The Movie: Midnight Cowboy, 1969 (Waldo Salt, screenwriter, from the novel by James Leo Herlihy; John Schlesinger, dir.)
Who says it: Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo, a drifter in New York City
The context: Ratso is trying to cross a street when a cab almost hits him.
How to use it: To assert yourself when you feel besieged… or when you’re crossing a street in traffic.
I think it's fun to climb rock walls and scale 14-foot ladders. I have no trouble with rollercoasters, scuba diving, small planes, blind dates, steak tartare and many other experiences that rational human beings might consider intimidating. It's hard for me to cross a city street if I see traffic coming, even if the lights are with me. (I also don't like to make left turns, but that's another story.) This quotation comes in handy for me.
Greetings from Logan Airport, where I'm waiting for a small plane to take me back to Augusta. Every time I take the red-eye, I swear I'll never take a red-eye again... and then a year or so passes, and I think, "Well, how bad could it be?" and I book another overnight flight.
Red-eyes to continental Europe aren't so bad; the problem with red-eyes from California to the East Coast, or from the East Coast to London, is that they aren't long enough. Even if your eyes close on takeoff (and mine generally do), the flight's just over five hours, which is not a full night's sleep.
This past night I didn't even get that, because a tiny boy in the row behind me screamed inconsolably for two hours of the five-hour flight. I felt bad for his mother, a Japanese woman traveling with her own elderly mother. At the same time, I was busy revising my opinions about over-medicating small children. It's a shame the things you see when you don't have your bottle of liquid Valium handy.