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post #44 of Old 01-18-2013
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Re: Great Literary Quotes

I threw this one up by Steinbeck as a thread, but feel like it's worthy enough for a second post. This is from John's nonfiction works "Log From the Sea of Cortez":

"Our Hansen Sea-Cow was not only a living thing but a mean, irritable, contemptible, vengeful, mischievous, hateful living thing.... We determined one thing to our satisfaction. When and if these ghoulish little motors learn to reproduce themselves the human species is doomed. For their hate for us is so great that they will wait and plan and organize and one night, in a roar of little exhausts, they will wipe us out.... It is more than a species. It is a whole new redefinition of life. We observed the following traits in it and we were able to check them again and again:
1. Incredibly lazy, the Sea Cow loved to ride on the back of the boat, trailing its propeller daintily in the water while we rowed.
2. It required the same amount of gasoline whether it ran or not, apparently being able to absorb this fluid through its body walls without recourse to explosion. It always had to be filled at the beginning of every trip.
3. It had apparently some clairvoyant powers and was able to read our minds, particularly when they were inflamed with emotion. Thus on every occasion when we were driven to the point of destroying it, it started and ran with a great noise and excitement. This served the double purpose of saving its life and resurrecting false confidence in it.
4. It had many cleavage points, and when attacked by a screwdriver, fell apart in simulated death, a trait it had in common with opossums, armadillos and several members of the sloth family, which also fall apart in simulated death when attacked with a screwdriver.
5. It hated Tex, sensing perhaps that his knowledge of mechanics was capable of diagnosing its shortcomings.
6. It completely refused to run (a) when the waves were high, (b)when the wind blew, (c)at night, early morning, and evening, (d)in rain, dew, or fog, (e) when the distance to be covered was more than two hundred yards. But on warm sunny days when the weather was calm and the beach was closeby - in a word, on days when it would be pleasant to row - the SeaCow started at a touch and would not stop.
7. It loved no one, trusted no one. It had no friends."
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