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‘Just the facts, ma’am’

‘Just the facts, ma’am’
‘Just the facts, ma’am’
Dr. Wayne Willis

Half my life ago (I was around 40), I began squirreling away quotations I deemed wise, thoughts that packed for me some pithy truth in an economy of words, and short anecdotes of 50 to 100 words that encapsulated an insight I didn’t want to forget. It was my personal quest for wisdom and truth, with an accent on brevity. I hate verbosity, wordiness from those incapable of simplifying, especially long-winded preachers. I like what detective Joe Friday said in Dragnet when he interviewed a witness, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Now, I have 300-plus pages, single-spaced, on a computer file where I go when I need inspiration. I add something new most days. I encourage you to do something similar. Be like a squirrel storing nuts. Save some up for that wintry, rainy day when you’re out of nourishing ideas. Here I share eight of my 2022 additions.

“Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.” —Wendell Berry

“There is always more goodness in the world than there appears to be, because goodness is of its nature modest and retiring.” —Evelyn Beatrice Hall

“Civility is hard to codify or legislate, but you know it when you see it.” —Sandra Day O’Connor

“I saw how beautiful our planet is. People! Let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!” —Yuri Gagarin (first human to orbit Earth)

“I feel fairly certain that my hatred harms me more than the people I hate.” —Max Frisch

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to an individual. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.” —John Neal

“For sleep, riches and health to be truly enjoyed, they must be interrupted.” —Jean Paul Richter

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver