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"Are you both crazy?" the doctor cried shrilly, backing away in paling confusion.
"Yes, he really is crazy, Doc," Dunbar assured him. "Every night he dreams he's holding a live fish in his hands."
The doctor stopped in his tracks with a look of elegant amazement and distaste, and the ward grew still. "He does what?" he demanded.
"He dreams he's holding a live fish in his hand."
"What kind of fish?" the doctor inquired sternly of Yossarian.
"I don't know," Yossarian answered. "I can't tell one kind of fish from another."
"In which hand do you hold them?"
"It varies," answered Yossarian.
"It varies with the fish," Dunbar added helpfully.
The colonel turned and stared down at Dunbar suspiciously with a narrow squint. "Yes? And how come you seem to know so much about it?"
"I'm in the dream," Dunbar answered without cracking a smile.

Joseph Heller
from Catch-22

...if you're trying to choose between two theories and one gives you an excuse for being lazy, the other one is probably right.

Paul Graham
from an unused graduation speech posted on his web site

A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it.

Don Delillo
interviewed by Adam Begley, reproduced in "Conversations with Don Delillo"

Donnie Green himself had been a trader at Salomon Brothers in the dark ages, when traders had more hair on their chests than on their heads. He is remembered as the man who stopped a callow young salesman on his way out the door to catch a flight from New York to Chicago. Green tossed the salesman a ten-dollar bill. 'Hey, take out some crash insurance for yourself in my name,' he said. 'Why?' asked the salesman. 'I feel lucky,' said Green.

Michael Lewis
from Liar's Poker

I was once acquainted with a man who found himself present by some ill chance at a verse speaking bout. Without a word he hurried outside and tore his face off. Just that. He inserted three fingers into his mouth, caught his left cheek in a frenzied grip and ripped the whole thing off. When it was found, flung in a corner under an old sink, it bore the simple dignified expression of the honest man who finds self-extinction the only course compatible with honour.

Flann O'Brien
from The Best of Myles

Fortunately, these questions about psychic phenomena are answered in a soon to be published book, "Boo!", by Dr. Osgood Mulford Twelge, the noted parapsychologist and professor of ectoplasm at Columbia University. Dr. Twelge has assembled a remarkable history of supernatural incidents that covers the whole range of psychic phenomena, from thought transference to the bizarre experience of two brothers on opposite parts of the globe, one of whom took a bath while the other suddenly got clean.

Woody Allen
from Without Feathers

Everybody has a plan until they get hit.

Mike Tyson

"Man, some of the stuff I wrote, if you read it you'd think I was some kinda ax murderer."
"You are a murderer, fool."
"Not a ax murderer."
Mark Salzman
from True Notebooks, quoting or paraphrasing his students

In 1974 the Journal's average reader had as much hands-on experience with computers as with moon rockets. A computer was something you saw in a movie (often it went berserk and killed people).

William Poundstore
from Fortune's Formula

I once inhaled a pretty full dose of ether, with the determination to put on record, at the earliest moment of regaining consciousness, the thought I should find uppermost in my mind. The mighty music of the triumphal march into nothingness reverberated through my brain, and filled me with a sense of infinite possibilities, which made me an archangel for a moment. The veil of eternity was lifted. The one great truth which underlies all human experience and is the key to all the mysteries that philosophy has sought in vain to solve, flashed upon me in a sudden revelation. Henceforth all was clear: a few words had lifted my intelligence to the level of the knowledge of the cherubim. As my natural condition returned, I remembered my resolution; and, staggering to my desk, I wrote, in ill-shaped, straggling characters, the all-embracing truth still glimmering in my consciousness. The words were these (children may smile; the wise will ponder): 'A strong smell of turpentine prevails throughout.'

Oliver Wendell Holmes
from "Mechanism in Thought and Morals," an address given at Harvard in 1870.