Twenty Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 592 quotes )

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..
A war always comes to someone else. In Salinas we were aware that the United States was the greatest and most powerful nation in the world. Every American was a rifleman by birth, and one American was worth ten or twenty foreigners in a fight. Pershin?s expedition into Mexico after Villa had exploded one of our myths for a little while. We had truly believed that Mexicans ca?t shoot straight and besides were lazy and stupid. When our own Troop C came wearily back from the border they said that none of this was true ?] Somehow we did?t connect Germans with Mexicans. We went right back to our own myths. One American was as good as twenty Germans. This being true, we had only to act in a stern manner to bring the Kaiser to heel. He would?t dare interfere with our trade--but he did. He would?t stick out his neck and and sink our ships--and he did. It was stupid, but he did, and so there was nothing for it but to fight him. The war, at first anyway, was for other people. We, I, my family and friends, had kind of bleacher seats, and it was pretty exciting. And just as war is always for somebody else, so it is also that somebody else always gets killed. And Mother of God! that was?t true either. The dreadful telegrams began to sneak sorrowfully in, and it was everybod?s brother. Here we were, over six thousand miles from the anger and the noise, and that did?t save us ?] The draftees would?t look at their mothers. They did?t dare. W?d never thought the war could happen to us. There were some in Salinas who began to talk softly in the poolrooms and the bars. These had private information from a soldier--we were?t getting the truth. Our men were being sent in without guns. Troopships were sunk and the government would?t tell us. The German army was so far superior to ours that we did?t have a chance. That Kaiser was a smart fellow. He was getting ready to invade America. But would Wilson tell us this? He would not. And usually these carrion talkers were the same ones who had said one American was worth twenty Germans in a scrap--the same ones.