Ritchie (Addicted to You (Addicted, #1))
If I owe a person money, and cannot pay him, and he threatens to put me in prison, another person can take the debt upon himself, and pay it for me. But if I have committed a crime, every circumstance of the case is changed. Moral justice cannot take the innocent for the guilty even if the innocent would offer itself. To suppose justice to do this, is to destroy the principle of its existence, which is the thing itself. It is then no longer justice. It is indiscriminate revenge.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
We are never quits towards those who have done us a favour,' said Dantès. 'Even when one ceases to owe them money, one owes them gratitude.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Okay, calm down, we'll pay,"said Vee, reaching into her back pocket. She stuffed a wad of cash into the bowl, but it was dark and I couldn´t tell how much. "You owe me big-time," she told me. "You're supposed to let me count the money first," Marcie said, digging through the bowl, trying to recapture Vee´s donation. "I just assumed twenty was too high for you to count," Vee said. "My apologies." Marcie's eyes went slitty again, then she turned on her heel and carted the bowl back into the house. "How much did you give her?" I asked Vee. "I didn't. I tossed in a condom." I lifted my eyebrows."Since when do you carry condoms?" "I picked one up off the lawn on our way up the walk. Who knows, maybe Marcie'll use it. Then I'll have done my part to keep her genetic material out of the gene pool.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2))
(Golden Globe acceptance speech in the style of Jane Austen's letters): "Four A.M. Having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding, was not without its pleasures. Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children. The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintances. Miss Lindsay Doran, of Mirage, wherever that might be, who is largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said. Mr. Ang Lee, of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly apppeared to understand me better than I undersand myself. Mr. James Schamus, a copiously erudite gentleman, and Miss Kate Winslet, beautiful in both countenance and spirit. Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and a Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has lernt to expect from that race. Mr. Mark Canton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a vast deal of money. Miss Lisa Henson -- a lovely girl, and Mr. Gareth Wigan -- a lovely boy. I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack, but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him. The room was full of interesting activitiy until eleven P.M. when it emptied rather suddenly. The lateness of the hour is due therefore not to the dance, but to the waiting, in a long line for horseless vehicles of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport. P.S. Managed to avoid the hoyden Emily Tomkins who has purloined my creation and added things of her own. Nefarious creature." "With gratitude and apologies to Miss Austen, thank you.
Emma Thompson (The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film)
Teachers can make such a profound impact on our lives and should be honored as heroes, I believe. They’re working for so little money, under such difficult circumstances, usually for the love of the service to the children. Many of us owe who we are to certain teachers who appeared at just the right time, in the right place, and had just the right words to say to propel us on our journey. (ACTIVITY ALERT: Take this opportunity, partway through this ridiculous book, to reach out to a teacher who made an impact on you and THANK THEM. You’ll be so glad you did. And so will they!)
Rainn Wilson (The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy)
the bum was justified in his actions because he was homeless and poor. He was allowed to beg for money because the circumstances made it acceptable. Society had shunned him and he was owed that much.
Karina Halle (Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1))
Jimmy put in a word and told them that if I made it, I wouldn't be able to live with myself without paying them back. That I'd sooner die than owe anyone money for helping me. Apparently Jimmy knew more about me at that point than I knew about myself.
Craig Ferguson (American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot)
That second man has his own way of looking at things; asks himself which debt must I pay first, the debt to the rich, or the debt to the poor? the debt of money, or the debt of thought to mankind, of genius to nature? For you, O broker! there is no other principle but arithmetic. For me, commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred; nor can I detach one duty, like you, from all other duties, and concentrate my forces mechanically on the payment of moneys. Let me live onward; you shall find that, though slower, the progress of my character will liquidate all these debts without injustice to higher claims. If a man should dedicate himself to the payment of notes, would not this be injustice? Does he owe no debt but money? And are all claims on him to be postponed to a landlord's or a banker's?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished speculator in lands and mines this remark: 'I wasn't worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions of dollars.
Mark Twain (The Gilded Age)
He sounded like a man who had slept well and didn’t owe too much money.
Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1))
Yo mama so slutty, Trump still owes her hush money.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Inside The Mind of an Introvert)
owing money was the beginning of slavery ..... a creditor was worse than a boss, for a boss only owns your person but a creditor owns your dignity and can slap it around.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
You owe me." "What do I owe you? All the things I gave you. How I took care of you. Money, information...pleasure. I denied you nothing. If I could give it to you, I did." "You gave me things that cost you nothing. It certainly didn't seem to be a hardship to fuck me.
Caroline Hanson (Love Is Mortal (Valerie Dearborn, #3))
Years ago, I dated a lovely young woman who was a few thousand dollars in debt. She was completely stressed out about this. Every month, more interest would be added to her debts. To deal with her stress, she would go every Tuesday night to a meditation and yoga class. This was her one free night, and she said it seemed to be helping her. She would breathe in, imagining that she was finding ways to deal with her debts. She would breathe out, telling herself that her money problems would one day be behind her. It went on like this, Tuesday after Tuesday. Finally, one day I looked through her finances with her. I figured out that if she spent four or five months working a part-time job on Tuesday nights, she could actually pay off all the money she owed. I told her I had nothing against yoga or meditation. But I did think its always best to try to treat the disease first. Her symptoms were stress and anxiety. Her disease was the money she owed. "Why don't you get a job on Tuesday nights and skip yoga for a while?" I suggested. This was something of a revelation to her. And she took my advice. She became a Tuesday-night waitress and soon enough paid off her debts. After that, she could go back to yoga and really breathe easier.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
Though liberal in his praise and always courteous and condescending to the shop-people, he was scarcely ever known to pay a bill and when he died, the amount of money owing to Brandy's was considerable. Mr. Brandy, a short-tempered, pinched-faced, cross little old man, was beside himself with rage about it. He died shortly afterwards, and was presumed by many people to have done so on purpose and to have gone in pursuit of his noble debtor.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell)
The amount of money you owe doesn't matter; as long as you use it for good
Sandra Chami Kassis
She kept me from living in back alleys and going back to drugs. I paid her back, but I owed her a lot more than the money. Emily saved my life.” Buck Jamison in Goodbye Emily
Michael Murphy
Accountability was a foreign thing, and back in the day I avoided it like I owed it money.
Jay Crownover (Asa (Marked Men, #6))
I said I had a three-year-old with broken fingers, and you said, ‘Maybe he owed somebody money.’” “Yes,
Heidi Pitlor (100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (The Best American Series))
We are never quits with those who oblige us,” was Dantes’ reply; “for when we do not owe them money, we owe them gratitude.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
For most people, their brains host their memories. But not me. I store all my nostalgia in my ducks, so even if I should die, my ducks will still know how much money you owe me.
Jarod Kintz (One Out of Ten Dentists Agree: This Book Helps Fight Gingivitis. Maybe Tomorrow I’ll Ask Nine More Dentists.: A BearPaw Duck And Meme Farm Production)
Above all you must study hard. Very few in Pakistan have the opportunity you now have and you must take advantage of it. Never forget that the money it is costing to send you comes from the land, from the people who sweat and toil on those lands. You will owe a debt to them, a debt you can repay with God's blessing by using your education to better their lives.
Benazir Bhutto (Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography)
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Zaphod left the controls for Ford to figure out, and lurched over to Arthur. "Look, Earthman," he said angrily, "you've got a job to do, right? The Question to the Ultimate Answer, right?" "What, that thing?" said Arthur, "I thought we'd forgotten about that." "Not me, baby. Like the mice said, it's worth a lot of money in the right quarters. And it's all locked up in that head thing of yours." "Yes but ..." "But nothing! Think about it. The Meaning of Life! We get our fingers on that we can hold every shrink in the Galaxy up to ransom, and that's worth a bundle. I owe mine a mint." Arthur took a deep breath without much enthusiasm. "Alright," he said, "but where do we start? How should I know? They say the Ultimate Answer or whatever is Forty-two, how am I supposed to know what the question is? It could be anything. I mean, what's six times seven?" Zaphod looked at him hard for a moment. Then his eyes blazed with excitement. "Forty-two!" he cried. Arthur wiped his palm across his forehead. "Yes," he said patiently, "I know that." Zaphod's faces fell. "I'm just saying that the question could be anything at all," said Arthur, "and I don't see how I am meant to know.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
If I do my job right, if I create value for society, society says, "Oh, thank you. We owe you something in the future for the work that you did in the past. Here’s a little IOU. Let’s call that money.
Naval Ravikant (HOW TO GET RICH: (without getting lucky))
want none of your money," said I, "but what you owe my father. I'll get you one glass, and no more." When I brought it to him, he seized it greedily and drank it out. "Aye, aye," said he, "that's some better, sure enough. And now, matey, did that doctor say how long I was to lie here in this old berth?
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
As the old saying had it, if you owe the bank ten thousand pounds, you have a problem; if you owe the bank ten million pounds, the bank has a problem; and if you owe the bank ten billion pounds, the Chancellor had a problem.
Charles Stross (Dead Lies Dreaming (Laundry Files, #10; The New Management, #1))
Here we come to the central question of this book: What, precisely, does it mean to say that our sense of morality and justice is reduced to the language of a business deal? What does it mean when we reduce moral obligations to debts? What changes when the one turns into the other? And how do we speak about them when our language has been so shaped by the market? On one level the difference between an obligation and a debt is simple and obvious. A debt is the obligation to pay a certain sum of money. As a result, a debt, unlike any other form of obligation, can be precisely quantified. This allows debts to become simple, cold, and impersonal-which, in turn, allows them to be transferable. If one owes a favor, or one’s life, to another human being-it is owed to that person specifically. But if one owes forty thousand dollars at 12-percent interest, it doesn’t really matter who the creditor is; neither does either of the two parties have to think much about what the other party needs, wants, is capable of doing-as they certainly would if what was owed was a favor, or respect, or gratitude. One does not need to calculate the human effects; one need only calculate principal, balances, penalties, and rates of interest. If you end up having to abandon your home and wander in other provinces, if your daughter ends up in a mining camp working as a prostitute, well, that’s unfortunate, but incidental to the creditor. Money is money, and a deal’s a deal. From this perspective, the crucial factor, and a topic that will be explored at length in these pages, is money’s capacity to turn morality into a matter of impersonal arithmetic-and by doing so, to justify things that would otherwise seem outrageous or obscene. The factor of violence, which I have been emphasizing up until now, may appear secondary. The difference between a “debt” and a mere moral obligation is not the presence or absence of men with weapons who can enforce that obligation by seizing the debtor’s possessions or threatening to break his legs. It is simply that a creditor has the means to specify, numerically, exactly how much the debtor owes.
David Graeber (Debt: The First 5,000 Years)
In the 1870s it was estimated that a third of all the money in the Irish economy came from money sent by kindhearted Irish servant girls to their families. The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in New York alone would send more than $30 million to Ireland between 1850 and 1880. Many families in Ireland owed their survival to what they gratefully called the "American Letter," a lifeline that helped them cope with brutal poverty and lack of opportunity.
Rashers Tierney (F*ck You, I'm Irish: Why We Irish Are Awesome)
To part with money is a sacrifice beyond almost all men endowed with a sense of order. There is scarcely any man alive who does not think himself meritorious for giving his neighbour five pounds. Thriftless gives, not from a beneficent pleasure in giving, but from a lazy delight in spending. He would not deny himself one enjoyment; not his opera-stall, not his horse, not his dinner, not even the pleasure of giving Lazarus the five pounds. Thrifty, who is good, wise, just, and owes no man a penny, turns from a beggar, haggles with a hackney-coachman, or denies a poor relation, and I doubt which is the most selfish of the two. Money has only a different value in the eyes of each.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
It was a Different Time. People were Friendly. We trusted each other. Hell, you could afford to get mixed up with wild strangers in those days -- without fearing for your life, or your eyes, or your organs, or all of your money, or even getting locked up in prison forever. There was a sense of possibility. People were not so afraid, as they are now. You could run around naked without getting shot. You could check into a roadside motel on the outskirts of Ely or Winnemucca or Elko where you were lost in a midnight rainstorm -- and nobody called the police on you, just to check out your credit and your employment history and your medical records and how many parking tickets you owed in California.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson)
Teachers can make such a profound impact on our lives and should be honored as heroes, I believe. They’re working for so little money, under such difficult circumstances, usually for the love of the service to the children. Many of us owe who we are to certain teachers who appeared at just the right time, in the right place, and had just the right words to propel us on our journey.
Rainn Wilson
If you couldn't catch up with me before the fame and fortune when you had owed me money and/or took up time with me, why on God's green earth should I take up any more time with you to borrow more money and not see you again until its time to borrow some more.
Cleon T. Day III
Depressing realization sets in. Writing was invented not by human beings but by accountants. Most of the early writing systems are records of how much crap people own, how much money they have, how much money they owe, and other lowering/boastful facts of human life.
Philip Hensher (The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting)
How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else. …) The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful. Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it. When I was young, I did not understand why Jesus chose Peter as his successor, the first Pope, even though he abandoned Him. Now I am no longer surprised and I understand that by founding his church on the tomb of a traitor(…)He was warning each of us to remain humble, by making us aware of our fragility. (…) And what are bricks worth anyway? What matters is the promise of Christ, what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, which is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church with such poorly moulded bricks as are we. And that is where the mystery lies. This mixture of good and bad, of greatness and misery, of holiness and sin that makes up the church…this in reality am I .(…) The deep bond between God and His Church, is an intimate part of each one of us. (…)To each of us God says, as he says to his Church, “And I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2,21). But at the same time he reminds us of reality: 'Your lewdness is like rust. I have tried to remove it in vain. There is so much that not even a flame will take it away' (Ezechiel 24, 12). But then there is even something more beautiful. The Holy Spirit who is Love, sees us as holy, immaculate, beautiful under our guises of thieves and adulterers. (…) It’s as if evil cannot touch the deepest part of mankind. He re-establishes our virginity no matter how many times we have prostituted our bodies, spirits and hearts. In this, God is truly God, the only one who can ‘make everything new again’. It is not so important that He will renew heaven and earth. What is most important is that He will renew our hearts. This is Christ’s work. This is the divine Spirit of the Church.
Carlo Carretto
A panda walks into a bar. He asks the bartender how he can get a little action for the night. The bartender motions to a young woman. She talks to the panda, and they go back to her place. After having sex, the panda abruptly leaves. The next night, the woman goes to the panda's house. "You owe me money," she says. "For what?" The woman rolls her eyes and explains, "I'm a prostitute." The panda pulls out a dictionary and looks it up: "Prostitute: Has sex for money." The panda says, "I don't have to pay you. I'm a panda. Look it up." She is about to protest when the panda hands her the dictionary. The woman looks up "panda" in the dictionary, and it reads, "Panda: Eats bush and leaves. ♦◊♦◊♦◊♦
Various (101 Dirty Jokes - sexual and adult's jokes)
He eventually became an executive for a firm. This meant that he actually executed persons with showers of legal documents proving that they owed him quantities of money which they did not have. 'Firm' actually means the manufacture of useless objects which people are foolish enough to buy. The firmer the firm the more senseless talk is needed to prevent anyone noticing the unsafe structure of the business. Sometimes these firms actually sell nothing at all for a lot of money, like 'Life Insurance', a pretense that it is a soothing and useful event to have a violent and painful death.
Leonora Carrington (The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington)
Julian’s not at the house in Bel Air, but there’s a note on the door saying that he might be at some house on King’s Road. Julian’s not at the house on King’s Road either, but some guy with braces and short platinum-blond hair and a bathing suit on lifting weights is in the backyard. He puts one of the weights down and lights a cigarette and asks me if I want a Quaalude. I ask him where Julian is. There’s a girl lying by the pool on a chaise longue, blond, drunk, and she says in a really tired voice, ‘Oh, Julian could be anywhere. Does he owe you money?’ The girl has brought a television outside and is watching some movie about cavemen. ‘No,’ I tell her. ‘Well, that’s good. He promised to pay for a gram of coke I got him.’ She shakes her head. ‘Nope. He never did.’ She shakes her head again, slowly, her voice thick, a bottle of gin, half-empty, by her side. The weightlifter with the braces on asks me if I want to buy a Temple of Doom bootleg cassette. I tell him no and then ask him to tell Julian that I stopped by. The weight-lifter nods his head like he doesn’t understand and the girl asks him if he got the backstage passes to the Missing Persons concert. He says, ‘Yeah, baby,’ and she jumps in the pool. Some caveman gets thrown off a cliff and I split.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money—and another country is added to our global empire.
John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man)
I was forty-five years old and tired of being an artist. Besides, I owed $20,000 to relatives, finance companies, banks and assorted bookmakers and shylocks. It was really time to grow up and sell out as Lenny Bruce once advised. So I told my editors 'OK, I'll write a book about the mafia, just give me some money to get started'.
Mario Puzo
I check my phone messages and email about forty-five times a day. I don’t even know what I’m expecting to get in these messages. Maybe Visa will call and say, “We just realized that we owe you money!” or I’ll get an email from a high school classmate that says, “We’ve reconsidered and we’ve decided you were cool after all.” Whatever
Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me: And Other Painfully True Stories)
Casiopea rested both hands on the chest and for a moment considered leaving well enough alone. But she was angry, and more than that, curious. What if indeed there was money locked away in there? The old man owed her something for her suffering. Everyone owed her. Casiopea inserted the key and turned the lock, and flipped the lid open.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Gods of Jade and Shadow)
It was not uncommon to see the letters G.T.T. painted or carved on the doorways of cabins in Tennessee and other parts of the country especially in the south. It was a sure sign that the occupants had picked up and were as they said "Gone to Texas". It was a popular expression for those people who had committed crimes or owed money or just did not want to be found.
Michael Wallis
New Rule: America must stop bragging it's the greatest country on earth, and start acting like it. I know this is uncomfortable for the "faith over facts" crowd, but the greatness of a country can, to a large degree, be measured. Here are some numbers. Infant mortality rate: America ranks forty-eighth in the world. Overall health: seventy-second. Freedom of the press: forty-fourth. Literacy: fifty-fifth. Do you realize there are twelve-year old kids in this country who can't spell the name of the teacher they're having sex with? America has done many great things. Making the New World democratic. The Marshall Plan. Curing polio. Beating Hitler. The deep-fried Twinkie. But what have we done for us lately? We're not the freest country. That would be Holland, where you can smoke hash in church and Janet Jackson's nipple is on their flag. And sadly, we're no longer a country that can get things done. Not big things. Like building a tunnel under Boston, or running a war with competence. We had six years to fix the voting machines; couldn't get that done. The FBI is just now getting e-mail. Prop 87 out here in California is about lessening our dependence on oil by using alternative fuels, and Bill Clinton comes on at the end of the ad and says, "If Brazil can do it, America can, too!" Since when did America have to buck itself up by saying we could catch up to Brazil? We invented the airplane and the lightbulb, they invented the bikini wax, and now they're ahead? In most of the industrialized world, nearly everyone has health care and hardly anyone doubts evolution--and yes, having to live amid so many superstitious dimwits is also something that affects quality of life. It's why America isn't gonna be the country that gets the inevitable patents in stem cell cures, because Jesus thinks it's too close to cloning. Oh, and did I mention we owe China a trillion dollars? We owe everybody money. America is a debtor nation to Mexico. We're not a bridge to the twenty-first century, we're on a bus to Atlantic City with a roll of quarters. And this is why it bugs me that so many people talk like it's 1955 and we're still number one in everything. We're not, and I take no glee in saying that, because I love my country, and I wish we were, but when you're number fifty-five in this category, and ninety-two in that one, you look a little silly waving the big foam "number one" finger. As long as we believe being "the greatest country in the world" is a birthright, we'll keep coasting on the achievements of earlier generations, and we'll keep losing the moral high ground. Because we may not be the biggest, or the healthiest, or the best educated, but we always did have one thing no other place did: We knew soccer was bullshit. And also we had the Bill of Rights. A great nation doesn't torture people or make them disappear without a trial. Bush keeps saying the terrorist "hate us for our freedom,"" and he's working damn hard to see that pretty soon that won't be a problem.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
He buys Playboy magazines and looks through them once, then gives them to me. That’s what it’s like to be rich. Here’s what it’s like to be poor. Your wife leaves you because you can’t find a job because there aren’t any jobs to find. You empty the jar of pennies on the mantel to buy cigarettes. You hate to answer the phone; it can’t possibly be good news. When your friends invite you out, you don’t go. After a while, they stop inviting. You owe them money, and sometimes they ask for it. You tell them you’ll see what you can scrape up. Which is this: nothing.
Tom Franklin (Poachers: Stories)
When all our needs are met and all is well in our lives, we tend to take credit for what we have, to feel that we carry our own loads. We work hard to earn the money we need to buy food and clothes, pay our rent or mortgage. But even the hardest-working individual owes all he earns to God’s provision. Moses reminded Israel that God “is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:18).
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer)
He thought here you are Joe Bonham lying like a side of beef all the rest of your life and for what? Somebody tapped you on the shoulder and said come along son we’re going to war. So you went. But why? In any other deal even like buying a car or running an errand you had the right to say what’s there in it for me? Otherwise you’d be buying bad cars for too much money or running errands for fools and starving to death. It was a kind of duty you owed yourself that when anybody said come on son do this or do that you should stand up and say look mister why should I do this for who am I doing it and what am I going to get out of it in the end? But when a guy comes along and says here come with me and risk your life and maybe die or be crippled why then you’ve got no rights. You haven’t even the right to say yes or no or I’ll think it over. There are plenty of laws to protect guys’ money even in war time but there’s nothing on the books says a man’s life’s his own. Of
Dalton Trumbo (Johnny Got His Gun)
In Siena, where more than half the inhabitants died of the plague, work was abandoned on the great cathedral, planned to be the largest in the world, and never resumed, owing to loss of workers and master masons and “the melancholy and grief” of the survivors. The cathedral’s truncated transept still stands in permanent witness to the sweep of death’s scythe. Agnolo di Tura, a chronicler of Siena, recorded the fear of contagion that froze every other instinct. 'Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another,' he wrote, 'for this plague seemed to strike through the breath and sight. And so they died. And no one could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship.… And I, Angolo di Tura, called the Fat, buried my five children with my own hands, and so did many others likewise.
Barbara W. Tuchman (A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century)
From there we’d go over to the Friendly Lounge at Tenth and Washington, owned by a guy named John who went by the nickname of Skinny Razor. At first I didn’t know anything about John, but some of the guys from Food Fair pushed a little money on their routes for John. A waitress, say, at a diner would borrow $100 and pay back $12 a week for ten weeks. If she couldn’t afford the $12 one week she’d just pay $2, but she’d still owe the $12 for that week and it would get added on at the end. If it wasn’t paid on time the interest would keep piling up. The $2 part of the debt was called the “vig,” which is short for vigorish. It was the juice. My
Charles Brandt ("I Heard You Paint Houses", Updated Edition: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa)
I busted him and he busted me. That's fair ain't it? No, I ain't forgettin about jail. You think because he arrested me that thows it off again I reckon? I don't. It's his job. It's what he gets paid for. To arrest people that break the law. And I didn't jest break the law, I made a livin at it. More money in three hours than any workin man makes in a week. Why is that? Because it's harder work? No, because a man who makes a livin doin somethin that has to get him in jail sooner or later has to be paid for the jail, has to be paid in advance not jest for his time breakin the law but for the time he has to build when he gets caught at it. So I been paid. Gifford's been paid. Nobody owes nobody. If it wadn't for Gifford, the law, I wouldn't of had the job I had blockadin and if it wadn't for me blockadin, Gifford wouldn't of had his job arrestin blockaders. Now who owes who?
Cormac McCarthy (The Orchard Keeper)
Colonel Crawley’s defective capital. I wonder how many families are driven to roguery and to ruin by great practitioners in Crawlers way?— how many great noblemen rob their petty tradesmen, condescend to swindle their poor retainers out of wretched little sums and cheat for a few shillings? When we read that a noble nobleman has left for the Continent, or that another noble nobleman has an execution in his house — and that one or other owes six or seven millions, the defeat seems glorious even, and we respect the victim in the vastness of his ruin. But who pities a poor barber who can’t get his money for powdering the footmen’s heads; or a poor carpenter who has ruined himself by fixing up ornaments and pavilions for my lady’s dejeuner; or the poor devil of a tailor whom the steward patronizes, and who has pledged all he is worth, and more, to get the liveries ready, which my lord has done him the honour to bespeak? When the great house tumbles down, these miserable wretches fall under it unnoticed: as they say in the old legends, before a man goes to the devil himself, he sends plenty of other souls thither.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair (Centaur Classics) [The 100 greatest novels of all time - #27])
But, no, really, I had it this time. One of my first Salon essays was about confronting my debt, which had gotten so out of control I had to borrow money from my parents. That was a low moment, but it came with a boost of integrity. A free tax attorney helped me calculate the amount I owed the IRS - $40,000 - and put me on a payment plan. My commitment was seven years, which made me feel like the guy in Shawshank Redemption, tunneling out of prison with a spoon.
Sarah Hepola (Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget)
But still, it was not the desire to ‘write’ that was his real motive. To get out of the money-world—that was what he wanted. Vaguely he looked forward to some kind of moneyless, anchorite existence. He had a feeling that if you genuinely despise money you can keep going somehow, like the birds of the air. He forgot that the birds of the air don’t pay room-rent. The poet starving in a garret—but starving, somehow, not uncomfortably—that was his vision of himself. The next seven months were devastating. They scared him and almost broke his spirit. He learned what it means to live for weeks on end on bread and margarine, to try to ‘write’ when you are half starved, to pawn your clothes, to sneak trembling up the stairs when you owe three weeks’ rent and your landlady is listening for you. Moreover, in those seven months he wrote practically nothing. The first effect of poverty is that it kills thought. He grasped, as though it were a new discovery, that you do not escape from money merely by being moneyless. On the contrary, you are the hopeless slave of money until you have enough of it to live on—a ‘competence’, as the beastly middle-class phrase goes.
George Orwell (Keep the Aspidistra Flying)
The only grown-up other than Jacob who ever came into his schoolroom was Eli Willard. School was in session one day when the Connecticut itinerant reappeared after long absence, bringing Jacob's glass and other merchandise. Jacob seized him and presented him to the class. 'Boys and girls, this specimen here is a Peddler. You don't see them very often. They migrate, like the geese flying over. This one comes maybe once a year, like Christmas. But he ain't dependable, like Christmas. He's dependable like rainfall. A Peddler is a feller who has got things you ain't got, and he'll give 'em to ye, and then after you're glad you got 'em he'll tell ye how much cash money you owe him fer 'em. If you ain't got cash money, he'll give credit, and collect the next time he comes 'round, and meantime you work hard to git the money someway so's ye kin pay him off. Look at his eyes. Notice how they are kinder shiftly-like. Now, class, the first question is: why is this feller's eyes shiftly-like?
Donald Harington (The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks (Stay More))
I understand that it’s disheartening to pour effort and money into a work of art and find that others do not value it with the same intensity. I’ve been to this rodeo more than a few times, and yes, it’s painful and hard on the soul. It is also the sort of thing that grown-ups do every day. Anyone deluded enough to think they are owed monetary success because they bled for their art is in for some hard, hard knocks and buckets full of tears. There will be many cries of “unfair” and much jealousy and hatred. And to be fair, all authors go through this every time they watch their books ride the waves of bestseller charts and the ego torture chamber known as Goodreads reviews. Even the most well-adjusted of us watch that horrible piece of shit book beat our baby to pieces and gnash our teeth and shout at our monitors demanding to know what brain-donors are shopping on amazon.com these days. But holy Smart Bitch on a cracker, Batman, to write a post about how stupid readers are and worse to actually put it out there on the internet is so beyond the pale there’s a special hell for that kind of idiocy. Let me repeat: authors exist at the pleasure of readers. Without the people who buy and read my books, I am just another dizzy broad writing shit down. Readers aren’t just an author’s audience; they are her lifeblood. --
Heidi Cullinan
He did. He researched her. Someone told him that she had a special interest in John Milton. It did not take long to discover the century to which this man belonged. A third-year literature student in Beard’s college who owed him a favor (for procuring tickets to a Cream concert) gave him an hour on Milton, what to read, what to think. He read “Comus” and was astounded by its silliness. He read through “Lycidas,” “Samson Agonistes,” and “Il Penseroso”— stilted and rather prissy in parts, he thought. He fared better with “Paradise Lost” and, like many before him, preferred Satan’s party to God’s. He, Beard, that is, memorized passages that appeared to him intelligent and especially sonorous. He read a biography, and four essays that he had been told were pivotal. The reading took him one long week. He came close to being thrown out of an antiquarian bookshop in the Turl when he casually asked for a first edition of “Paradise Lost.” He tracked down a kindly tutor who knew about buying old books and confided to him that he wanted to impress a girl with a certain kind of present, and was directed to a bookshop in Covent Garden where he spent half a term’s money on an eighteenth-century edition of “Areopagitica.” When he speed-read it on the train back to Oxford, one of the pages cracked in two. He repaired it with Sellotape.
Ian McEwan (Solar)
Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society--owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity--to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family--the monkey. And so Liberalism had become a habit...Anna Karenina, Tolstoy.
Leo Tolstoy
(H)ow many great noblemen rob their petty tradesmen, condescend to swindle their poor retainers out of wretched little sums, and cheat for a few shillings? When we read that a nobleman has left for the Continent, or that another noble nobleman has an execution in his house - that one or other owe six or seven millions, the defeat seems glorious even, and we respect the victim of the vastness of his ruin. But who pities a poor barber who can't get his money for powdering the footman's heads; or a poor carpenter who has ruined himself by fixing up ornaments and pavilions for my lady's déjeuner; or the poor devil of a tailor whom the steward patronizes, and who has pledged all he is worth, and more, to get the liveries ready, which my lord has done him the honor to bespeak? - When the great house tumbles down, these miserable wretches fall under it unnoticed: as they say in old legends, before a man goes to the devil himself, he sends plenty of other souls thither.
William Makepeace Thackeray
Suppose... that you acquit me... Suppose that, in view of this, you said to me 'Socrates, on this occasion we shall disregard Anytus and acquit you, but only on one condition, that you give up spending your time on this quest and stop philosophizing. If we catch you going on in the same way, you shall be put to death.' Well, supposing, as I said, that you should offer to acquit me on these terms, I should reply 'Gentlemen, I am your very grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you; and so long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practicing philosophy and exhorting you and elucidating the truth for everyone that I meet. I shall go on saying, in my usual way, "My very good friend, you are an Athenian and belong to a city which is the greatest and most famous in the world for its wisdom and strength. Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honour, and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding and the perfection of your soul?" And if any of you disputes this and professes to care about these things, I shall not at once let him go or leave him; no, I shall question him and examine him and test him; and if it appears that in spite of his profession he has made no real progress towards goodness, I shall reprove him for neglecting what is of supreme importance, and giving his attention to trivialities. I shall do this to everyone that I meet, young or old, foreigner or fellow-citizen; but especially to you my fellow-citizens, inasmuch as you are closer to me in kinship. This, I do assure you, is what my God commands; and it is my belief that no greater good has ever befallen you in this city than my service to my God; for I spend all my time going about trying to persuade you, young and old, to make your first and chief concern not for your bodies nor for your possessions, but for the highest welfare of your souls, proclaiming as I go 'Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the State.' ...And so, gentlemen, I would say, 'You can please yourselves whether you listen to Anytus or not, and whether you acquit me or not; you know that I am not going to alter my conduct, not even if I have to die a hundred deaths.
Socrates (Apology, Crito And Phaedo Of Socrates.)
Suppose you are particularly rich and well-to-do, and say on that last day, 'I am very rich; I am tolerably well known; I have lived all my life in the best society, and, thank Heaven, come of a most respectable family. I have served my King and country with honour. I was in Parliament for several years, where, I may say, my speeches were listened to, and pretty well received. I don't owe any man a shilling: on the contrary, I lent my old college friend, Jack Lazarus, fifty pounds, for which my executors will not press him. I leave my daughters with ten thousand pounds a piece--very good portions for girls: I bequeath my plate and furniture, my house in Baker Street, with a handsome jointure, to my widow for her life; and my landed property, besides money in the Funds, and my cellar of well-selected wine in Baker Street, to my son. I leave twenty pound a year to my valet; and I defy any man after I am gone to find anything against my character.' Or suppose, on the other hand, your swan sings quite a different sort of dirge, and you say, 'I am a poor, blighted, disappointed old fellow, and have made an utter failure through life. I was not endowed either with brains or with good fortune: and confess that I have committed a hundred mistakes and blunders. I own to having forgotten my duty many a time. I can't pay what I owe. On my last bed I lie utterly helpless and humble: and I pray forgiveness for my weakness, and throw myself with a contrite heart at the feet of the Divine Mercy.' Which of these two speeches, think you, would be the best oration for your own funeral? Old Sedley made the last; and in that humble frame of mind, and holding by the hand of his daughter, life and disappointment and vanity sank away from under him.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
Scholars discern motions in history & formulate these motions into rules that govern the rises & falls of civilizations. My belief runs contrary, however. To wit: history admits no rules, only outcomes. What precipitates outcomes? Vicious acts & virtuous acts. What precipitates acts? Belief. Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind's mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being, & history's Horroxes, Boerhaaves & Gooses shall prevail. You & I, the moneyed, the privileged, the fortunate, shall not fare so badly in this world, provided our luck holds. What of it if our consciences itch? Why undermine the dominance of our race, our gunships, our heritage & our legacy? Why fight the 'natural' (oh, weaselly word!) order of things? Why? Because of this: -- one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. Yes, the devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction. Is this the entropy written in our nature? If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers [sic] races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Tortuous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president's pen or a vainglorious general's sword. A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living. Upon my return to San Francisco, I shall pledge myself to the Abolitionist cause, because I owe my life to a self-freed slave & because I must begin somewhere. I hear my father-in-law's response. 'Oho, fine, Whiggish sentiments, Adam. But don't tell me about justice! Ride to Tennessee on an ass & convince the red-necks that they are merely white-washed negroes & their negroes are black-washed Whites! Sail to the Old World, tell 'em their imperial slaves' rights are as inalienable as the Queen of Belgium's! Oh, you'll grow hoarse, poor & grey in caucuses! You'll be spat on, shot at, lynched, pacified with medals, spurned by backwoodsmen! Crucified! Naïve, dreaming Adam. He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain & his family must pay along with him! & only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!' Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Humanistic propaganda screams at us everywhere we go. “You deserve better.” “There’s no one like you.” “Stand up for yourself.” And after a while we start believing the mantra. The most influential culture-shaping document in American history is the Declaration of Independence. And built into the ethos of American society are three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think the wording is ironic: the pursuit of happiness. It’s almost like the architects of modern democracy said, “We guarantee you life, and we promise you liberty. But happiness? Good luck.” America is a social experiment founded on the pursuit of happiness. Hundreds of millions of Americans are chasing down happiness. Money, materialism, sex, romance, religion, family, and fame are all pursuits of the same human craving—joy. But apart from Jesus, we never get there. People spend decades searching high and low for happiness and never land at joy. In an odd twist of fate, America, for all her life and liberty, is one of the most depressed nations in the world. And many of us are mad at God. Somehow we think God owes us. We deserve happiness. We deserve a good, comfortable life, free from pain and suffering. We have rights! Right? The scriptures present a totally different worldview that stands against the humanism of Western Europe. It is written, “By grace you have been saved.”[17] The word grace is (charis) in the Greek, which can be translated as “gift.” All of life is grace. All of life is a gift. Humans have no rights. Everything is a gift. Food, shelter, the clothes on our backs, the oxygen in our lungs—it’s all grace. The entire planet, the sky above us and the ground beneath our feet, is all on loan from the Creator God. We live under his roof, eat his food, and drink his water. We are guests. And we are blessed. A reporter once asked Bob Dylan if he was happy. Dylan’s response was, “These are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It’s not happiness or unhappiness. It’s either blessed or unblessed.”[18] I like that. We are blessed. When you reorient yourself to a biblical worldview, the only posture left to take is gratitude. If all of life is a gift, how could we help but thank God?
John Mark Comer (My Name is Hope: Anxiety, depression, and life after melancholy)
It’s amazing how gullible people are,” DeLoy continues. “But you have to remember what a huge comfort the religion is. It provides all the answers. It makes life simple. Nothing makes you feel better than doing what the prophet commands you to do. If you have some controversial issue that you’re dealing with—let’s say you owe a lot of money to somebody, and you don’t have the means to pay them—you go in and talk to the prophet, and he might tell you, ‘You don’t have to pay the money back. The Lord says it’s Okay.’ And if you just do what the prophet says, all the responsibility for your actions is now totally in his hands. You can refuse to pay the guy, or even kill somebody, or whatever, and feel completely good about it. And that’s a real big part of what holds this religion together: it’s not having to make those critical decisions that many of us have to make, and be responsible for your decisions.
Jon Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith)
When do you wish to go?” “Early to-morrow morning, sir.” “Well, you must have some money; you can’t travel without money, and I daresay you have not much: I have given you no salary yet. How much have you in the world, Jane?” he asked, smiling. I drew out my purse; a meagre thing it was. “Five shillings, sir.” He took the purse, poured the hoard into his palm, and chuckled over it as if its scantiness amused him. Soon he produced his pocket-book: “Here,” said he, offering me a note; it was fifty pounds, and he owed me but fifteen. I told him I had no change. “I don’t want change; you know that. Take your wages.” I declined accepting more than was my due. He scowled at first; then, as if recollecting something, he said— “Right, right! Better not give you all now: you would, perhaps, stay away three months if you had fifty pounds. There are ten; is it not plenty?” “Yes, sir, but now you owe me five.” “Come back for it, then; I am your banker for forty pounds.” “Mr. Rochester, I may as well mention another matter of business to you while I have the opportunity.” “Matter of business? I am curious to hear it.” “You have as good as informed me, sir, that you are going shortly to be married?” “Yes; what then?” “In that case, sir, Adèle ought to go to school: I am sure you will perceive the necessity of it.” “To get her out of my bride’s way, who might otherwise walk over her rather too emphatically? There’s sense in the suggestion; not a doubt of it. Adèle, as you say, must go to school; and you, of course, must march straight to—the devil?” “I hope not, sir; but I must seek another situation somewhere.” “In course!” he exclaimed, with a twang of voice and a distortion of features equally fantastic and ludicrous. He looked at me some minutes. “And old Madam Reed, or the Misses, her daughters, will be solicited by you to seek a place, I suppose?” “No, sir; I am not on such terms with my relatives as would justify me in asking favours of them—but I shall advertise.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Stepan Arkadyevitch had not chosen his political opinions or his views; these political opinions and views had come to him of themselves, just as he did not choose the shapes of his hat and coat, but simply took those that were being worn. And for him, living in a certain society—owing to the need, ordinarily developed at years of discretion, for some degree of mental activity—to have views was just as indispensable as to have a hat. If there was a reason for his preferring liberal to conservative views, which were held also by many of his circle, it arose not from his considering liberalism more rational, but from its being in closer accordance with his manner of life. The liberal party said that in Russia everything is wrong, and certainly Stepan Arkadyevitch had many debts and was decidedly short of money. The liberal party said that marriage is an institution quite out of date, and that it needs reconstruction; and family life certainly afforded Stepan Arkadyevitch little gratification, and forced him into lying and hypocrisy, which was so repulsive to his nature. The liberal party said, or rather allowed it to be understood, that religion is only a curb to keep in check the barbarous classes of the people; and Stepan Arkadyevitch could not get through even a short service without his legs aching from standing up, and could never make out what was the object of all the terrible and high-flown language about another world when life might be so very amusing in this world. And with all this, Stepan Arkadyevitch, who liked a joke, was fond of puzzling a plain man by saying that if he prided himself on his origin, he ought not to stop at Rurik and disown the first founder of his family—the monkey. And so Liberalism had become a habit of Stepan Arkadyevitch's, and he liked his newspaper, as he did his cigar after dinner, for the slight fog it diffused in his brain. He read the leading article, in which it was maintained that it was quite senseless in our day to raise an outcry that radicalism was threatening to swallow up all conservative elements, and that the government ought to take measures to crush the revolutionary hydra; that, on the contrary, "in our opinion the danger lies not in that fantastic revolutionary hydra, but in the obstinacy of traditionalism clogging progress," etc., etc. He read another article, too, a financial one, which alluded to Bentham and Mill, and dropped some innuendoes reflecting on the ministry. With his characteristic quickwittedness he caught the drift of each innuendo, divined whence it came, at whom and on what ground it was aimed, and that afforded him, as it always did, a certain satisfaction. But today that satisfaction was embittered by Matrona Philimonovna's advice and the unsatisfactory state of the household. He read, too, that Count Beist was rumored to have left for Wiesbaden, and that one need have no more gray hair, and of the sale of a light carriage, and of a young person seeking a situation; but these items of information did not give him, as usual, a quiet, ironical gratification. Having finished the paper, a second cup of coffee and a roll and butter, he got up, shaking the crumbs of the roll off his waistcoat; and, squaring his broad chest, he smiled joyously: not because there was anything particularly agreeable in his mind—the joyous smile was evoked by a good digestion.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
It was hard to ask someone like Zara about that sort of thing directly, so the psychologist asked instead: “Why do you like your job?” “Because I’m an analyst. Most people who do the same job as me are economists,” Zara replied immediately. “What’s the difference?” “Economists only approach problems head-on. That’s why economists never predict stock market crashes.” “And you’re saying that analysts do?” “Analysts expect crashes. Economists only earn money when things go well for the bank’s customers, whereas analysts earn money all the time.” “Does that make you feel guilty?” the psychologist asked, mostly to see if Zara thought that word was a feeling or something to do with gold plating. “Is it the croupier’s fault if you lose your money at the casino?” Zara asked. “I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison.” “Why not?” “Because you use words like ‘stock market crash,’ but it’s never the stock market or the banks that crash. Only people do that.” “There’s a very logical explanation for why you think that.” “Really?” “It’s because you think the world owes you something. It doesn’t.” “You still haven’t answered my question. I asked why you like your job. All you’ve done is tell me why you’re good at it.” “Only weak people like their jobs.” “I don’t think that’s true.” “That’s because you like your job.” “You say that as if there’s something wrong with that.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
The global jihad espoused by Osama bin Laden and other contemporary extremists is clearly rooted in contemporary issues and interpretations of Islam. It owes little to the Wahhabi tradition, outside of the nineteenth-century incorporation of the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya and the Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah into the Wahhabi worldview as Wahhabism moved beyond the confines of Najd and into the broader Muslim world. The differences between the worldviews of bin Laden and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab are numerous. Bin Laden preaches jihad; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached monotheism. Bin Laden preaches a global jihad of cosmic importance that recognizes no compromise; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s jihad was narrow in geographic focus, of localized importance, and had engagement in a treaty relationship between the fighting parties as a goal. Bin Laden preaches war against Christians and Jews; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab called for treaty relationships with them. Bin Laden’s jihad proclaims an ideology of the necessity of war in the face of unbelief; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached the benefits of peaceful coexistence, social order, and business relationships. Bin Laden calls for the killing of all infidels and the destruction of their money and property; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab restricted killing and the destruction of property… The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden does not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and is not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it has come to define Wahabbi Islam in the contemporary era. However, “unrepresentative” bin Laden’s global jihad of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news has taken Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.
Natana J. Delong-Bas (Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad)
Emma, calm down. I had to know-" I point my finger in his face, almost touching his eyeball. "It's one thing for me to give your permission to look into it. But I'm pretty sure looking into it without my consent is illegal. In fact, I'm pretty sure everything that woman does is illegal. Do you even know what the Mafia is, Galen?" His eyebrows lift in surprise. "She told you who she is? I mean, who she used to be?" I nod. "While you were checking in with Grom. Once in the Mob, always in the Mob, if you ask me. How else would she get all her money? But I guess you wouldn't care about that, since she buys you houses and cars and fake IDs." I snatch my wrist away and turn back toward our hotel. At least, I hope it's our hotel. Galen laughs. "Emma, it's not Rachel's money; it's mine." I whirl on him. "You are a fish. You don't have a job. And I don't think Syrena currency has any of our presidents on it." Now "our" means I'm human again. I wish I could make up my mind. He crosses his arms. "I earn it another way. Walk to the Gulfarium with me, and I'll tell you how." The temptation divides me like a cleaver. I'm one part hissy fit and one part swoon. I have a right to be mad, to press charges, to cut Rachel's hair while she's sleeping. But do I really want to risk the chance that she keeps a gun under her pillow? Do I want to miss the opportunity to scrunch my toes in the sand and listen to Galen's rich voice tell me how a fish came to be wealthy? Nope, I don't. Taking care to ram my shoulder into him, I march past him and hopefully in the right direction. When he catches up to me, his grin threatens the rest of my hissy fit side, so I turn away, fixing my glare on the waves. "I sell stuff to humans," he says. I glance at him. He's looking at me, his expression every bit as expectant as I feel. I hate this little game of ours. Maybe because I'm no good at it. He won't tell me more unless I ask. Curiosity is one of my most incurable flaws-and Galen knows it. Still, I already gave up a perfectly good tantrum for him, so I feel like he owes me. Never mind that he saved my life today. That was so two hours ago. I lift my chin. "Rachel says I'm a millionaire," he says, his little knowing smirk scrubbing my nerves like a Brillo pad. "But for me, it's not about the money. Like you, I have a soft spot for history." Crap, crap, crap. How can he already know me this well? I must be as readable as the alphabet. What's the use? He's going to win, every time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
A striking example from the history of writing is the origin of the syllabary devised in Arkansas around 1820 by a Cherokee Indian named Sequoyah, for writing the Cherokee language. Sequoyah observed that white people made marks on paper, and that they derived great advantage by using those marks to record and repeat lengthy speeches. However, the detailed operations of those marks remained a mystery to him, since (like most Cherokees before 1820) Sequoyah was illiterate and could neither speak nor read English. Because he was a blacksmith, Sequoyah began by devising an accounting system to help him keep track of his customers’ debts. He drew a picture of each customer; then he drew circles and lines of various sizes to represent the amount of money owed. Around 1810, Sequoyah decided to go on to design a system for writing the Cherokee language. He again began by drawing pictures, but gave them up as too complicated and too artistically demanding. He next started to invent separate signs for each word, and again became dissatisfied when he had coined thousands of signs and still needed more. Finally, Sequoyah realized that words were made up of modest numbers of different sound bites that recurred in many different words—what we would call syllables. He initially devised 200 syllabic signs and gradually reduced them to 85, most of them for combinations of one consonant and one vowel. As one source of the signs themselves, Sequoyah practiced copying the letters from an English spelling book given to him by a schoolteacher. About two dozen of his Cherokee syllabic signs were taken directly from those letters, though of course with completely changed meanings, since Sequoyah did not know the English meanings. For example, he chose the shapes D, R, b, h to represent the Cherokee syllables a, e, si, and ni, respectively, while the shape of the numeral 4 was borrowed for the syllable se. He coined other signs by modifying English letters, such as designing the signs , , and to represent the syllables yu, sa, and na, respectively. Still other signs were entirely of his creation, such as , , and for ho, li, and nu, respectively. Sequoyah’s syllabary is widely admired by professional linguists for its good fit to Cherokee sounds, and for the ease with which it can be learned. Within a short time, the Cherokees achieved almost 100 percent literacy in the syllabary, bought a printing press, had Sequoyah’s signs cast as type, and began printing books and newspapers. Cherokee writing remains one of the best-attested examples of a script that arose through idea diffusion. We know that Sequoyah received paper and other writing materials, the idea of a writing system, the idea of using separate marks, and the forms of several dozen marks. Since, however, he could neither read nor write English, he acquired no details or even principles from the existing scripts around him. Surrounded by alphabets he could not understand, he instead independently reinvented a syllabary, unaware that the Minoans of Crete had already invented another syllabary 3,500 years previously.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel)
this I say,—we must never forget that all the education a man's head can receive, will not save his soul from hell, unless he knows the truths of the Bible. A man may have prodigious learning, and yet never be saved. He may be master of half the languages spoken round the globe. He may be acquainted with the highest and deepest things in heaven and earth. He may have read books till he is like a walking cyclopædia. He may be familiar with the stars of heaven,—the birds of the air,—the beasts of the earth, and the fishes of the sea. He may be able, like Solomon, to "speak of trees, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on the wall, of beasts also, and fowls, and creeping things, and fishes." (1 King iv. 33.) He may be able to discourse of all the secrets of fire, air, earth, and water. And yet, if he dies ignorant of Bible truths, he dies a miserable man! Chemistry never silenced a guilty conscience. Mathematics never healed a broken heart. All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow. No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death. No natural theology ever gave peace in the prospect of meeting a holy God. All these things are of the earth, earthy, and can never raise a man above the earth's level. They may enable a man to strut and fret his little season here below with a more dignified gait than his fellow-mortals, but they can never give him wings, and enable him to soar towards heaven. He that has the largest share of them, will find at length that without Bible knowledge he has got no lasting possession. Death will make an end of all his attainments, and after death they will do him no good at all. A man may be a very ignorant man, and yet be saved. He may be unable to read a word, or write a letter. He may know nothing of geography beyond the bounds of his own parish, and be utterly unable to say which is nearest to England, Paris or New York. He may know nothing of arithmetic, and not see any difference between a million and a thousand. He may know nothing of history, not even of his own land, and be quite ignorant whether his country owes most to Semiramis, Boadicea, or Queen Elizabeth. He may know nothing of the affairs of his own times, and be incapable of telling you whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Commander-in-Chief, or the Archbishop of Canterbury is managing the national finances. He may know nothing of science, and its discoveries,—and whether Julius Cæsar won his victories with gunpowder, or the apostles had a printing press, or the sun goes round the earth, may be matters about which he has not an idea. And yet if that very man has heard Bible truth with his ears, and believed it with his heart, he knows enough to save his soul. He will be found at last with Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, while his scientific fellow-creature, who has died unconverted, is lost for ever. There is much talk in these days about science and "useful knowledge." But after all a knowledge of the Bible is the one knowledge that is needful and eternally useful. A man may get to heaven without money, learning, health, or friends,—but without Bible knowledge he will never get there at all. A man may have the mightiest of minds, and a memory stored with all that mighty mind can grasp,—and yet, if he does not know the things of the Bible, he will make shipwreck of his soul for ever. Woe! woe! woe to the man who dies in ignorance of the Bible! This is the Book about which I am addressing the readers of these pages to-day. It is no light matter what you do with such a book. It concerns the life of your soul. I summon you,—I charge you to give an honest answer to my question. What are you doing with the Bible? Do you read it? HOW READEST THOU?
J.C. Ryle (Practical Religion Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians)
We came to the city because we wished to live haphazardly, to reach for only the least realistic of our desires, and to see if we could not learn what our failures had to teach, and not, when we came to live, discover that we had never died. We wanted to dig deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to be overworked and reduced to our last wit. And if our bosses proved mean, why then we’d evoke their whole and genuine meanness afterward over vodka cranberries and small batch bourbons. And if our drinking companions proved to be sublime then we would stagger home at dawn over the Old City cobblestones, into hot showers and clean shirts, and press onward until dusk fell again. For the rest of the world, it seemed to us, had somewhat hastily concluded that it was the chief end of man to thank God it was Friday and pray that Netflix would never forsake them. Still we lived frantically, like hummingbirds; though our HR departments told us that our commitments were valuable and our feedback was appreciated, our raises would be held back another year. Like gnats we pestered Management— who didn’t know how to use the Internet, whose only use for us was to set up Facebook accounts so they could spy on their children, or to sync their iPhones to their Outlooks, or to explain what tweets were and more importantly, why— which even we didn’t know. Retire! we wanted to shout. We ha Get out of the way with your big thumbs and your senior moments and your nostalgia for 1976! We hated them; we wanted them to love us. We wanted to be them; we wanted to never, ever become them. Complexity, complexity, complexity! We said let our affairs be endless and convoluted; let our bank accounts be overdrawn and our benefits be reduced. Take our Social Security contributions and let it go bankrupt. We’d been bankrupt since we’d left home: we’d secure our own society. Retirement was an afterlife we didn’t believe in and that we expected yesterday. Instead of three meals a day, we’d drink coffee for breakfast and scavenge from empty conference rooms for lunch. We had plans for dinner. We’d go out and buy gummy pad thai and throat-scorching chicken vindaloo and bento boxes in chintzy, dark restaurants that were always about to go out of business. Those who were a little flush would cover those who were a little short, and we would promise them coffees in repayment. We still owed someone for a movie ticket last summer; they hadn’t forgotten. Complexity, complexity. In holiday seasons we gave each other spider plants in badly decoupaged pots and scarves we’d just learned how to knit and cuff links purchased with employee discounts. We followed the instructions on food and wine Web sites, but our soufflés sank and our baked bries burned and our basil ice creams froze solid. We called our mothers to get recipes for old favorites, but they never came out the same. We missed our families; we were sad to be rid of them. Why shouldn’t we live with such hurry and waste of life? We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to decrypt our neighbors’ Wi-Fi passwords and to never turn on the air-conditioning. We vowed to fall in love: headboard-clutching, desperate-texting, hearts-in-esophagi love. On the subways and at the park and on our fire escapes and in the break rooms, we turned pages, resolved to get to the ends of whatever we were reading. A couple of minutes were the day’s most valuable commodity. If only we could make more time, more money, more patience; have better sex, better coffee, boots that didn’t leak, umbrellas that didn’t involute at the slightest gust of wind. We were determined to make stupid bets. We were determined to be promoted or else to set the building on fire on our way out. We were determined to be out of our minds.
Kristopher Jansma (Why We Came to the City)