Monday, November 05, 2007

Just How Many Levels of "Deep" Do I Possess?

"It's nice to do nice things."

I was on the phone with a friend earlier tonight, and somehow we got to talking about charitable acts, and how they affect who we are. And before I could stop myself...those words came out of my mouth.

While I wasn't trying too hard to be terribly profound, I realized that what I just said made me sound like a poorly written Hallmark card, one that was run through the shredder before it even made it to the shelves.

I cringed and tried to explain my way out of it, suggesting that perhaps that one simple sentence was really a Zen koan of sorts, holding within its six syllables all the great mysteries of life and the secret of eternal happiness.

But let's face it: when you use the word "nice" twice in four words, you've pretty much hit rock bottom.

"Nice" always reminds me of my high school English teacher, who looked upon that word with such great disdain that he'd wrinkle up his entire face, and barely squeeze it through gritted teeth when he was forced to say it. There were plenty of more descriptive words to choose from, he said. Leave that one at the back of the line where it belongs.

I'm a total quote junkie, and often times, searching for the quotes at the end of these blog entries is more fun than writing the entries themselves. You never know when you're going to stumble across a great profundity uttered by Bob Dylan or John F. Kennedy, or Kermit the Frog.

And I'm not the only addict...because the Internets contain pages upon pages of quotes gathered from many eclectic sources.

I think it's beyond safe to say, though, that the six words that begin this entry will featured on a page of award-winning quotes.

(and, yes...I'm aware that the photo up there is really a place in France that rhymes with "geese," but I wanted to add something here besides words. And when I googled images, that's what came up. And I thought it looked, umm...


"It's be nice, to the nice."
—Frank Burns


  1. Nice post.


    A quote (perhaps more of a slogan, if you will) attributed to Vonnegut goes like this:

    "Goddammit, you've got to be kind."

    It's an axiom that brings me great comfort. Mostly because it's short and easy to remember.

    However, I'm certain "Goddammit, you've got to be nice" wouldn't carry similar value.

    Your teacher was right.

    Nice sucks.

  2. Hmm... I think I had that teacher. He lives half a block from my parents now - and is still cracked.

    I leave you with a few somewhat-related quotes using a form of the word.

    "I like Mass better in Latin. It's nicer when you don't know what they're saying."

    "I don't like scoundrels. I like nice men."

    "Calm down, Neddilly-diddily-diddily-diddily.... They did their best.... Shoddilly-iddily-iddily-diddly... Gotta be nice.... hostility-ility-bility-dility- Aw, hell, diddly-ding-dong-crap! Can't you morons do anything right?"

    "While You Were Sleeping, " "The Empire Strikes Back, " and "The Simpsons."

    Nicely done.

  3. Cracked, perhaps, Burt...but in such a refreshing way, don't you think? I've thought about him many MANY times over the years, and I've come to realize that we didn't see his true genius when were just dumb high school kids.

    His chalkboards and his classroom and his mind were completely overflowing with knowledge and information.

    He ranks way up there as one of my all-time favorite teachers.


    Jeff, while my quote will never have a hall-of-fame career, yours just might!

    "Nice sucks."

    (talk about short and easy to remember! good good stuff.)