Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rules One and Two

It's been two years since I first posted this,
and I think it might become an annual event.
While I am grateful for this blessing of good
health, there are many in my life at the moment
who are experiencing otherwise. I find myself
going back to this quote by Brendan Gill, which
appeared in The New Yorker upon his death.
I'd torn it out and posted it on my bulletin
board, where, over the course of ten years,
become yellowed and splashed with the remnants
of cooking (it was in my kitchen). When I remarried
and moved, it ended up in a box somewhere, but
thanks to the internet, it's easily accessed:

Rules One and Two

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the argument that life is serious, though it is often hard and even terrible. Since everything ends badly for us, in the inescapable catastrophe of death, it seems obvious that the first rule of life is to have a good time, and that the second rule of life is to hurt as few people as possible in the course of doing so. There is no third rule."
--Brendan Gill

Mr. Gill, a lion of New York's civic, social and literary life for nearly half a century, died on Dec. 27 [1997] at the age of 83. Some 1,500 people crowded into Town Hall to celebrate him with recollections of his zestful life as a civic gadfly and tireless campaigner for historic preservation; as a distinguished critic of books, plays, films and architecture, as a prolific presence at The New Yorker under all four of its editors, and as the versatile author of 15 books, including biographies of Cole Porter, Tallulah Bankhead and Charles Lindbergh, and a best-selling memoir, ''Here at The New Yorker.'


  1. I can easily live with those rules.

  2. I know why you hung on to it. I'll do the same; frame it and hang it in my bathroom. I really like that; two simple rules.

  3. That quote has me deep in reflection. Brilliant.

  4. Thanks for posting this, T. I'm going to steal it for a blog post. It is true - which brings gladness and sadness to my heart.

  5. Love these rules...I have aspired to do this w/o even knowing them. But seeing them written down is a wonderful reminder to do this well!

  6. Love this post -- it means everything. Without #2, #1 doesn't work -- and without #1, #2 doesn't work. A perfect symbiotic relationship.