Aphorisms & Eggshells // Paul Kindlon
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Hating the government has become so popular
scoundrels are virtually assured of election
Childhood illusions are only surpassed by those of the intelligentsia
T.S. Elliot said that “bad writers borrow and good writers steal.”
Did he say that before or after he got caught?
Like politicians and actors, lovers are cherished for their ability
to make us believe what we know to be false
Even the virtue of moderation can sometimes be extreme, dangerous
and completely irrational
Compassion: the ability to feel what you don’t feel
Despair: suddenly realizing that the light at the end of the tunnel
is just a reflection from your flashlight
One’s man’s ceiling is another man’s floor: legal terminology which means that
when the plumbing leaks, both will have to share the mopping chores
Life: postponement of the inevitable
If walls could talk…we wouldn’t have to telephone our neighbors
The ability to accept criticism can lead to self-doubt or self-respect
depending on how you use your time
Your mind is not your personal property …regardless of what you think.
“The early bird catches the worm” : warning that you should sleep a little longer
until they start serving something decent for breakfast
The ability to make others laugh is the only form of power that should be abused
Forgive and forget…so that later on you can do the same
The roller-coaster ride: a voluntary experiment in which participants attempt to transfer mental illness to the body
East is East and West is West, but any roadmap will easily convince you otherwise
The good lord gave us free will…the devil then countered with advertising
Light is the only metaphor that should be taken literally
Autobiography: fear of long-term memory loss
When mortal enemies find common ground it usually means that they’ve
agreed on their choice of cemeteries
Crocodiles cry…so do clowns…deceiving lovers too.
Almost makes you appreciate the sheer genuineness of onion tears
They always drink the same thing and never pay. They always drink alone and never tip. No wonder we consider the action of the mosquito repellent
Insomnia: When your mind refuses to stop working while it seems as though
Your dreams have gone on strike
People prone to guilty fingers try to keep ‘em clean by putting them on a preaching hand.
In the geometry of Life most vertical lines end up crooked
Embrace you fear with a lover’s passion and the femme fatale will leave you
Live life on the edge if you can’t make heads or tails of it
Of all those who claim that they love people
the most believable is the cannibal
Human body: the bread of life destined to become stale
Even the most popular person in the world must dance to the last song
without a partner
The gifted can do much more than simply open the present
For the writer…manual labor means grasping for thoughts and squeezing the meaning out of words.
In a calculated risk, you have to consider all the plusses and minuses
if you want to figure out the aftermath
Some holy men have my deepest respect.
Takes a lot of pride to think you’re not human
Regret is the echoing scream eternally silent in a dead man’s dream
The “anti-toast”: Glory to the pagan…to the irrational animal soul
And may the gods have mercy on the cruelly civilized mind
I never did like gravity
Mid-life Crisis: period of life when most men experience their first sexual feelings
for the very last time
Prestige: top-dog status for the underdog
The door to the past can only be unlocked by the keys of a fool
Desperation: an urgent need to wish in “fast forward”
Social inequality will not be changed by politics or economics.
For the elite are obliged to be exclusive by definition.
First, shoot all the linguists!
Hesitation: when desire and the will haven’t been properly introduced
Flattery: the antidote to unwelcomed persuasion
Fashion conscious: when one’s Ego is woven into the fabric of their clothes
Self-knowledge: a sly wink from your third eye
The cockroach does not drink or smoke nor swear loudly and over-consume your food. He does not snore or steal your money and will never try to seduce your wife.
Yet this ideal house guest still manages to embarrass you in front of family and friends
Creative writing: defiantly building another tower to transcend the limitations of language
Consider the circle… accused of abetting witch craft, associated with flawed reasoning, even branded as vicious. Are we not simply jealous of the circle because
it is so well-rounded?
To be really successful they say you have to set your sights high.
This is something I could never do
Art imitates life…except where prohibited by law
Theory: using the power of the mind to comprehend something which the mind has been powerless to comprehend
Pity the hapless pauper who lives his entire life on handouts until charity provides
one final insult: the coffin- an unwanted gift that cannot be returned
Women often complain about men which only makes men complain about women,
But then again…who’s really complaining?
Whoever said “man ultimately kills that which he loves” must have been a florist
Computers are an extension of the brain, but for some- a prosthetic device
Feelings present an obstacle to clear, rational thinking, but in our search for the truth we manage to find a way around them
Variety is the spice of life but if most people are content with plain old salt and pepper, my advice is to go with the pepper. Pass the salt
The aim of poetry is to outshine the sun, overcome death, and assist in seduction. Poets fail miserably at reaching all these goals, but one out of three ain’t bad
Suspicion is the front door to the Devil’s house
If change is permanent we will meet again.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
But I’m still not giving up my place in line
Whoever said little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice
probably never changed a diaper
“Curiosity killed the cat.”
The mouse that put out the poison is innocent of all charges
Revenge is sweet, but a good Christian is always on a diet
Last night I dreamed of a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
And he did it without even lifting his leg
Master: Remember…the Good go to Heaven, the Bad go to Hell
Pupil: That I understand sir, but where do people go?
Jealousy in romance is the voyeurism of self-punishment
Reality is a hyphen between two worlds
The bard perceived the entire world as a stage because we all do. Drawn by the colored lights, no doubt, we linger long and only the few seek a quick exit. Itinerant puppets wearied of the playwright’s string; they hope never again to have to wait in the wings
Just when you think you’ve got it made, you wish you could make it all over again
Journalists strive to be objective.
Remarkably some try even after they’ve been hired
When a student oversimplifies the complex he gets an “F”
When a professor does it he gets recognition
Flying saucers are real. The people who see them are not
If you’ve been there, seen everything before and heard it all before
You may as well work on weekends
Follow your heart, but keep some distance
Without imagination nothing would seem real
When the curtain comes down…at least put on some underwear
Books contain knowledge in order to prevent it from possibly
contaminating the populace
If you fail to study geography you’ll probably think the Antarctic
was a pesticide used by Noah
The devil ain’t nothin but negative ideas. Take away all the negative ideas in the world and all you got left is God – the big Yes
As you get older and more mature…you stop making foolish mistakes.
Then you live to regret it
Punishment is pre-meditated, but crime can be accidental. Virtue is usually both
All the world’s a stage…and who can deny that even the well-players perform for one reason and one reason alone: to make you as well as themselves think that what comes before the fall of the curtain is more dramatic than the critical silence that follows our self-conscious applause
After three thousand years of persistent inquiry it is rumored that Philosophers now know the meaning of life…okay…who blabbed?
History is the mess left behind by uninvited guests
Romanticism is a rebellious shadow trying to outrun the rays of the sun
When there is peace on Earth, war will suddenly become a human right
Mysticism is the cloud behind he sun
Kissing your sister is different from kissing your lover.
But let’s not discuss it further if it’s all the same to you
A writer does not create. That would be plagiary
Depression is an intermission in the game of illusion
Hollywood directors are the trash collectors of culture.
And the producers just keep piling it on
If you’ve been around the block a few times
you know that death is right around the corner
The historical utterance “Give me liberty or give me death” is very useful in instructing young citizens. It teaches them never to limit their options
There are no atheists in a fox hole
cause they’re usually not dumb enough to join the military
For the eternal pessimist, optimism is a once in a lifetime opportunity
Promises were made to be broken so that promises would be able to mend
Chastity ends when the music begins
Never talk to strangers…and you’ll never have a friend
Compassion is the make-up of the spiritually vain
Forget your foolish pride…and you’ll end up a humble servant
The amount of stress you feel is inversely proportional to your IQ
Courage turned to Fear when it unexpectedly looked in the mirror
If you only live once then do so…by all means
Fools argue among themselves. Enlightened scholars debate each other.
The truly wise just play music
Intuition is weak perception suffering from delusions of grandeur
Flying is a way of laughing at the Earth. But you know who gets the last laugh
Bartenders are character witnesses to the assassination of your respectability
by your own hand
The message of the first raindrop bears repeating
Spring is conception, summer is birth and the body is the autumn deception of existence.
The will to change is determined by a chance to forget.
Personality is a game of musical chairs. Hypocrisy occurs when two are caught sitting in the same seat
A cynic is someone looking over his shoulder at the future
A smart writer wakes up before his imagination does so he can hear it talking in its sleep
The cemetery is a place to briefly visit those who used to briefly visit those who used to briefly visit
For a man, possessive love is the strangle-hold of a headless horseman who’s lost his grip
The craving for revenge can only be satisfied by a flirtatious enticement of injustice
Anxiety is an inarticulate beggar
Never respect a “perhaps” or a “maybe” – they are merely the puppets of possibility
Gaining wisdom means that you can ignore advice and disregard criticism
now that you know others are just as stupid as you
Getting married is a nervous theatrical moment even though you both know the
script and all he cues. Perhaps it’s due to all those critics in attendance
Secrets are little stones that are much too heavy to carry alone
Advice to school teachers: Don’t get upset when pupils lose their concentration in Friday classes… after all…day dreaming is what the elderly does
A penny for your thoughts…you’re a millionaire!
There’s a story on the white pages of winter’s dark book of a snowflake that falls
careless and free until it settles down to wait for the light of dissolution that unites
I thought at one time that asceticism was my true calling…
But it was just an echo of spiritual narcissism
Colors are the candies and flowers in the romance between light and dark
My bedroom ashtray was an invitation to smoke and I RSVP’d with a hot flame
In the world of entertainment many performers work for peanuts
Exotic dancers are an exception…they perform for chestnuts
The genius writes with a microscope what can only be read with a telescope
Astronomy owes much to the reflective powers of the simple mirror which-
when gazed into - always reveals the center of the universe
Hindsight is just an oversight of foresight
Was Scrooge the only psychologist to point out that the annual visit of Santa Claus
is a guilt trip…?
In the illness of life, pleasure is an attempt to treat the past and prevent the future
Justice for all: Love is irrational – laws are not
The eyes are the window to the soul, but most of us have the shades drawn
For some…being guilty means that every now and then happens too often
Sarcasm is the art of the boomerang compliment
The Tao of Tyranny: The best way to control ...is to give the masses complete liberty
so they may freely enslave themselves
You’re tired of being stepped on, tugged this way and that so much that you feel you’re going to snap…checked on to see if you measure up…knowing that if you don’t, you’ll be instantly replaced. No wonder – my little shoelace – you are fit
to be tied
You say the Blues make you feel good about feeling bad?
Well…and you thought you weren’t religious
Scientists insist on communicating with animals through the language of stimulus/response. The average pet owner knows instinctively how primitive this is
Spirituality based upon Reason is superior because you get to pity others you think are morally inferior to you
Dreams are the mirrors which reflect the images our minds must distort
to keep us asleep
Faith is the sound of a broken clock still ticking
Consciousness is a dance between yesterday and tomorrow
Insanity occurs when they both try to lead
The Believer drives down the road of Life seeing a cul-de-sac
while fully expecting a detour
When the expression “you have an interesting mind” becomes redundant
human evolution will finally be complete
I once employed the work ethic, but it didn’t work for me
Mediocrity dances to the rhythm of routine
Comme il faut: Not eating frogs’ legs during leap year
Landlord: One who comes up with astronomical figures by calculating with the space by time formula
Unrequited love: A heart that is paying dearly while Cupid is being frugal
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation – unless they happen to be your neighbors
I’ve had so many ups and downs the buttons on my coat have numbers on them
Thanks to the very trendy plumber out-houses are now in
Double meaning: when a pregnant pause gives birth to twins
Stoicism: when – in the face of adversity – you can keep a stiff upper lip
and not even raise an eyebrow as you take it on the chin
Only a Buddhist can find soul food in an empty refrigerator
In true love there is no difference between giving and taking. And then she leaves you
Temptation is everywhere – so there’s really no need to travel
Every cloud has a silver lining, but the damn things leak anyway
When you die people pay their last respects.
Unfortunately, you’re in no condition to collect
Terminal illness is the alarm clock of spiritual awakening
Tell your wife your secrets and she will praise you for your honesty.
All my wives have done so
The size of the universe indicates a clear case of substance abuse
Learn from your mistakes and in the future you will be much less ignorant
when you repeat them
Marriage: A whisper that begins and ends with a shout
Live as though you have a hole in your shoe. It will make you more attentive to what others are thinking and saying and conscious of every step you take.
Platonic relationship: an imperfect copy of the Ideal
When political opinion is formed by a majority coalition of fear and ignorance it can always defeat the undemocratic truth.
The doctoral dissertation is a challenge because, after having spent 25 years on the knees of ventriloquists, they then expect you to find your own voice
It’s absurd to think we should know beforehand what will happen to us after death. That would be like explaining a joke before the punch line is delivered
Crisis management: intervening to untie knots for those who are at the end of their rope
Low self-esteem: giving yourself a bad review before you even begin to act
Misanthrope: one who sits in judgment while standing aloof
Non-sequitur: the shortest distance between two points
Practice makes perfect – especially in theory
Moral dilemma: deciding whether or not to cancel an appointment with sin because of the unexpected punctuality of conscience
If you allow them to put a collar around your soul and hold it by a leash, you may as well let them bury your bones
Over-confidence: giving yourself credit at the expense of others
Racism: one mutt accusing another mutt of having a pedigree
A woman’s orgasm is like a good joke. Once you’ve heard it you can’t wait to repeat it
People who do not exercise their wills are like seeing-eye dogs for the blind forces of nature
Optimists believe that chaos is just temporarily out of order
If you can read the writing on the wall you’re probably developing bad spelling habits
Originality is the loner we all fear
First and foremost, an artist tries to paint what he sees in his mind. If that fails, he then goes out of his mind
Charity takes the color out of your cheeks
Psychologists say that intellectual ideas alone cannot cause mental problems.
Such pronouncements, of course, are symptomatic of genius envy
Philosophy is the work of great magicians being tricked by their own illusions
Hedonism is often spiritual foreplay
What we call wisdom is usually just infectious self-deception
Experience may be a great teacher, but an education can be quite costly
Fond remembrance is an attempt to assure ourselves the present is valuable and the future worth enduring
Arrogance shows when a strip tease of the Ego bares all
When extended, the bridge between childhood and adulthood can take a heavy toll
I was destined for greatness, but when my fate got distracted my luck ran out
Boredom is a jealous ghost hovering over your soft little soul with
devil dust and bad intentions
If you build a better mousetrap some little rat will be sure to file suit
Bartender’s nightmare: A sudden ambush by revenge-minded water spirits lurking in the shadowy stains of carelessly spilled ancestors
I remember as a child when religion was a pillow for my soul filled with the feathers of angels
Patience without anticipation quickly becomes neglect
Talent can be poisonous…if you keep it inside
No need to tell me the secrets of the Great pyramids
Just tell me the ancient Egyptian word for getting high
If you consider the fact that life on Earth is just a momentary vibration in the dissipating echo of the Big Bang, silence don’t seem so golden...do it?
Paul Kindlon is originally from America, but has been living in Moscow, Russia for 24 years. His life adventures include musician, stage actor, writer, and professor, with twelve literary publications in America ( 9 short stories, 3 poems). He’s a regular contributor to “Russia-Insider” website featuring articles on Russian culture, politics, and philosophy.