We walk alone in the world,’ the Moralist writes in his essay on Ideal Friendship, somewhat sadly. ‘Friends such as we desire are dreams and fables.’ Yet we never quite give up the hope of finding them. But what awful things happen to us, what snubs, what set-downs we experience, what shames and disillusions. We can never really tell what these new unknown persons may do to us. Sometimes they seem nice, and then begin to talk like gramophones. Sometimes they grab at us with moist hands, or breathe hotly on our necks, or make awful confidences, or drench us from sentimental slop-pails. And too often, among the thoughts in the loveliest heads, we come on nests of woolly caterpillars.

— Logan Pearsall Smith, All Trivia: A Collection of Reflections & Aphorisms


A penny for your thoughts, but a pound not to know them.

— Theodore Dalrymple, Midnight Maxims


Did you know that George Biden lives in the other White House? OK, I see hands in the air already. Yes, “George” Biden lives in the building that most of us know as the Capitol. Trump still lives in the main White House. I learned this from the weird guy who works in the refrigerated warehouse. Within five minutes of meeting him last year, he had already informed me that his third and current wife was a good one, a real keeper, unlike the previous two who both cheated on him. This one’s great. She brings him to and from work every day since he got that DUI and lost his license. Wonderful gal. Except she gets on the phone and speaks all that Mexican with her family…I didn’t ask to hear any of this! All I said was a perfunctory “Hey howyadoon.”

Everyone thinks I’m exaggerating when I say it, but no — I start from the assumption that most people are effing nuts and barely concealing the fact, and it only takes the slightest opening for them to demonstrate it for you. I’ve got enough friends. The drawbridge is up, the portcullis is down, and the moat is filled with piranhas.