The Notebooks
of F. Scott Fitzgerald


(E) Epigrams, Wise Cracks and Jokes

313 A man says to another man: “I’d certainly like to steal your girl. Second man: “I’d give her to you, but she’s part of a set.”

314 Has D.P. injured you anyway. No, but don’t remind her. Maybe she hasn’t done her bad deed for the day.

315 The movies are the only court where the judge goes to the lawyer for advice.

316 Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.

317 Not a word in the Roosevelt inaugural was as logical as Zangara saying he shot at Roosevelt because he had a stomach ache.

318 Agility (vitality)—pleasing people you perversely shouldn’t please and can’t reach.

319 Her unselfishness came in pretty small packages well wrapped.

320 After all the portrait of an old shoe by Van Gogh hangs in the Louvre, but where is there a portrait of Van Gogh by an old shoe.

321 Berry Wall. He doesn’t dare go back. He was drafted for the Civil War and he doesn’t know it’s over.

322 Optimism is the content of small men in high places.

323 Send up a fat bell boy and a whip.

324 She’s bashful. She has small pox. She stumbles so she couldn’t get up.

325 Wouldn’t a girl rather have half of him than a whole Spic with a jar of pomade thrown in? Life was so badly arranged—better no women at all than only one woman.

326 One of those tragic efforts like repainting your half of a delapidated double house.

327 Bryan to Darrow. Fellow Apes of the Scopes trial.

328 Trying to support a large and constantly increasing French family who jokingly referred to themselves as “our servants.”

329 Sent a girl flowers on Mother’s Day.

330 You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.

331 The cleft palate (crested parrot): “Bring it along.” “Can’t very well leave it home.”

332 Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind. There’s no other definition of it.

333 Get a man for Elspeth, a man for Elspeth, was the cry. This was difficult because Elspeth had had so many men. Two of her sisters rode, so to speak, Elspeth’s discarded mounts.

334 Nervous system from Pthodemy Club (Dean Clark’s)

335 Switzerland is a country where very few things begin, but many things end.

336 A machine for blowing the movable snot from the nasal cavities of

337 No such word in the English language as Cannes.

338 An American—Ou allez-vous pour les huitre (meaning Easter.)

339 Irish chemist.

340 Cotton manufacturer who worries because African chiefs go in for rayon.

341 No grand idea was ever born in a conference but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.

342 Ye Old Hooke Shoppe

343 Movie man says about engaged current mistress of

344 Genius goes around the world in its youth incessantly apologizing for having large feet. What wonder that later in life it should be inclined to raise those feet too swiftly to fools and bores.

345 Death in most countries is considered practically fatal.

346 When anyone announces to you how little they drink you can- be sure it’s a regime they just started.

347 Thank gravity for working your bowels.

348 No such thing as a man willing to be honest—that would be like a blind man willing to see.

349 Hospitality is a wonderful thing. If people really want you they’ll have you even if the cook has just died in the house of small-pox.

350 Suddenly he turned in bed and put both his arms around her arm. Her free hand touched his hair.
“You’ve been bad,” she said.
“I can’t help it.”
She sat with him silently for half an hour; then she changed her position so that her arm was under his head. Stooping over him, she kissed him on the brow. (See Two Wrongs.)

351 Any walk through a park that runs between a double line of mangy trees and passes brazenly by the ladies’ toilet is invariably known as “Lover’s Lane.”

352 Gynecologist to trace his pedigree.

353 Women are going to refuse to build with anything but crushed brick.

354 Not 1% of the dressed up biddies of the Junior League could possibly be regarded as ladies except by each other.

355 Brushes called Andy and Bill Gump

356 Few people die of sin, but a complications of sins

357 The Black Shirt
The Brown Shirt
The Stuffed Shirt

358 Wanted for
6 C. grade for pipe laying
1 A grade moron (experienced foreman)
2 B grade imbeciles 3 o’clock ask for Mr. Jones

359 Magazine—the Parlor Pink

360 Proud words that eventually revenged themselves by meaning nothing at all

361 One of toughs: he’s rich, he’s got caviare between his teeth

362 Secret of the Balkans

363 Blackmail “Made sweet moan”

364 Shy beaten man named Victor
Clumsy girls named Grace
Great truck drivers named Earl and Cecil

365 She was one of those people who would just as soon starve in a garret with a man—if she didn’t have to.

366 Beatrice Lillie broke up the British Empire with “March to the Roll of the Drums”

367 Mencken forgives much to the Catholic church perhaps because it has an index

368 All my characters killed each other off in the first act because I couldn’t think of any more hard boiled things for them to say.

369 They thought a child would be nice too because they had a nursery and the Harold Lloyds had one.

370 They have more money (Earnest’s wisecrack)

371 She’s got to be a loyal, frank person if she’s got to bitch everyone in the world to do it.

372 For a statesman—any school child knows that hot air rises to the top

373 Nothing to do but marry them (the Murphys)

374 Suicide and wife arrive in Cuba.

375 Let’s all live together.

376 Debut—the first time a young girl is seen drunk in public.

377 He repeated to himself an old French proverb he had made up that morning.

378 A sleeping porch is a back room with no pictures on the walls. It should contain at least one window.

379 Kill the scrub sire is our slogan.

380 Why can’t you be square? Well, when I was young I used to play with old automobile tires.

381 Forgotten is forgiven.

382 If all your clothes are worn to the same state it means you go out too much.

383 American actresses now use European convents as a sort of female Muldoon’s.

384 You must stoop a little in order to jump.

385 For a car—Excuse my lust.

386 Andre Gide lifted himself by his own jockstrap so to speak—and one would like to see him hoisted on his own pedarasty.

387 Creditors’ jokes

388 Like the man that crossed the ocean three times on the same woman.

389 Test of a good mind.

390 The guy that played Sergeant Quirt in Romeo & Juliet.

391 A poet named Constantly Aching did all the plagiarism for me.

392 Three men better known as Christ’s nails.

393 The spiritual stomach of the race was ruined those fifty years when mid-western women didn’t go to the toilet.

394 Take us to the Cambridge Legs—I mean the Cambridge Arms. Or any place around there.

395 To bring on the revolution it may be necessary to work inside the communist party.

396 They try to be Jesus (Forsyth) while I only attempt to be God, which is easier.

397 He said: Our Rhododendrons (roads are demned ’uns)

398 He had Cheyne-Store breathing.

399 To most women art is a form of scandal.

400 Impersonating 46 Presidents at once.

401 All things come to him who mates.

402 Trained nurses on duty should not be allowed to talk in their sleep.

403 “What kind of man was he?”
“Well, he was one of those men who come in a door and make any woman with them look guilty.”

404 Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.

405 We put an ashtray in the window (for a lamp).

406 I’m on such a rigid diet they won’t even let me lick a stamp.

407 Dietitians: They have made great progress in the last few years. They know pretty definitely that bichloride of mercury or arsenic in the right dose will kill you and that food should probably be eaten rather than taken in gas form or over the radio.

408 Honi soit que Malibu

409 1870 made Clemenceau and Clemenceau made 1933

410 Trained nurses who eat as if they didn’t own the food but it was just lent them.

411 parked his pessimism in her sun-parlour.

412 No such thing as graceful old age

413 Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.

414 Bookkeeping is a subject without sex appeal

415 What is the point at which loan becomes property of loanee and at the offer of a refund one says “But I don’t like to take your money.” What is the point when one accepts return of loan with most profuse thanks.

416 The inevitable shallowness that goes with people who have learned everything by experience.

417 Somebody’s specimen hijacked on way to doctor’s.

418 The biggest temptation we can offer people to let us talk is to cry “say” (or dites) to them

419 “EX-WHITE-SLAVER,”—the authorship being identified with touching modesty as “By a Man Who Still is One.”

420 “This isn’t the south. This is the center of the country. We’re only polite half the time.”

421 “What’ll we do with the animals when you’re away?”
“You mean the roaches in the kitchen? We’ll leave those with the veterinarian—he’ll take care of them.”

422 A girl with ankles like that has no privileges.

423 I’m going through the crises of my life like railroad ties.

424 I’m from Washington
Fine—what’s the news from Moronsville

425 Lincoln’s “all the people.”

426 For Esther M. in memory of an old friendship or a prolonged quarrel that has gone on so long and accumulated so much moss that it is much the same thing.

427 Mr. and Mrs. Jay O’Brien moving like the center of population.

428 There are no second acts in American lives.

429 My Spitback, my Error, my Mistake (for divorsed husband)

430 Somewhat relieved to find he was fired—he had, so to speak, stuck it out to the end.

431 “I can’t pay you much,” said the editor to the author, “but I can give you some good publicity.”
“I can’t pay you much,” said the advertiser to the editor, “but I can give you some beautiful ads.”

432 God appears to man who discovers that he has unmistakable Japanese features.

433 When he buys his ties he has to ask if gin will make them run.

434 Pacifism like bringing boy up to have brown skin on his—

435 Very bad jokes should be known as “employer’s jokes” or “creditor’s jokes.” The listener has to laugh heartily so it seems wasteful to use up a good story on him.

436 The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was as succulent as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before.

437 You are contemplating a gigantic merger between J.P. Morgan and the Queensboro Bridge.

438 To Mathews: I certainly do wish I could grow up like you fellows and write about all the wonderful things that are happening in the newspapers. But here I sit like a big fat fairy thinking that maybe if I really knew why (club stuff here) I would really know almost as much about the social revolution as those deep thinkers Mike Gold ect.

439 Beware of him who would give his last sou to a beggar in the street. He would also give it to you and that is something you would not be able to endure.

440 Fashion Blessing. Think how many flappers would have been strangled like Porphyria except for bobbed hair.

441 Don’t get thinking it’s a real country because you can get a lot of high school kids into gym suits and have them spell out “bananas” for the news reels.

442 I used to hie you up to a nervous excitement that bore a resemblance to intelligence.

443 The priesthood: a method eating the cake of Christian ascetism and having it too.

444 I may be just an old visionary—but I seem to see Scottie walking around without overshoes.

445 Turnbull idea—Neo-post-thoreau

446 The young architect referred to women’s protuberances as “flying buttresses.”

447 It grows harder to write because there is much less weather than when I was a boy and practically no men and women at all.

1720 The 20th Century reached New York an hour late, and the station master made it back all the way to Chicago to get an excuse.

1728 Pershing shot for cowardice in 1918.

1732 The aristocracy can remake their manners overnight—if it were not for the philosophy of his story, the world would be governed by Louis-Phillipes (and Mary Harrimans)

1738 Of a man: It never entered his head that he was somewhat of a liability.

1751 Oh, I can cover paper like you do till I’m ninety.

1760 At M.I.T., he studied birth control, flood control, self control and remote control.

1777 One of those mysteries like why Southerners have big ears, and why chess is listed in the sporting news.

1788 Invention of two-end cork tip cigs.

1790 At Groton they have to sleep in gold cubicles and wash at an old platinum pump. This toughens them up so they can refuse to help the poor.

1797 “Wealth, wit and beauty of two continents.” “What’s the other continent?” “Africa. Starks is from Africa.”

1799 “When I go to bed at night, I put on so many blankets that I have to put a book-mark in to tell me where to get out.”
Nora Flynn.

1802 A movie wedding. Ushers were Harold Lloyd, Victor Varconi, Ronald Coleman, and Donald Duck.


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