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Jean Kerr

  • ... all the houses you can afford to buy are depressing.

    • Jean Kerr,
    • "Our Gingerbread Dream House," Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • Now the thing about having a baby — and I can't be the first person to have noticed this — is that thereafter you have it ...

  • ... the average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible.

  • The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like a five-year-old.

  • ... an actor can remember his briefest notice well into senescence and long after he has forgotten his phone number and where he lives.

  • ... if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation.

  • While in some quarters it is felt that the critic is just a necessary evil, most serious-minded, decent, talented theater people agree that the critic is an unnecessary evil.

  • Years ago when a man began to notice that if he stood up on the subway he was immediately replaced by two people, he figured he was getting too fat.

  • If you have formed the habit of checking on every new diet that comes along, you will find that, mercifully, they all blur together, leaving you with only one definite piece of information: french-fried potatoes are out.

  • One of the most difficult things to contend with in a hospital is the assumption on the part of the staff that because you have lost your gall bladder you have also lost your mind.

  • I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want — an adorable pancreas?

  • I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me that they are wonderful things for other people to go on.

  • ... women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself — like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks ...

  • Marrying a man is like buying something you've been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn't always go with everything else in the house.

    • Jean Kerr,
    • "The Ten Worst Things About a Man," The Snake Has All the Lines ()
  • I think success has no rules, but you can learn a great deal from failure.

  • Life with Mary was like being in a phone booth with an open umbrella — no matter which way you turned, you got it in the eye.

  • ... being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.

  • You want to analyze, analyze. Like those people who take an overdose of sleeping pills, and sit there making notes while they're dying. 'Four a.m. Vision begining to blur.' You'd do that. You would.

  • A lawyer is never entirely comfortable with a friendly divorce, any more than a good mortician wants to finish his job and then have the patient sit up on the table.

  • It was hard to communicate with you. You were always communicating with yourself. The line was busy.

  • 'I thought we talked things out!' 'Yes, and you listened very carefully to every word you had to say.'

  • It takes at least one to make a marriage.

  • ... it's impossible to register any emotion without using some muscle which, in time, will produce a wrinkle. ... By the time she is thirty, a starlet has been carefully taught to smile like a dead halibut. The eyes widen, the mouth drops open, but the eye muscles are never involved.

  • I don't grasp things this early in the day. I mean, I hear voices, all right, but I can't pick out the verbs.

  • Movie actors are just ordinary, mixed-up people — with agents.

  • Some people have such a talent for making the best of a bad situation that they go around creating bad situations so they can make the best of them.

  • What is missing in him is probably necessary for what is missing in you. Let us not to the marriage of true impediments admit minds.

  • You don't seem to realize that a poor person who is unhappy is in a better position than a rich person who is unhappy. Because the poor person has hope. He thinks money would help.

  • Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.

  • Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite.

  • Don't be silly. I'm a mature, intelligent woman. Of course I'm afraid of my mother.

  • People only call you 'my dear' when they are irritated with you.

  • I'm not so sure it's so civilized to be civilized all the time.

  • Apparently she was so charming it was practically a disease. Even the hygienist who cleaned her big, white teeth fell in love with her. She could get plumbers to come on Sunday.

  • There's a flaw in your character, Oliver. You have a problem for every solution.

  • There is this to be said about having money. You get rejected by a higher class of people.

  • To me having a party is something like having a baby. The fact that you got through the last one alive is not somehow sufficiently reassuring now.

  • When our Gregory was about two years old, he had the power and the velocity of a torpedo. So the simple business of taking off his clothes and putting on his pajamas turned into a chore roughly equivalent to the landing of a two-hundred-pound marlin.

  • I was always the last woman on the last down elevator as the store was closing.

  • Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if some manufacturer would make a toy as tough, as staunch, as hard to crack open as the carton it comes in!

  • It has been explained to me that toys are packaged in shards, to be assembled by the middle-aged and butter-fingered, because this makes it easier for the shippers. ... If they had to spend hours and hours putting handlebars onto bicycles ... they would repent their ways and deliver something that looked like a rocking horse and not like the result of a small street accident.

  • Some enterprising youth should go from door to door on Christmas morning peddling batteries.

  • Being on a ship is something like being pregnant. You can sit there and do absolutely nothing but stare at the water and have the nicest sense that you are accomplishing something.

  • ... I once truly believed that if I had to stand in line for twenty minutes to have a package gift-wrapped it actually gave the recipient more pleasure.

  • I have noticed that in plays where the characters on stage laugh a great deal, the people out front laugh very little.

  • I know all about improvisation and the free-form that mirrors the chaos of our time, but I do like to feel that the playwright has done some work before I got there.

  • I know what I wish Ralph Nader would investigate next. Marriage. It's not safe, it's not safe at all.

  • 'Helen, I wish you'd lay off that fudge, you're going to be fat and waddle just like your mother.' ... 'Honey, why don't we both go on a diet and buy some new clothes?' There is a right way to put things and a wrong way.

Jean Kerr, U.S. playwright, humorist, writer

(1922 - 2003)

Full name: Bridget Jean Collins Kerr