If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well this isn't too bad, I don't have a left arm anymore but at least nobody will ever ask me if I'm left-handed or right-handed," but most of us would say something more along the lines of, "Aaaaaa! My arm! My arm!
Waiting is one of life's hardships. It is hard enough to wait for chocolate cream pie while burnt roast beef is still on your plate. It is plenty difficult to wait for Halloween when the tedious month of September is still ahead of you. But to wait for one's adopted uncle to come home while a greedy and violent man is upstairs was one of the worst waits the Baudelaires had ever experienced.
A long time ago, there was no such thing as school, and children spent their days learning a trade, a phrase which here means "standing around doing tedious tasks under the instruction of a bossy adult." In time, however, people realized that the children could be allowed to sit, and the first school was invented.
Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action.
How wrong to think I was anyone else, like thinking grass stains make you a beautiful view, like getting kissed makes you kissable, like feeling warm makes you coffee, like liking movies makes you a director. How utterly incorrect to think it any other way, a box of crap is treasures, a boy smiling means it, a gentle moment is a life improved.
A newspaper, as I'm sure you know, is a collection of supposedly true stories written down by writers who either saw them happen or talked to people who did. These writers are called journalists, and like telephone operators, butchers, ballerinas, and people who clean up after horses, journalists can sometimes make mistakes.
With the publishing of The Basic Eight, it was often assumed that I was really immature and callow, and with the publishing of Watch Your Mouth, it was assumed that I was oversexualized, and with Lemony Snicket, it's often assumed that I'm erudite and depressed. But all the voices more or less came naturally to me.
In general, of course, a stranger who tries to get you into an automobile is anything but noble, and in general a person who quotes great American novelists is anything but treacherous, and in general a man who says you needn't worry about money, or a man who smokes cigarettes, is somewhere in between.
One of the world's most tiresome questions is what object one would bring to a desert island,because people always answer "a deck of cards" or "Anna Karenina" when the obvious answer is "a well equipped boat and a crew to sail me off the island and back home where I can play all the card games and read all the Russian novels I want.
There was something I was always very good at, however, and that was teaching myself not to be frightened while frightening things are going on. It is difficult to do this, but I had learned. It is simply a matter of putting one’s fear aside, like the vegetable on the plate you don’t want to touch until all of your rice and chicken are gone, and getting frightened later, when one is out of danger. Sometimes I imagine I will be frightened for the rest of my life because of all of the fear I put aside during my time... Read more »
Thinking about something is like picking up a stone when taking a walk, either while skipping rocks on the beach, for example, or looking for a way to shatter the glass doors of a museum. When you think about something, it adds a bit of weight to your walk, and as you think about more and more things you are liable to feel heavier and heavier, until you are so burdened you cannot take any further steps, and can only sit and stare at the gentle movements of the ocean waves or security guards, thinking too hard bout too many... Read more »