Minor Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
compiled by VPh
To Svetlana, with love - VPh
Dictionaries are like watches:
The worst is better than none,
and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.
The following is a compilation of short jokes and witty
lines and quotations, which I have been collecting for over ten years. So far it
has been a short book; naturally, I wouldn't like its Preface run on a larger
scale than the text it precedes. The first, and most important, thing that is to
be said here is: this is a very personal book. It is a vastly, completely,
totally, ruthlessly personal collection.
When I began my toil, I had no intention of making a book
out of scratchy notes obtained sometimes in a most unusual form, and sometimes
just overheard in a conversation. For example, a greater part of quotations
dealing with Computers and Programmers came to me in the form of computer files,
thus lacking the degree of being attributed to their sources with that
certainty, which is required in a less or more professionally compiled
dictionary. However, it is my strong belief that though in such a way they lost
their makers, they have acquired what I would call "the undertaste of
folklore". It is hard to say whether it is better for a good phrase to be
attributed to a certain celebrity, whose name is remembered with a varying
degree of difficulty, or stay anonymous and make it no great problem to employ
the witty saying in a conversation without being afraid to make an ignoramus out
of yourself. Notwithstanding the above, I tried as much as I could to retain the
form of quotations and the names of their authors in the way and manner they had
been communicated to me. You will, no doubt, note that when reading through
Laws, which may contain the second and fourth Laws, but lack the third. Besides,
sometimes the names of the persons cited as authors seem rather doubtful and in
a few cases, perfectly wrong. I hope they would have no grudge against me.
As I have already said, my choice is absolutely personal. I would not and will
not explain it for each particular entry, though I can give some general
considerations that may clear up my approach. First, I believe that a joke with
no word-play in it can in no way rival a phrase that has one. Second, I prefer
to deal with universal truths about Life, Science and things like that. Third, I
just include an entry, when I think it is worth being included.
Well, that's about all, dear Reader. Please, remember that
while compiling the Dictionary I was much amused by the thought of how you would
enjoy reading it.