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Quotes of the day: Mignon McLaughlin

Published Friday, December 19, 2014 @ 6:13 PM EST
Dec 19 2014

Mignon McLaughlin (June 6, 1913 - December 20, 1983) was an American journalist and author, remembered primarily for her two volume Neurotic's Notebook. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A car is useless in New York, essential everywhere else. The same with good manners.

A husband only worries about a particular Other Man; a wife distrusts her whole species.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Always live up to your standards- by lowering them, if necessary.

Anything you lose automatically doubles in value.

Cash is the one gift everyone despises and no one turns down.

Charity is a good way of reminding God that if we can do it, He can.

Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality.

Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.

Desire is in men a hunger, in women only an appetite.

Despair is anger with no place to go.

Don't be yourself- be someone a little nicer.

Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those changes that would make all the difference.

Every group feels strong once it has found a scapegoat.

Every now and then you run across radiantly attractive people and you're delighted to find they adore you, till you realize that they adore just about everybody- and that's what's made them radiantly attractive.

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.

Failure can get to be a rather comfortable old friend.

Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others. Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.

Few women care what a man looks like, and a good thing too.

Forget about calories- everything makes thin people thinner, and fat people fatter.

Good-looking girls break hearts, and good-hearted girls mend them.

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.

How can a man marry wisely in his twenties? The girl he's going to wind up wanting hasn't even been born.

How tired God must be of guilt and loneliness, for that is all we ever bring to Him.

I have seen messed-up people of forty who still seemed salvageable, and children of six or seven who almost surely were not.

I often pray, though I'm not really sure Anyone's listening; and I phrase it carefully, just in case He's literary.

If it came true, it wasn’t much of a dream.

If the second marriage really succeeds, the first one didn't really fail.

If you can tell anyone about it, it's not the worst thing you ever did.

If you have to do it every day, for God’s sake learn to do it well.

If you made a list of the reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping.

If you must reread old love letters, better pick a room without mirrors.

In retrospect, our triumphs could as easily have happened to someone else; but our defeats are uniquely our own.

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.

It is important for our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to friendship that we are not.

It's impossible to be loyal to your family, your friends, your country, and your principles, all at the same time.

It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.

Life marks us all down, so it's just as well that we start out by overpricing ourselves.

Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over its head.

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and difficult as that.

Many are saved from sin by being so inept at it.

Many things can make you miserable for weeks; few can bring you a whole day of happiness.

Men gossip less than women, but mean it.

Men prefer brief praise, pitched high; women are satisfied with praise in a lower key, just so it goes on and on.

Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.

Most of us would rather risk catastrophe than read the directions.

Most sermons sound to me like commercials- but I can't make out whether God is the Sponsor or the Product.

Mumps, measles, and puppy love are terrible after twenty.

My religious position: I think that God could do a lot better, and I'm willing to give Him the chance.

Neurosis is no worse than a bad cold; you ache all over, and it's made you a mess, but you won't die from it.

Neurotics dream of a good life, or a great suicide note.

Neurotics think of the past with resentment, and the future with dread; the present just doesn't exist.

No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved.

No one really listens to anyone else. Try it for a while, and you'll see why.

Revenge leads to an empty fullness, like eating dirt.

'Pull yourself together' is seldom said to anyone who can.

The best work is done with the heart breaking, or overflowing.

The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.

The excesses of love soon pass, but its insufficiencies torment us forever.

The fear of being laughed at makes cowards of us all.

The head never rules the heart, but just becomes its partner in crime.

The ideal home: big enough for you to hear the children, but not very well.

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.

The poor have the same basic pleasures as the rich, and the rich will always resent it.

The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it.

The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.

The time to begin most things is ten years ago.

The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.

There are now electrical appliances with the main unit so sealed in that it cannot be got at for repair. There have always been human beings like that.

There's no way to repay a mother's love, or lack of it.

Those who turn to God for comfort may find comfort but I do not think they will find God.

We are all such a waste of our potential, like three-way lamps using one-way bulbs.

We climb mountains because they are there, and worship God because He is not.

We have to call it 'freedom': who'd die for 'a lesser tyranny'?

We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.

We sometimes feel that we have been really understood, but it was always long ago, by someone now dead.

We wake in the night, to stereophonic silence.

We waste a lot of time running after people we could have caught by just standing still.

We'd all like a reputation for generosity, and we'd all like to buy it cheap.

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.

Whatever we worship, short of God, is sure to be our undoing.

When a stranger identifies you from a friend's description, it's just as well you didn't hear the description.

When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.

When threatened, the first thing a democracy gives up is democracy.

With men, as with women, the main struggle is between vanity and comfort; but with men, comfort often wins.

Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there’s something specific you want him to do.

You never realize how tacky your furniture is till you try to give it to the Salvation Army and they won't take it.

You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages.

'Your money or your life.' We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.

Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.

Categories: Mignon McLaughlin, Quotes of the day


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