The knocking out of a pipe can be made almost as important as the smoking of it, especially if there are nervous people in the room. A good, smart knock of a pipe against a tin wastebasket and you will have a neurasthenic out of his chair and into the window sash in no time.
(Robert Benchley (1889-1945), U.S. writer, humorist. No Poems or Around the World Backwards and Sideways, "How I Create," Harper & Brothers (1932).)
I wanted to learn to fly, not because it was the smart thing to do in the 1920s, but because I was afraid of anything that flew.... I reasoned that if I learned to fly, I might conquer my fear of it. The remedy worked.
(Joy Bright Hancock (1898-1986), U.S. naval officer. Lady in the Navy, ch. 3 (1972).
In 1925, Hancock's husband of fifteen months had died in a plane crash. Here she was explaining why she became a student pilot in the late 1920s. Later, she would become an officer in the WAVES, the U. S. Navy's women's division.)
He seems like an average type of man. He's not, like smart. I'm not trying to rag on him or anything. But he has the same mentality I haveand I'm in the eighth grade.
(Vanessa Martinez (b. c. 1978), U.S. eighth-grade student. As quoted in Newsweek magazine, p. 17 (June 1, 1992).
Commenting on Vice-President Dan Quayle (b. 1947; Vice-President, 1989-1992) after he visited the Bret Harte Middle School in south-central Los Angeles, California. Quayle was often criticized as an unimpressive public speaker and as having mediocre intellectual ability.)
In the old days villains had moustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don't want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings.