Writer Fran Lebowtiz has something to say on the subject matter of just about everything. Heralded as New York City’s greatest cultural critic – rightly so – she disapproves of most things and dislikes much more, also rightly so. A popular regular on the beloved David Letterman show and the stone-faced, smart-as-a-whip Judge Janice Goldberg on Law and Order, yet her most crucial work rests in her sardonic and cheeky observations and musings based on life as she sees it. A master of the excesses of laziness (self proclaimed laziest person in the world), Lebowitz’s has been faced with a writer’s block which has surpassed twenty years from the time she announced her still-unfinished book, Exterior Signs of Wealth, and when asked of its delay, in true literary hero manner, she replied, “Full-time I’m watching daytime TV.”
Without any further ado, the brilliant, timeless Fran Lebowitz:
1. The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.
2. “Yes,” he said. “Why don’t you write a movie for us?” I explained that my schedule could not, at this time, accommodate such a task, seeing as how I was up to my ears in oversleeping, unfounded rumors and superficial friendships.
3. Do not have your child’s hair cut by a real hairdresser in a real hairdressing salon. He is, at this point, far too short to be exposed to contempt.
4. Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.
5. Wearing dark glasses at the breakfast table is socially acceptable only if you are legally blind or partaking of your morning meal out of doors during a total eclipse of the sun.
6. In light of the fact that I am a frequent, not to say permanent, fixture at even the most most obscure of public events, I hereby vow to stop once and for all telling people that I never go out.
7. An interesting personality is, in an adult, insufferable. In a teenager it is frequently punishable by law.
8. Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the same time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers.
9. Original thought is like original sin: both happened before your were born to people you could not possibly have met.
10. A salad is not a meal. It is a style.
11. Try to derive some comfort from the knowledge that if your guidance counselor were working up to his potential, he wouldn’t still be in high school
12. Chocolate chip cookies have perhaps been recently overvalued. I will not aggravate the situation further by opening yet another cunningly named store selling these items at prices more appropriate to a semester’s tuition at Harvard Law School.
13. Success is something I will dress for when I get there, and not until. Cross my heart and hope to die.
14. The only appropriate reply to the question “Can I be frank?” is “Yes, if I can be Barbara.”
15. If, while watching the sun set on a used-car lot in Los Angeles, you are struck by the parallels between this image and the inevitable fate of humanity, do not under any circumstances, write it down.
16. If food did not exist it would be well-nigh impossible to get certain types off the phone, as one would be unable to say, “Look, I’ve got to run but let’s have dinner soon.”
17. Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.
18. Wealth and power are much more likely to be the result of breeding than they are of reading.
19. I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use. Pleasant because one is in the best possible company and safe because sleep is the consummate protection against the unseemliness that is the invariable consequence of being awake. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. Sleep is death without the responsibility.
20. Because in New York it’s not whether you win or lose – it’s how you lay the blame.