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Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

March-April 2015

David Azzolina writes: “Psychotherapist Alfred Adler is quoted as having said, ‘The only normal people are people you don’t know well enough yet,’ or words to that effect. I have not been able to verify that quote with a legitimate source. I even wrote [Adler’s granddaughter] Margot Adler when she was alive and she only knew it by hearsay. Any suggestions?”

John Simbeck hopes someone can source a comment “by Nietzsche (or Goethe? Kierkegaard perhaps?)” that he paraphrases as “ ‘Steal a loaf of bread (or larger goods) and the weight of the Law comes down mercilessly; steal a fortune and you’re deemed daring; steal a country and you become a hero. The amount of blame falls in inverse proportion to the magnitude of the crime.’ That last phrase is the key part I remember the closest,” and differentiates the quotation from other versions of the same idea, such as that delivered by Brutus Jones in the opening scene of The Emperor Jones: “For de little stealin’ dey gits you in jail soon or late. For de big stealin’ dey makes you Emperor and puts you in de Hall o’ Fame when you croaks.”

Josh Mittendorf seeks the name of a short animated Canadian film (circa 1972) “told from the perspective of a homunculus inside a man’s head, who sketches on an easel dangerous things he sees that he wants to remember and avoid in the future. Soon there are so many, the outer man becomes jittery and visits a psychologist. The psychologist (German accent) fits him with glasses that make everything look smaller. He is no longer afraid of his boss or barking dogs, but in the last scene, he is crushed by a steamroller that appeared, through his glasses, to be too small to worry about.”

Sonnet written to someone old (January-February). Hank Hudepohl identified the work requested as “To My Mother on Her Seventy-third Birthday,” by Arthur Davison Ficke, A.B. 1904. It appears in his book The Secret and Other Poems (1936).

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