Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


A DICKENS CITATION at a recent Inspiring Quotes reminded me of high school. Typical of teenage angst, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 

These famous opening words from A Tale of Two Cities were particularly memorable whenever my high school colleagues and I had the occasional substitute teacher. More often than not, the sub would turn to our school’s meager Audio Visual office for something to keep us more or less under control. 

Along with other Goody Two Shoes activities, I was an AV assistant allowed during study hall to deliver and retrieve movies and 16-mm sound projectors. Our high school AV department had a few more movies than projectors, but not many of either.

And, thus contrasted with Beautiful, Scenic Norway, Reefer Madness, and a few others, the 1935 classic A Tale of Two Cites was a frequent choice of substitute teachers. Because of this, we all came to know the plot well, not to say a goodly amount of its dialogue.

A common response to being sent down to the Assistant Principal’s office was saying, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

Extra points if intoned with a decent Ronald Coleman accent.

Britannica said, “His elegant accent and polished demeanour gave voice to characters who were sophisticated yet graciously heroic….”

Ronald Charles Coleman, 1891–1958, English-born actor.  Beginning in 1945, he and his wife actress Benita Hume made regular appearances on “The Jack Benny Program.” The Colemans also had their own radio show, “The Halls of Ivy,” 1950–1952. This gentle, erudite comedy and the Benny shows are heard regularly on SiriusXM’s “Radio Classics.”

Other Dickens at Inspiring Quotes include “Trifles make the sum of life,” David Copperfield, and “I have been bent and broken, but—I hope—into a better shape,” Great Expectations. Another familiar one is A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge saying, “Bah, Humbug!”

To this day, I have a fondness for Dickens. To wit, A Christmas Carol Annotations” and “The Drood Caper.”

I include the following tale: London had been terrorized by a sea serpent swimming up the Thames and disrupting river traffic. This persisted until enterprising street-food venders captured the sea serpent and transformed it into tasty sausage. That is, it was the beast of Thames, it was the wurst of Thames.

Ouch. ds 

Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 

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