Fifth Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 134 quotes )
Fifth grade was fourth grade with something wrong. Nothing changed outright. Instead it teetered. You'd pushed futility at Public School 38 so long by then you expected the building itself would be embarrassed and quit. The ones who couldn't read still couldn't, the teachers were teaching the same thing for the fifth tim now and refusing to meet your eyes, some kids had been left back twice and were the size of janitors. The place was a cage for growing, nothing else. School lunch turned out to be the five-year-plan, the going concern. You couldn't be left back from fish sticks and sloppy joes. You'd retain at the least two thousand half-pint containers of vitamin D-enriched chocolate milk. Two black guys from the projects, twins, were actually named Ronald and Donald MacDonald. The twins themselves only shrugged, couldn't be made to agree it was incredible.
Doctors tend to enter the arenas of their profession's practice with a brisk good cheer that they have to then stop and try to mute a bit when the arena they're entering is a hospital's fifth floor, a psych ward, where brisk good cheer would amount to a kind of gloating. This is why doctors on psych wards so often wear a vaguely fake frown of puzzled concentration, if and when you see them in fifth-floor halls. And this is why a hospital M.D.--who's usually hale and pink-cheeked and poreless, and who almost always smells unusually clean and good--approaches any psych patient under this care with a professional manner somewhere between bland and deep, a distant but sincere concern that's divided evenly between the patient's subjective discomfort and the hard facts of the case.
In the castle of Koraida was found a great quantity of pikes, lances, cuirasses, and other armor ; and its lands were covered with flocks and herds and camels. In dividing the spoil each foot-soldier had one lot, each horseman three ; two for his horse, and one for himself. A fifth part of the whole was set apart for the prophet. The most precious prize in the eyes of Mahomet was Rihana, daughter of Simeon, a wealthy and powerful Jew ; and the most beautiful female of her tribe. He took her to himself, and, having converted her to the faith, added her to the number of his wives. But, though thus susceptible of the charms of the Israelitish women, Mahomet became more and more vindictive in his hatred of the men ; no longer putting faith in their covenants, and suspecting them of the most insidious attempts upon his life.
The music is meant to be provocative—which doesn’t mean it’s necessarily obnoxious, but it is (mostly) confrontational, and more than that, it’s dense with multiple meanings. Great rap should have all kinds of unresolved layers that you don’t necessarily figure out the first time you listen to it. Instead it plants dissonance in your head. You can enjoy a song that knocks in the club or has witty punch lines the first time you hear it. But great rap retains mystery. It leaves shit rattling around in your head that won’t make sense till the fifth or sixth time through. It challenges you.
Before I opened my computer in the parking lot today, I relived one of my favorite memories. It's the one with Woody and me sitting on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum after it's closed. We're watching people parade out of the museum in summer shorts and sandals. The trees to the south are planted in parallel lines. The water in the fountain shoots up with a mist that almost reaches the steps we sit on. We look at silver-haired ladies in red-and-white-print dresses. We separate the mice from the men, the tourists from the New Yorkers, the Upper East Siders from the West Siders. The hot-pretzel vendor sells us a wad of dough in knots with clumps of salt stuck on top. We make our usual remarks about the crazies and wonder what it would be like to live in a penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooking the Met. We laugh and say the same things we always say. We hold hands and keep sitting, just sitting, as the sun beings to set. It's a perfect afternoon.
A few days ago I heard a performance of the Sibelius fifth symphony. As the closing bars approached, I experienced exactly the large, swelling emotion that the music was written to elicit. What would it have been like, I wondered, to be a Finn in the audience at the first performance of the symphony in Helsinki nearly a century ago, and feel that swell overtake one? The answer: one would have felt proud, proud that one of us could put together such sounds, proud that out of nothing we human beings can make such stuff. Contrast with that ones feelings of shame that we, our people, have made Guantanamo. Musical creation on the one hand, a machine for inflicting pain and humiliation on the other: the best and the worst that human beings are capable of.
I was in the fifth grade the first time I thought about turning thirty. My best friend Darcy and I came across a perpetual calendar in the back of the phone book, where you could look up any date in the future, and by using this little grid, determine what the day of the week would be. So we located our birthdays in the following year, mine in May and hers in September. I got Wednesday, a school night. She got a Friday. A small victory, but typical. Darcy was always the lucky one. Her skin tanned more quickly, her hair feathered more easily, and she didn't need braces. Her moonwalk was superior, as were her cart-wheels and her front handsprings (I couldn't handspring at all). She had a better sticker collection. More Michael Jackson pins. Forenze sweaters in turquoise, red, and peach (my mother allowed me none- said they were too trendy and expensive). And a pair of fifty-dollar Guess jeans with zippers at the ankles (ditto). Darcy had double-pierced ears and a sibling- even if it was just a brother, it was better than being an only child as I was.But at least I was a few months older and she would never quite catch up. That's when I decided to check out my thirtieth birthday- in a year so far away that it sounded like science fiction. It fell on a Sunday, which meant that my dashing husband and I would secure a responsible baby-sitter for our two (possibly three) children on that Saturday evening, dine at a fancy French restaurant with cloth napkins, and stay out past midnight, so technically we would be celebrating on my actual birthday. I would have just won a big case- somehow proven that an innocent man didn't do it. And my husband would toast me: "To Rachel, my beautiful wife, the mother of my chidren and the finest lawyer in Indy." I shared my fantasy with Darcy as we discovered that her thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday. Bummer for her. I watched her purse her lips as she processed this information."You know, Rachel, who cares what day of the week we turn thirty?" she said, shrugging a smooth, olive shoulder. "We'll be old by then. Birthdays don't matter when you get that old."I thought of my parents, who were in their thirties, and their lackluster approach to their own birthdays. My dad had just given my mom a toaster for her birthday because ours broke the week before. The new one toasted four slices at a time instead of just two. It wasn't much of a gift. But my mom had seemed pleased enough with her new appliance; nowhere did I detect the disappointment that I felt when my Christmas stash didn't quite meet expectations. So Darcy was probably right. Fun stuff like birthdays wouldn't matter as much by the time we reached thirty.The next time I really thought about being thirty was our senior year in high school, when Darcy and I started watching ths show Thirty Something together. It wasn't our favorite- we preferred cheerful sit-coms like Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains- but we watched it anyway. My big problem with Thirty Something was the whiny characters and their depressing issues that they seemed to bring upon themselves. I remember thinking that they should grow up, suck it up. Stop pondering the meaning of life and start making grocery lists. That was back when I thought my teenage years were dragging and my twenties would surealy last forever.Then I reached my twenties. And the early twenties did seem to last forever. When I heard acquaintances a few years older lament the end of their youth, I felt smug, not yet in the danger zone myself. I had plenty of time..
Most lives vanish. A person dies, and little by little all traces of that life disappear. An inventor survives in his inventions, an architect survives in his buildings, but most people leave behind no monuments or lasting achievements: a shelf of photograph albums, a fifth-grade report card, a bowling trophy, an ashtray filched from a Florida hotel room on the final morning of some dimly remembered vacation. A few objects, a few documents, and a smattering of impressions made on other people. Those people invariably tell stories about the dead person, but more often than not dates are scrambled, facts are left out, and the truth becomes increasingly distorted, and when those people die in their turn, most of the stories vanish with them.
. . . my obsession with gratefulness. I can't stop. Just now, I press the elevator button and am thankful that it arrives quickly. I get onto the elevator and am thankful that the elevator cable didn't snap and plummet me to the basement. I go to the fifth floor and am thankful that I didn't have to stop on the second or third or fourth floor. I get out and am thankful that Julie left the door unlocked so I don't have to rummage for my King Kong key ring. I walk in, and am thnkful that Jasper is home and healthy and stuffing his face with pineapple wedges. And on and on. I'm actually muttering to myself, 'Thank you. . .thank you. . . thank you.' It's an odd way to live. But also kind of great and powerful. I've never before been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.
Do you realize the illicit sensuous delight I get from picking my nose? I always have, ever since I was a child. There are so many subtle variations of sensation. A delicate, pointed-nailed fifth finger can catch under dry scabs and flakes of mucous in the nostril and draw them out to be looked at, crumbled between fingers, and flicked to the floor in minute crusts. Or a heavier, determined forefinger can reach up and smear down-and-out the soft, resilient, elastic greenish-yellow smallish blobs of mucous, roll them round and jellylike between thumb and forefinger, and spread them on the undersurface of a desk or chair where they will harden into organic crusts. How many desks and chairs have I thus secretively befouled since childhood? Or sometimes there will be blood mingled with the mucous: in dry brown scabs, or bright sudden wet red on the finger that scraped too rudely the nasal membranes. God, what sexual satisfaction!
Metafiction is untrue, as a lover. It cannot betray. It can only reveal. Itself is the only object. It's the act of a lonely solipsist's self-love, a night-light on the black fifth wall of being a subject, a face in a crowd. It's lovers not being lovers. Kissing their own spine. Fucking themselves. True, there are some gifted old contortionists out there. Ambrose and Robbe-Grillet and McElroy and Barthelme can fuck themselves awfully well.
First commandment: there ain't no such thing as "one true way" and the way you find is only good for you, not anybody else, because your interpretation of what you see and feel and understand as the truth is never going to be the same as anyone else's. Second commandment: the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself. Third commandment: leave the world better than you found it. Fourth commandment: if it isn't true, going to do some good, or spread a little love around, don't say it, do it, or think it. Fifth commandment: there are only three things worth living for; love in all it's manifestations, freedom, and the chance to keep humanity going a little while longer. They're the same things worth dying for. And if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race.
I have these secret pangs of shame about being single, like I wasn't good enough to get a husband. Rita reminded me of something I'd told her once, about the five rules of the world as arrived at by this Catholic priest named Tom Weston. The first rule, he says, is that you must not have anything wrong with you or anything different. The second one is that if you do have something wrong with you, you must get over it as soon as possible. The third rule is that if you can't get over it, you must pretend that you have. The fourth rule is that if you can't even pretend that you have, you shouldn't show up. You should stay home, because it's hard for everyone else to have you around. And the fifth rule is that if you are going to insist on showing up, you should at least have the decency to feel ashamed. So Rita and I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.
Maybe there's a whole other universe where a square moon rises in the sky, and the stars laugh in cold voices, and some of the triangles have four sides, and some have five, and some have five raised to the fifth power of sides. In this universe there might grow roses which sing. Everything leads to everything.
I meditated on the nature of friendship as I practiced the craft. My friends had always come from outside the mainstream. I had always been popular with the fifth column of my peers, those individuals who were princely in their solitude, lords of their own unpraised melancholy. Distrusting the approval of the chosen, I would take the applause of exiles anytime. My friends were all foreigners, and they wore their unbelongingness in their eyes. I hunted for that look; I saw it often, disarrayed and fragmentary and furious, and I approached every boy who invited me in.
The score," the megaphone on the ferry around Manhattan said, from time to time, without further explanation, "is one to nothing." to the foreigners, unaware perhaps that a World Series was in progress, this may have seemed an obscure instruction, or a commentary on the sights. "In the top of the fifth," it said, with some excitement, as we rounded Wall Street, "the score is five to one.
The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education.