Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

American Author, Storyteller, Humorist, Essayist and Radio Personality, Creator of Radio’s "A Prairie Home Companion"

"Marrying for sex is like flying to London for the free peanuts and pretzels. It's not the point of the thing, is it?"

"Men peak at age nineteen and go downhill."

"Minnesota is a state of public-spirited and polite people, where you can get a good cappucino and eat Thai food and find any book you want and yet live on a quiet tree-lined street with a backyard and send your kids to public school. When a state this good hits the jackpot, it can only be an inspiration to everybody."

"My ancestors were Puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at that time."

"My generation was secretive, brooding, ambitious, show-offy, and this generation is congenial. Totally. I imagine them walking around with GPS chips that notify them when a friend is in the vicinity, and their GPSes guide them to each other in clipped electronic lady voices and they sit down side by side in a coffee shop and text-message each other while checking their e-mail and hopping and skipping around Facebook to see who has posted pictures of their weekend."

"My God, rich people have the time to praise You if they want to, but the poor people are so busy, accept their work as praise because, my God, they don’t have time for everything."

"Never insult a writer. You may find yourself immortalized in ways you may not appreciate."

"None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Idea."

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted."

"On investments, 1998: Where I'm from we don't trust paper. Wealth is what's here on the premises. If I open a cupboard and see, say, 30 cans of tomato sauce and a five-pound bag of rice, I get a little thrill of well-being - much more so than if I take a look at the quarterly dividend report from my mutual fund."

"One day Donald Trump discovers that he is owned, lock, stock, and roulette wheel, by Lutheran Brotherhood, and must renegotiate his debt load with a committee of silent Norwegians who don't understand why anyone would pay more than $120 for a suit."

"One reads books in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don't read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining."

"People always are encouraging about a terrible loss, so that sometimes the loser would like to strangle them."

"People in cars cause accidents and accidents in cars cause people."

"People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know?"

"Poetry is never a sensible choice on financial grounds. Burglary beats poetry, when it comes to making money."

"Possessing the ideal makes a person nervous: you sense the inevitable decline just ahead."

"Powdered milk biscuits: Heavens, they're tasty and expeditious! They're made from whole wheat, to give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Powder Milk biscuits: Buy them ready-made in the big blue box with the picture of the biscuit on the front, or in the brown bag with the dark stains that indicate freshness."

"Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze."

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh sweet corn."

"Sex is not a mechanical act that fails for lack of technique, and it is not a performance by the male for the audience of the female; it is a continuum of attraction that extends from the simplest conversation and the most innocent touching through the act of coitus."

"Silence on the radio... I don't know how that works."

"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known."

"Some people have a love of their fellow man in their hearts, and others require a light anesthetic."

"Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye and deny it."

"Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then."

"Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough."

"That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

"The center of civility in our society is not the small town but the big city, where you learn to thread your way through heavy traffic and subdue your aggressiveness and extend kindness to strangers. Small-town Republicans are leery of big cities and the anonymity they bestow, but there is no better place to learn the delicate ballet of social skill."

"The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan."

"The French have a new president, the British will soon have a new P.M., and we envy them as we endure the endless wait for this small dim man to go back to Texas and resume his life."

"The frenzy on the right is pure fear of stepping out of line with the Republican politburo and getting shipped to Siberia. This lockstep mentality is rare in American history. Here is a grand old party frozen, suspended, mesmerized, in thrall to a gaggle of showboats and radio entertainers and small mobs of fist-shakers standing staunch for unreality, and no Republican elected official dares say, "Let us not be nuts." There will be books written about this in years to come, and they will not be kind to the likes of Rep. Boehner and Sen. McConnell."

"The fundamental religion of most of mankind is the faith that God has revealed Himself to us and not to the barbarians. Our tribe is the one God chose and so if we vanquish the other tribes and rain fire and destruction on them, we're only carrying out God's Will."

"The funniest line in English is "Get it?" When you say that, everyone chortles."

"The gains in life come slowly and the losses come on suddenly. You work for years to get your life the way you want it and buy the big house and the time share on Antigua and one afternoon you…"

"The Gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

"The great unrequited love tears open your heart to the beauty of the world, its small rivers and upland meadows. It also makes you kinder to the next hundred thousand persons who cross your path."

"The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose."

"The majority of people who keel over dead at concerts are killed by a long trumpet passage."

"The mass of men lead lives of shallow happiness; the superior man exults in his gloom."

"The most un-American thing you can say is, 'You can't say that."

"The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk."

"The priest and the sister were in big trouble when his vest was found in her pantry and her pants were found in his vestry."

"The problem with paradise is that it's temporary: You don't belong here and the neighbors are nobody you care to know, so it's only blissful for a week or so."

"The rich can afford to be progressive. Poor people have reason to be afraid of the future."

"The socially redeeming aspect of golf lies in the vast number of lawyers and bankers and managers who play it, and when you think of the damage they would do if they were at the job instead, you can see why golf courses are a wise investment for any municipality."

"The term "evil powers" is one you hear only in the church, or in Marvel comic books, or Republican speeches."

"There is almost no marital problem that can't be helped enormously by taking off your clothes."

"There's no mastery to be had. You love the attempt. You don't master a story any more than you master a river. You feel lucky to canoe down it."

"They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days."