The Movie: Annie Hall, 1976 (Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, screenwriters; Woody Allen, dir.)
Who says it: Woody Allen as Alvy Singer, a television writer recounting the tale of his doomed romance with Annie (Diane Keaton).
The context: Alvy tells an old joke about a man who goes to see a psychiatrist. He says, “Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” and the guy says, “I would, but we need the eggs.” This, Alvy says, sums up how he feels about relationships: “they're totally irrational and crazy and absurd… but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.”
How to use it: The answer to every question you ever had about stupid romantic decisions.
A good friend of mine likes to say that there are only 12 people in the world, and all the rest is done with mirrors. For example: I had dinner last night with the internationally-famous and beloved author John Connolly in some random bar in Cambridge, a city where I do not live and he does not live.
A good-looking young man approached our table and said, "Are you Clair?" It was the internationally-famous and beloved author Gregg Hurwitz, who also does not live in Cambridge -- but was in town for his 10-year Harvard reunion. I was delighted to see him, not least to congratulate him in person on the recent birth of his daughter.
But if he hadn't come up to us, I wouldn't have recognized him. I might have seen him at the bar and said to John, "Hey, that guy looks just like Gregg Hurwitz," but it never would have occurred to me that someone in a restaurant 3,000 miles from his home might be the person he looked like. In fact, because internationally-famous and beloved author Chris Mooney had actually been talking about Gregg earlier in the evening, I might have thought I was hallucinating, or just had Gregg in my mind.
But the universe likes to mix us up like that. It keeps things interesting, and is another reason not to leave the house without brushing my hair.
When I wasn't hanging out with internationally-famous and beloved authors, I read very little this week that wasn't work-related. In fact... I'm ashamed to admit... I only finished one book this week, and it was an old one. But it was good.
Tim Cahill, Pass the Butterworms. Tim Cahill may be my favorite travel writer; his Road Fever, detailing his attempt at a land-speed record for traveling from the bottom of South America to the top of Alaska, is hilarious and inspired. Pass the Butterworms is a 1997 collection of articles about Cahill's adventures abroad; most originally appeared in Outside magazine. Among other things, Cahill tells how to land an airplane when the pilot has had a heart attack, and what it feels like to go swimming at the North Pole. (Say it with me: "Coooool...")