Great Moments in Literature

“Back when he was a boy, there used to be a gentleman named Joseph Charles, man would stand out every day at the corner of Oregon and Grove wearing a pair of dazzling yellow gloves. Waving to every car that passed him, extending to the driver, regardless of race, creed, or receptivity, one (1) genuine, heartfelt greeting. Mr. Charles’s manner bold and cheerful but a touch formal, hinting, though not in any unkind way, at the impersonal. No intention of greeting you in particular; simply reminding you that, like all humans, you partook in the noble human capacity for being greeted. It was Mr. Charles’s manner that Archy tended to adopt around women when he sensed they might be about to pose him some kind of problem.”

                     --Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue, 2012

“SMALL WONDER, THEN, THAT SHE WANDERS THE STREETS OF LOWER MANHATTAN THIS CHILL JANUARY NIGHT LOST IN THOUGHT, OBLIVIOUS TO HER SEAMY SURROUNDINGS…UNTIL…THE SOUND OF HER BOOT STRIKING AN EMPTY WHISKEY BOTTLE INTERRUPTS HER BROODING…AND YET REINFORCES HER SENSE OF ALONENESS AND DESPAIR. FOR ALL AT ONCE SHE BECOMES AWARE OF THE SQUALOR LOOMING OVER HER, DWARFING HER, ENGULFING HER IN ITS COLD, GRIMY MAW. BUT THE ESSENCE OF A SLUM IS NOT TO BE FOUND MERELY WITH THE EYE. SUCH A PLACE HAS ITS OWN DISTINCTIVE REPERTOIRE OF AURAL STIMULI. GRUNTS…HISSES…THE CLACK OF METAL AGAINST METAL…EVEN ON SO BITTER A NIGHT AS THIS…TEMPERS MAY FLARE, PASSIONS MAY BURN…MEN MAY DIE!”

                     --Steve Gerber, THE DEFENDERS, Vol. 1, No. 22, 
                             "Fangs of Fire and Blood!" 1975