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P. G. Wodehouse

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Stiffy was one of those girls who enjoy in equal quantities the gall of an army mule and the calm insouciance of a fish on a slab of ice.

 
P. G. Wodehouse

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My mother always told me the best way to learn to deal with a man was to learn to ride a mule. She said they have about equal brains most of the time. Sometimes the mule is smarter.

 
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In Heraclitus' river
a fish has imagined the fish of all fish,
a fish kneels to the fish, a fish sings to the fish,
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Wislawa Szymborska
 

Eventually there was a split between my parents about me. My mother obviously knew what was going on with me and the girls my friends lined up. She never came out and said anything directly, but she let me know she was concerned. Things were different between me and my father. He assumed that when I was eighteen, I would just go into the Army and they would straighten me out. He accepted some of the things my mother condemned. He felt it was perfectly all right to make out with all the girls I could. In fact, he was proud I was dating the fast girls. He bragged about them to his friends. "Jesus Christ, you should see some of the women my son's coming up with." He was showing off, of course. But still, our whole relationship had changed because I'd established myself by winning a few trophies and now had some girls. He was particularly excited about the girls. And he liked the idea that I didn't get involved. "That's right, Arnold," he'd say, as though he'd had endless experience, "never be fooled by them." That continued to be an avenue of communication between us for a couple of years. In fact, the few nights I took girls home when I was on leave from the Army, my father was always very pleasant and would bring out a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses.

 
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Hes engaged to be married to Stiffy Byng, and his long years of football should prove an excellent preparation for setting up house with her. The way I look at it is that when a fellow has had plug-uglies in cleated boots doing a Shuffle-off-to-Buffalo on his face Saturday after Saturday since he was a slip of a boy, he must get to fear nothing, not even marriage with a girl like Stiffy, who from early childhood has seldom let the sun go down without starting some loony enterprise calculated to bleach the hair of one and all.

 
P. G. Wodehouse
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