Monday, August 02, 2004

"Puh-lenty of time."

The Movie: A Fish Called Wanda, 1988 (John Cleese, screenwriter; Charles Crichton, dir.)
Who says it: John Cleese as Archie Leach, a barrister-turned-fugitive
The context: Leach is trying to get Ken (Michael Palin), a stutterer, to reveal the location of the safety deposit box that holds a cache of diamonds. He knows never to rush a stutterer, but he’s frantic.
How to use it: To manage your own anxiety about running out of time, or to hurry other people along without being too obnoxious. You have to say it in a musical tone of voice, and "plenty" has three syllables. My friend Sue says this at least once a day, I think, when she's in an English-speaking environment.

Since I woke up a little after 4:00 this morning, at some primal level I obviously don't feel I have plenty of time. With luck, I have enough time. Time to murder and create, as T.S. Eliot says, and time yet for a hundred visions and revisions before the taking of a toast and tea.

I like toast, but I'm not as passionate about it as my brother Ed -- who nearly wept when he clicked the "toast" page on Jasper Fforde's website ( and discovered it was a joke.

Am I a little scattered today? Welcome to my world.

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