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Pearls of Wisdom
from Terry Partchett's Thief of Time

Numbering in a total quantity of fifteen and circulated worldwide via all sorts of circuitous methods.

May 21, 2001
One of life's certainties is that there is generally a last chocolate hidden in all those empty wrappers.

May 18, 2001
Most of what you get taught is lies. It has to be. Sometimes if you get the truth all at once, you can't understand it.

May 16, 2001
Death found Pestilence in a hospice in Llamedos. Pestilence like hospitals. There was always something for him to do. Currently he was trying to remove the "Now Wash Your Hands" sign over a cracked basin. "Soap? I'll give 'em soap!"

May 14, 2001
I've never liked philosophers. They make it all sound so grand and simple, and then you step out into a world that's full of complications.

May 11, 2001
It has been rather peaceful of late, I agree, said Death.
"Peaceful?" Said War. "Ha! I may as well change m'name to 'Police Action' or 'Negotiated Settlement'! Remember the old days? Warriors used to froth at the mouth! Arms and legs bouncing in all directions! Great time, eh?" He leaned across and slapped Death on the back. "I'll bag 'em and you'll tag'em, what?"
This looked hopeful, Death thought.

May 9, 2001
Age and wisdom don't necessarily go together. Some people just become stupid with more authority.

May 7, 2001
A chocolate you did not want to eat does not count as chocolate. This discovery is from the same brand of culinary physics that determined that food eaten while walking along contains no calories.

May 4, 2001
In his experience, many of the world's greatest discoveries were made by men who would be considered mad by conventional standards. Insanity depended on your point of view, he always said, and if it was the view through your own underpants then everything looked fine.

May 1, 2001
The yeti of the Ramtops, are one of the few creatures to utilize control of personal time for a genetic advantage. The result is a kind of physical premonition-you find out what is going to happen next by allowing it to happen. Faced with danger, or any kind of task that involves risk of death, a yeti will save its life up to that point and then proceed with all due caution. Yet in the comfortable knowledge that, should everything go pancake-shaped, it will wake up at the point where it saved itself with, and this is the important part, knowledge of the events which have just happened but which will not happen now because it's not going to be such a damn fool next time.

April 27, 2001
People have been messing around with time ever since they were people. Wasting it, killing it, sparing it, making it up. And they do it. PeopleÕs heads were made to play with timeÉ. You watch the Procrastinators even on a quiet day. Moving time, stretching it here, compressing it thereÉitÕs a big job.

April 25, 2001
You had to hand it to human beings. They had one of the strangest powers in the universe. No other species anywhere in the world had invented boredom. Perhaps it was boredom, not intelligence, that had propelled them up the evolutionary ladder. Trolls and dwarfs had it, too, that strange ability to look at the universe and think 'oh, the same as yesterday, how dull. I wonder what happens if I bang this rock on that head?"

April 23, 2001
Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying "End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH," the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.

April 20, 2001
There was a thick book there, bound in night. On the cover, where a book like this might otherwise say 'Our Wedding' or 'Acme Photo Album' it said 'MEMORIES'.

Death turned the heavy pages carefully. Some of the memories escaped as he did so, forming brief pictures in the air before the page turned and then went flying and fading into the distant, dark corners of the room. There were snatches of sound, too, of laughter, tears, screams and for some reason a brief burst of xylophone music which caused him to pause for a moment.

An immortal has a great deal to remember. Sometimes it's better to put things where they will be safe.

April 18, 2001
They were the observers of the operation of the universe, its clerks, its auditors. They saw to it that things spun and rocks fell.

And they believed that for a thing to exist it had to have a position in time and space. Humanity had arrived as a nasty shock. Humanity practically was things that didn't have a position in time and space, such as imagination, pity, hope, history and belief. Take those away and all you had was an ape that fell out of trees a lot.

April 16, 2001
Nine-tenths of the universe is the knowledge of the position and direction of everything in the other tenth. Every atom has its biography, every star its file, every chemical exchange its equivalent of the inspector with a clipboard. It is unaccounted for because it is doing the accounting for the rest of it.

Nine-tenths of the universe, in fact, is the paperwork.