Straight Man Quotes

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Straight Man Straight Man by Richard Russo
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Straight Man Quotes Showing 1-30 of 41
“Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves. We need them to tell us. We need them to say, "I know you, Al. You are not the kind of man who.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“As I drift back into sleep, I can't help thinking that it's a wonderful thing to be right about the world. To weigh the evidence, always incomplete, and correctly intuit the whole, to see the world in a grain of sand, to recognize its beauty, its simplicity, its truth. It's as close as we get to God in this life, and reside in the glow of such brief flashes of understanding, fully awake, sometimes for two or three seconds, at peace with our existence. And then back to sleep we go.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“Truth be told, I'm not an easy man. I can be an entertaining one, though it's been my experience that most people don't want to be entertained. They want to be comforted. And, of course, my idea of entertaining might not be yours. I'm in complete agreement with all those people who say, regarding movies, 'I just want to be entertained.' This populist position is much derided by my academic colleagues as simpleminded and unsophisticated, evidence of questionable analytical and critical acuity. But I agree with the premise, and I too just want to be entertained. That I am almost never entertained by what entertains other people who just want to be entertained doesn't make us philosophically incompatible. It just means that we shouldn't go to movies together.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“To expect reason is where the fallacy lies.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“He looks like he could be taken in a fight. Not by me, but by somebody. Not anyone in Humanities, probably.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“The world is divided between kids who grow up wanting to be their parents and those like us, who grow up wanting to be anything but. Neither group ever succeeds.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“That afternoon I came to understand that one of the deepest purposes of intellectual sophistication is to provide distance between us and our most disturbing personal truths and gnawing fears.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“Who but an English professor would threaten to kill a duck a day and hold up a goose as an example?”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“It's possible to overlook character flaws of in-laws for the simple reason that you feel neither responsible for them nor genetically implicated.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“Because the truth is, we never know for sure about ourselves. Who we'll sleep with if given the opportunity, who we'll betray in the right circumstance, whose faith and love we will reward with our own...Only after we've done a thing do we know what we'll do...”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“That man truly loathes you," Herbert says when he's sure Rourke isn't coming back.
"I don't think so," I smile. "I just give his life focus, that's all.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“It’s not an easy time for any parent, this moment when the realization dawns that you’ve given birth to something that will never see things the way you do, despite the fact that it is your living legacy, that it bears your name.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“When my nose finally stops bleeding and I've disposed of the bloody paper towels, Teddy Barnes insists on driving me home in his ancient Honda Civic, a car that refuses to die and that Teddy, cheap as he is, refuses to trade in.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“I hear you don't write any more," he says...
"Not true," I inform him. "You should see the margins of my student papers."
"Not the same as writing a book though, right?"
"Almost identical," I assure him. "Both go largely unread.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“The task he has chosen for himself, of wooing my mother with a bright red pickup truck, a Patsy Cline tape, and a string of malapropisms, is ample justification to me for not taking the world too seriously, its relentless heartbreak notwithstanding.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“His carefully calculated sincerity is almost entirely indistinguishable from the real thing.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“They're around back," she calls down when Julie and I get out. "Planning their strategy." "Good for them," I say, confident that no strategy that isn't grounded in chaos theory is likely to work against a man like me.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“[My] explanation makes such immediate sense that I can give it up only reluctantly, a necessary concession to my physician's expertise. This is the way my students feel, I realize, when I suggest stylistic revisions. They like the sentence the way they wrote it. They defer to my greater knowledge and experience because they must, but they still like the way the original sentence sounded when it had a dangling modifier, and they secretly suspect that my judgment, while generally sound, may be flawed in this instance. And they're a little miffed at my insistence...”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“My mother has always been the sort of woman whose emotional state can be intuited from the volume at which she rattles kitchen utensils.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“It was my opinion (then and now) that two people who love each other need not necessarily have the same dreams and aspirations, but they damn well ought to share the same nightmares.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“Because the truth is, we never know for sure about ourselves. Who we'll sleep with if given the opportunity, who we'll betray in the right circumstance, whose faith and love we will reward with our own....Only after we've done a thing do we know what we'll do, and by then whatever we've done has already begun to sever itself from clear significance, at least for the doer.
Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves. We need them to tell us. We need them to say, 'I know you, Al. You're not the kind of man who.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“- You get more misanthropic every day.

- I get older every day. My experience of human nature gets wider and deeper.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“Worse, I have to admit to feeling the jealousy of one crab for another that has managed to climb out of the barrel.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“…imagination without energy remains inert...”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“... Mr. Purty has cheered me up. The task he has chosen for himself, of wooing my mother with a bright red pickup truck, a Patsy Cline tape, and a string of malapropisms, is ample justification to me for not taking the world too seriously, its relentless heartbreak notwithstanding… (Richard Russo, Straight Man)”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
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“These are not men of great imagination, but one can hardly blame them for not being prepared for this particular contingency, the sight of a tweet-jacketed, tenured, middle-aged, senior professor and department chair in a fake nose and glasses, brandishing a live, terrified goose... (Richard Russo, Straight Man)”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“I put myself up for full professor, an act of such unprecedented and unmitigated arrogance that the committee approved it, thus effectively rooting me to the scene of the crime, too weighed down by tenure, rank, and salary to be marketable ever again.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“You've become a clever man.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“My afternoon comp class is not persuaded. In fact, they feel ill-treated...I've read three short essays aloud, anonymously, for the purpose of inspiring discussion or, failing discussion, private misgiving. It's my hope that if the majority of these intellectually addled young folk actually hear their words aloud, if they are forced to digest not only their advice to me but the logic that led to this advice, they will, if not change their minds, at least become acquainted with doubt.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man
“...the truth is, we never know for sure about ourselves. Who we'll sleep with if given the opportunity, who we'll betray in the right circumstance, whose faith and love we will reward with our own. Only after we've done a thing do we know what we'll do...Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves.”
Richard Russo, Straight Man

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