I'd tried to straighten him out, but there's only so much you can do for a person who thinks Auschwitz is a brand of beer.

I'm surrounded by people who have more money than they know what to do with, and none of them have earned it.

All of us take pride and pleasure in the fact that we are unique, but I'm afraid that when all is said and done the police are right: it all comes down to fingerprints.

As a child I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts.

Do I exaggerate? Boy, do I, and I'd do it more if I could get away with it.

Look, I'll say to Jesus, enough is enough. I suggest we nail some boards together and have ourselves an old-fashioned crucifixion.

Every clue was italicized with a burst of surging trumpets, and under questioning, the suspects snapped like toothpicks, buckling in less time than it took to soft-boil an egg.

Either he was suffering a terrible case of gas or he had a pint-size child practicing the trumpet in his back pocket.

Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings.

The Korean man nodded, the way you do when you're a foreigner and understand that someone has finished a sentence.

This was for me one of those adult moments involving a choice. Do you shrug your shoulders and say, I couldn't get it to work either, or do you tell the woman she spent the weekend trying to open a wine bottle with the broken knob to the dishwasher?

Use the word y'all, and before you knew it, you'd find yourself in a haystack French-kissing an underage goat. Along with grits and hush puppies, the abbreviated form of you all was a dangerous step on an insidious path leading straight to the doors of the Baptist church.

I don't know that it had anything to do with us, my father said. But how could it have not? Doesn't the blood of every suicide splash back on our faces?

My first boyfriend was black as well, but that doesn't prove I'm color-blind, just that I like big butts.

I don't think of myself as overly prissy, but it bothered me to find a finger on my bedroom floor.

What if I'd wasted my entire life comparing myself with people who didn't really matter? Try as I might, I still can't wrap my mind around it.

When the week was over, we went to Paris. There are any number of stores there that time seems to have forgotten. At one of them I bought five rubber noses. That's one for every serial killer I read about while I was in France.

Then the flight attendants, garbage bags in hand, glided down the aisle, looking each one of us square in the face and whispering, without discrimination, Your trash. You're trash. Your family's trash.

Across town, over in the East Village, the graffiti was calling for the rich to be eaten, imprisoned, or taxed out of existence. Though it sometimes seemed like a nice idea, I hoped the revolution would not take place during my lifetime. I didn't want the rich to go away until I could at least briefly join their ranks.

Whereas our other grandparents asked what grade we were in or which was our favorite ashtray, Ya Ya never expressed any interest in that sort of thing. Childhood was something you endured until you were old enough to work, and money was the only thing that mattered.

Then there are vegans, macrobiotics, and a new group, flexitarians, who eat meat if not too many people are watching.

The next summer we went to France for six weeks, and I added another 420 words, most of them found in the popular gossip magazine, ‘Voici'. Man-eater, I'd say. Gold digger, roustabout, louse.

You kids might think you're close, but just wait until your father and I are gone, and you're left to divide up our property.

One of the things we laughed about was an old episode of The Newlywed Game. The host asked the wives, What's the most exotic place you've ever made love? He was likely expecting The kitchen or On a tennis court at night, but one woman didn't quite understand the question and answered, In the butt.

On a busy day twenty-two thousand people come to visit Santa, and I was told that it is an elf's lot to remain merry in the face of torment and adversity. I promised to keep that in mind.

Sometimes with 'The New Yorker,' they have grammar rules that just don't feel right in my mouth.

Here I've given him a good eight inches and a shot at immortality and he'll turn on me the same way he did last year when I asked him to pose for a few nude sketches. Ingrate.

I find it ridiculous to assign a gender to an inanimate object incapable of disrobing and making an occasional fool of itself. Why refer to lady crack pipe or good sir dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?

The drama bug strikes hardest with Jews, homosexuals and plump women who wear their hair in bangs. These are people who, for one reason or another, desperately crave attention.

The fake slap invariably makes contact, adding the elements of shock and betrayal to what had previously been plain old-fashioned fear.

My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.

I looked from face to face, exaggerating flaws and reminding myself that these boys did not like me. The hope was that I might crush any surviving atom attraction, but as has been the case for my entire life, the more someone dislikes me the more attractive he becomes.

That be common for I, also, but be more strong, you. Much work and someday, you talk pretty. People start love you soon. Maybe tomorrow, okay.

I've never gone on Facebook and am not sure I understand it. The same goes for Twitter. I have someone sending tweets and pretending to be me, but I don't know why.

Given the choice between four perfectly acceptable movies, they invariably opt for a walk through the Picasso museum or a tour of the cathedral, saying, I didn't come all the way to Paris so I can sit in the dark. They make it sound so bad. Yes, I say, but this is the French dark. It's… darker than the dark we have back home.

You have what we in France call ‘good time teeth,' she said. Why on earth would you want to change them? Um, because I can floss with the sash to my bathrobe?

It's astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex—trying to determine what goes where and how often. They can't imagine any system outside their own, and seem obsessed with the idea of roles, both in bed and out of it.

I'm going to have you fired! and I wanted to lean over and say, I'm going to have you killed.

Gambling to me is what a telephone pole might be to a groundhog. He sees that it's there but doesn't for the life of him understand why.

They were nothing like the French people I had imagined. If anything, they were too kind, too generous and too knowledgable in the fields of plumbing and electricity.

Dad wants to talk about her death—he needs to—but unlike the rest of us, who yak incessantly about our feelings, he has no vocabulary for it and is reduced to the clichés you'd find on a sympathy card. It's like not knowing a language.

Nobody pours stuffing like you do, my friend.

I wonder whose job it was to assign these sexes in the first place. Did he do his work right there in the sanitarium, or did they rent him a little office where he could get away from all the noise?

I thought of those people on the bus, going from one shitty place to the next, expecting nothing to change but the landscape. Soon I'd be sitting beside them, sharing my potato chips and thinking of them as my kind of crowd.

True art was based upon despair, and the important thing was to make yourself and those around you as miserable as possible.

I sometimes read books on my iPad.

If you don't think a mental patient has the right to bring a sawed-off shotgun to the church where his ex-girlfriend is getting married, you're part of the problem.

Like all of my friends, she's a lousy judge of character.

Do you have a feel for the guitar? Do you have any idea what this little baby is capable of? Without waiting for an answer, he climbed up into his chair and began playing Light My Fire, adding, This one is for Joan.