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Poll: Words to Live By

As every Joss Whedon fan knows, television and genre films are full of useful life mottoes. From "Fire bad; tree pretty" to "Well, you were myth-taken," there is--as Billie has demonstrated--a Buffy quote for every occasion. But Buffy is not the only show brimming with useful, quotable lines or decent life lessons.

For instance, I base my own philosophy on "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." But that's just me.

What about you? Is there a pithy quote from a TV show, film, or even (gasp!) work of literature that you find yourself using often, or completely and wholeheartedly agreeing with? Buffy quotes are welcome, but so are quotes from anything else!


  1. When in search of good advice I always look to the Doctor:

    "A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting."

    "There's no point being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes."

    "Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway."

    “Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!”

    "Never trust a man with dirty fingernails!"

    “Never ignore coincidence. Unless, of course, you’re busy. In which case, always ignore coincidence.”

  2. Of course, there are all of the Buffy quotes that I use more than I should, like "I have many relaxing hobbies. I enjoy cross-referencing". But I've also always been partial to the depressing "Life is short, and then you die". I don't remember where I heard it, but I'm pretty sure it was a TV show.

  3. OMG, it must be the drink I had with lunch -- I rarely drink -- but it's "Life is *tough* and then you die." Of course, it's also short.

  4. My contributions:

    Joss Whedon: "Very occasionally, if you really pay attention, life doesn't suck."

    Frieda Norris: "Before you criticize someone, you should always walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes."

    Victor Hugo, Les Misérables: "It is nothing to die; it is dreadful not to live."

  5. Pensatucky, Orange Is The New Black: "I'm not crazy. I'm chosen."

  6. "You gotta put down the ducky if you wanna play the saxophone." (Hoots The Owl and Ernie, Sesame Street)

  7. Billie -- a drink at lunch is always a good idea! But, I've always heard it as "life's a bitch and then you die..."

    I have so many favorite quotes, it is hard to choose just one. But, if forced to, it would be Isak Dinesen's “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea.”

    My favorite television quote is "I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it." Spike -- who has all the great lines.

  8. "There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from." Charles M. Schultz

  9. I love this quote from "Earshot" :

    " My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening."

  10. I'll stick with the master of them all:

    "Do, or do not. There is no try."


  11. Otherwise I'm usually lousy with quotes, can never remember them!

    I am very fond of "Aim to misbehave" though! And "I'll be back" always cracks a smile on my face! And I can't help but smile with a tear in my eye when I think of "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" :p

  12. I find there is a Friends quote for every occasion.

    "He's her lobster"

    "We were on a break"

    "I'm not so great at the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?"

    Also The West Wing:

    "Babies come with hats"

    'This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out."'

    "I could have countered that but I'd already moved on to other things in my head."

    "How's it going?"
    "Hard to say."

    Plus the awesome anti-bigotry rant, which may have come from elsewhere but was brought to the UK by The West Wing:

    "I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits."

    And my favourite Buffy line of all, suitable for absolutely all occasions, is:

    "That's between you and your God."

    it's just so very useful!

  13. "there's nothing we can't face, except for bunnies"

    "have you got anything in an aquarium?"

    "which one of you bitches wants to dance"

    "there's something that doesn't make sense, lets go poke it with a stick"


    "it's hot in the worm"

    "i'm a prostitute robot from the future"

    all of these come in handy from time to time.

  14. Reading the comments is fun!
    Yes, "do or do not; there is no try" is in my head, especially when I realize I'm half-a**ing a task.

    When I start to jump to conclusions about someone, I like Babylon 5's "No one here is exactly what he appears."

    Also from B5, when I wonder whether it's too late to make a difference with something, I like "The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote."

    And finally, this is one I keep in mind when I'm attempting to express or understand something important: "I was merely being specific. In my experience, if you can not say what you mean, you can never mean what you say. The details are everything."

  15. I'll refer to the wisdom of one Bart Simpsom and go with:

    "I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I liked it and I don't know why I will do it again."

  16. There are so many Buffy quotes that apply. One that came to my mind several times last semester because of professors I had was this one:

    "He is a monster. At least you're upfront about it."

    And this one is great:

    "There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that's us."

    A quote from Joss Whedon I really love (I'm even thinking of making a shirt with it):

    "Remember to always be yourself, unless you suck."

    And this one from Cougar Town:

    "You can’t hear the world laughing at you if you’re laughing harder."

  17. From the Simpsons: "Vampire is not a career choice"
    From the Wire:Bunk "A man must have a code"
    Omar:"Oh no doubt."

  18. Billie, your "Life is short" quote sounds a bit like Veronica Mars' quote in the pilot episode, "Life's a bitch and then you die." Is that what you were thinking of?

  19. Beth, I honestly don't remember where I heard it, but it was long before Veronica Mars. Rob Thomas probably heard it the same place I did.

  20. Billie, I thought you were joking above. Isn't that quote from the Buffy pilot? It's what Buffy tells Willow in the Bronze, and what winds up inspiring Willow to go necking with a strange vampire in the cemetery.

  21. No, I'm pretty sure Buffy told Willow to seize the day. Right?

  22. I thought it went something like:

    B: "The way I see it, life is short, and then you die. So you have to [have fun]."

    W: "Ah! Carpe diem!"

    B: "Huh?"

    I'm at home. I'll check and get back to you in about 10 minutes.

  23. Okay, we were both partly right, and both partly wrong:

    B: "Well, my philosophy--do you want to hear my philosophy?"

    W: "Yeah, I do."

    B: "Life is short."

    W:" Life is short?"

    B: "Not original, I'll grant you, but it's true. You know, why waste time being all shy and worrying about some guy and worried about some guy if he's going to laugh at you."

    B: "Seize the moment, because tomorrow you might be dead."

    W: "Oh, that's nice!"

  24. In addition to my "life if pain" quote, another one I like is "Living is easy with eyes closed."

    Sure, it's really from "Strawberry Fields Forever," but it first came to my attention as a tattoo on Charlie Pace's arm (Lost). So I think of it as a TV quote.

  25. One that has really stuck with me was Sonmi-451's revelation from Cloud Atlas:

    "Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and with every kindness we birth our future"

    There's a huge amount of truth to it. Plus Doona Bae's delivery of it kills me.

    The West Wing is a great source of beautiful quotes. My favourite is:

    "Yes. And I'm going to win" from the end of Two Cathedrals


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