Aphorisms by George Murray

George Murray is editor of the literary website Bookninja.com and author of Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms. There is a sort of casual surrealism about Murray’s aphorisms, as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world to compare worry, for example, to a playground. The metaphors are both pedestrian and astonishing, reminiscent of aphorists like Malcom de Chazal and Ramon Gomez de la Serna. The deep strangeness of the images and juxtapositions takes a while to sink in, mostly because of Murray’s deadpan delivery. Reading his aphorisms is like talking on a phone with a slight delay; you understand what’s been said a beat or so after it has been spoken. And that split-second delay, filled with thoughts and speculation, is where the wonder lies, of aphorisms in general and these aphorisms in particular. The charm of Glimpse is that so many of the aphorisms in it make you do a double take.

Hindsight is 20/20, but only if you’re looking back.

Depression is insanity without urgency.

The coffin’s satin is life’s pink slip.

Fishermen cast anchors before lines.

Help is what happens to you when your need meets the need of another.

Reading is like taking a poison and its antidote in the same swallow.

Worry is a playground for those with time enough to visit it.

Panic is worry on a tight schedule.

No number of glances can add up to a good look.

There’s not a single thing that couldn’t be, but pretty much everything is next to impossible.

Charity is what we give to make things go away.

Turning forty is like looking up and realizing it’s two in the afternoon.