Generally speaking, it wasn’t
in Grandma Ethel’s nature to trust people. She viewed
everyone who came into her little gift shop in Bay Ridge,
Brooklyn, as a potential customer and a potential thief—and
not necessarily in that order. Often, after browsers had left
the store, she’d scan the shelves convinced they’d
stolen a china Madonna or a crystal kitty.
Not surprisingly, given the amoral
state of humankind, even Grandma’s innate pessimism
underestimated the potential for thievery. Once, when she
was in the stockroom, a customer made off with her solid bronze
cash register, a pre-electronic machine as heavy as a bank
vault. Despite her girth, flat feet, and advanced age, Grandma
took off after the slow-moving criminal and forced him to
turn over his prize. The startled thief was lucky—Grandma
merely pressed charges. She had threatened to break his neck.
"The more I see of men, the more I like dogs."
—Madame De Staël (1766-1817)
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous,
he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between
a dog and a man."
—Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they
—Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human
stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former."
—Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"Only the mediocre are always at their best."
—Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944