Robert Fulghum Quotations

The Quippery

Anything can happen. The great banana peel of existence is always on the floor somewhere.

Anything not worth doing is worth not doing well.

Fulghum’s Tool Rule: “Unpredictable complexity that replaces reliable simplicity is not progress.” He gives the following examples of simplicity that would be hard to improve on:
A Wheelbarrow
A pencil made of wood and graphite, with an eraser on the end.
A paper clip.
A clothes pin.
A claw hammer.
A pocket knife with two blades.
A classic mouse trap.
A shovel.
An axe.
A broom.

Doing a straight-forward, clear-cut task that has a beginning and an end balances out the complexity-without-end that often vexes the rest of my life. Sacred simplicity.

I keep sputtering out at intersections where life choices must be made and I either know too much or not enough. The examined life is no picnic.

Imagine that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are far out in the English countryside in pursuit of a unique case involving an agricultural mystery.
They have settled down in their sleeping bags in a small tent for the night.
Just before dawn, Sherlock nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says,
“Watson – look up and tell me what you notice.”
Dr. Watson tells him that he sees the stars – that the clear sky means the weather will be good in the coming day – that the very faint light in the east says it is almost dawn. “What do you notice, Holmes?”
Holmes sits up. “I notice that someone has stolen our tent during the night.”

Infinite possibility in all things is a certainty. That pretty much covers theology and philosophy for me.

I once listed all the good things I did over the past year, and then turned them into resolution form and backdated them. That was a good feeling.

I use Cheer. I like the idea of a happy wash.

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon … And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air … and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas.

On a very local scale, a refrigerator is the center of the universe. On the inside is food essential to life, and on the outside of the door is a summary of the life events of the household.

One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem.

One of the very few reasons I had any respect for my mother when I was thirteen was because she would reach into the sink with her bare hands – bare hands – and pick up that lethal gunk and drop it into the garbage. To top that, I saw her reach into the wet garbage bag and fish around in there looking for a lost teaspoon. Bare hands – a kind of mad courage.

Question: If you could live your life over, what changes would you make?
Answer: None. Well, maybe I wouldn’t have eaten some bad oysters, and would forgo the times I had too much wine and was miserably hung over. But otherwise, I’d live it all over again – knowing that the hard and troublesome events almost always led to something good in the long run. Every difficulty contained possibilities for something that proved better.

Some of the most wonderful things have to be believed to be seen. Like flying reindeer and angels. Like peace on earth, goodwill, hope, and joy. Real because they can be imagined into being. Christmas is not a date on a calendar but a state of mind.

Think what a better world it would be if we all had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.

We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.

Weddings seem to be magnets for mishap and for whatever craziness lurks in family closets. In more ways than one, weddings bring out the ding-dong on everybody involved.