Tuesday, July 05, 2005

“You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.”

The Movie: Apocalypse Now, 1979 (John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola, screenwriters, from the story “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad; Francis Ford Coppola, dir.)
Who says it: Marlon Brando as the deranged Colonel Kurtz, deep in the Vietnamese jungle
The context: Kurtz confronts Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), who has been sent to the jungle to terminate Colonel Kurtz’s command.
How to use it: To express contempt for authority.

Thanks to Chris Bea for this line. It distills such a profound contempt that I can imagine half-a-dozen scenarios in which I would want to use it, but lack the courage to say it aloud.

"Stay an extra day!" Ashton said last night, and I am sorely tempted. I have so much work to do it frightens me, and the idea of spending the day here, just working, is powerfully attractive. But I also feel almost desperate to be home again, with my own stuff, and back in some kind of routine.

So I'm taking off around midday, and driving as far as the Philadelphia suburbs today. Dizzy and I will stay with my old roommate, Leigh, and go the rest of the way to Maine tomorrow.


Mike Steele said...

This is such a memorable line, I expected to find it in Conrad's story, but I did not.

Is is there?

Anonymous said...

what do you mean by 'there' do you realize that the middle letters of 'there' are 'her'. Sent by clerks, of course, your wife, to get the grocery bill. Conrad was a deeply domesticated man.