Pine Nuts: Random thoughts for those under the age of 30 |

Pine Nuts: Random thoughts for those under the age of 30

Over a slow moving 25 years of portraying Mark Twain, I’ve been patiently building an “aphorisms” file of relevant Twain quotes that I can work into my programs. That file is now 65 pages long and ends with, “These are sardonic times … but I am not sorry to be alive & privileged to look on.”

Over the same 25 years I have also been chronicling quotes from other sources that I might work into the scheme of things when I find them handy. That file has grown to be 33 pages and ends with a sentiment from William Blake on the subject of trying to change the person you love…

“He who bends to himself a joy

Doth the winged life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”

In glancing over these profound and frivolous quotes from people other than Twain, which I often do, I thought it might be fun to publish my favorites in this fine family journal to give moral instruction to the younger generation — or not.

So with our 20-somethings in mind, here are a few quotes which have helped me through some rough patches and also given me pause to put the plug back in the jug when experiencing irrational exuberance.

“Young people nowadays love luxury; they have bad manners and contempt for authority. They show disrespect for old people and love silly talks in place of exercise. They no longer stand up when older people enter the room; they contradict their parents, talk constantly in front of company, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers.” — Socrates, 400 B.C.

“The reform court of the sixties had not one first born on the bench, and yet the next nine justices appointed by the republicans were all first born.” — anon

“Writing is easy … all you need to do is open up your veins and bleed.” — Red Smith

“Physicists and astronomers see their own implications in the world being round, but to me it means that only one-third of the world is asleep at any given time and the other two-thirds is up to something.” — Dean Rusk

“It’s clear why they only served bread and wine at the Last Supper. It was a pot-luck, organized by men.” — Patti Page

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” — Bertrand Russell

“A man cannot get rich if he takes proper care of his family.” — Navajo proverb

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” — Jose Narosky

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” — Henry James

Alas, I see that working from the end of the alphabet I’m still in the W’s and am out of space, so I shall close with my favorite from Robert Browning and hope it might lend its ambient sentiment to your day, “The lark’s on the wing; the snail’s on the thorn: God’s in his heaven -and all’s right with the world.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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