Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Did I Say That, or Did Somebody Else?

"To stand on a precipice can be thrilling. To live there, less so."

I said that, but the person I said it to seemed both favorably impressed by the saying, and also familiar with it. Whereas I thought I made it up on the spot! She couldn't recall the source of the quote, though I suggested a few lofty possibilities. Later, I tried to Google various versions and permutations. No luck.

Anybody heard this one before? Who came up with that? ME??? Or did some otha sucka quipster beat me to the punch! If it's that damn Confucius again, I'm going to go all kung fu-cius on his ass I swear.

I was thinking also, that first off-the-head-top version might be fine-tuned a bit. Perhaps:

"To stand on a precipice can be thrilling. To live there, inconvenient."


limom said...

I like the first version.

Grant said...

It made me think of a play that I was in once.

"On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning."

When I first thought of the play I thought that the title was...

"On the Precipice or the Geography of Yearning."

I think this one is all you.

dogimo said...

@limon: yeah, me too. So far.

@Grant: that play sounds pretty deep and thinky!

blue said...

The first version is definitely best.

Is it possible she was mistaken or heard you say it before? If it's someone to whom you've said a lot of pithy and punchy things, perhaps it was just very similar to something you'd said before. Especially if you'd discussed similar subjects in the past.

I tried to find something similar for you, but in a 15-minute search or so, haven't had much luck. I did, however, find a couple of nice other quotations.

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."
Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne
(Pooh is more daring than I'd thought! What a little risk taker he is! Sounds more like Piglet's actions with Pooh's contemplation, if you ask me.)

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
Ray Bradbury

"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."
Kurt Vonnegut

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
Hunter S Thompson

Interesting how those last two sort of pair off together, with Hunter S. of course going that bit further. But a little shocking and maybe disturbing that both Ray Bradbury and possibly Pooh sound more like all-in risk takers than Kurt Vonnegut!

dogimo said...

These are some sweet quotes! I don't know, Vonnegut to me always seemed more keen-eyes-and-wry-observation than jump over a cliff. He's kind of like the one lemming standing off to the side of the stampede, saying to us "can you believe this?"

That is a very zen Pooh quote I must say! Like it. In fact, something similar happened to Siddhartha, I believe. Pooh does seem to exhibit mildly Buddhianic aspects, does he not? Suggestive.

Shocking. Disturbing.

As to your first remarks, I think that might be it - but yet when I said it, I was so sure I'd only just come up with it then! Still. I do tend to churn out a shitload of pithiness, as I go. Perhaps I'd said something similar. As you suggest.

blue said...

I also suggest that while you may not be able to come up with any similar quotation, there may indeed have been something similar said before in book, poem, philosophy text or what have you, and if she is or was an avid reader and came across that at some point, your statement could have simply tolled the bell of the similar words tucked away in her mind somewhere. It's pretty likely, given how many things have been said before, that someone had previously said something along those lines. Since someone has now even said: "Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers."

I often think , but try not to, of how impossible it would be to try to figure out where I heard or read something if I didn't note it down with a reference. And I don't often note things down with a reference anymore. There's just too little time. I'd rather just have the idea to consider, and not worry about where it came from. It's hard enough to make mind -room for all the ideas!

One way to tell: publish a book with this as a big statement in one part. If anyone comes at you with a lawsuit and original papers, there you go, you've found the similar statement!