Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Jules Feiffer, fully Jules Ralph Feiffer

American Syndicated Cartoonist of comic strip Feiffer

"At sixteen I was stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. At twenty-five I was wise, self-confident, prepossessing and assertive. At forty-five I am stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. Who would have supposed that maturity is only a short break in adolescence?"

"I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn't poor, I was needy. Then they told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy, I was deprived. Then they told me underpriviledged was overused, I was disadvantaged. I still don't have a dime, but I have a great vocabulary."

"Be warned against all 'good' advice because 'good' advice is necessarily 'safe' advice, and though it will undoubtedly follow a sane pattern, it will very likely lead one into total sterility--one of the crushing problems of our time."

"Adults have their defense against time; it is called "responsibility," and once one assumes it he can transform his life into a set of routines which will account for all those hours when he is stale or tired. It is not size or age or childishness that separates children from adults. It is "responsibility." Adults come in all sizes, ages, and differing varieties of childishness, but as long as they have "responsibility" we recognize, often by the light gone out of their eyes, that they are what we call grownup. When grownups cope with "responsibility" for enough number of years they are retired from it. They are given, in exchange, a "leisure problem." They sit around with their "leisure problem" and try to figure out what to do with it. Sometimes they go crazy. Sometimes they get other jobs. Sometimes it gets too much for them and they die. They have been handed an undetermined future of nonresponsible time and they don't know what to do about it. And that is precisely the way it is with children. Time is the everpresent factor in their lives. It passes slowly or fast, always against their best interests: good time is over in a minute; bad time takes forever. Short on "responsibility," they are confronted with a "leisure problem.""

"I grew up to have my father's looks, my father's speech patterns, my father's posture, my father's opinions, and my mother's contempt for my father."