In Words

In Words: A collection of quotes from others and myself, compiled and written by Shannon Wagner. This collection will be published, re-published, and updated in the future without further note.


These are notable quotes I have heard in public places. Most are funny, in some way. When it seemed appropriate, I have tried to give a reference or credit. Sometimes this may not seem necessary since the quotes are both anonymous and publicly overheard. Often these quotes seem incongruous with whatever situation or environment I was in when I heard them.

From the Subway and the City

Get on the train, Bill!
– A woman coming through the subway turnstile in New York, and telling her husband to get on the train, leaving their baby in the stroller alone on the platform
Testing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..
– An overeager person who was designated to fully test some public announcement system on the train
A bus weighs 30 thousand pounds.  Crossing in front of a bus can result in injury.
– From the on-hold recording on the MTA phone line
One step closer.
– The standard response from a particular co-worker when asked how the day was. Presumably, one step closer to retirement, not to the Great Unknown.


These are my favorites, often my inspirations. These are the ones that I think everyone should hear more often. If you like one, please share it. If you know of an incorrect reference or credit, please let me know in the comments on my blog. If you have your own favorite quote or inspiration, something you think that more people should hear, please be sure to share it with the World.
Software Development
The Rule of Modularity bears amplification here: The only way to write complex software that won’t fall on its face is to build it out of simple modules connected by well-defined interfaces, so that most problems are local and you can have some hope of fixing or optimizing a part without breaking the whole.
– Eric Raymond, The Art of Unix Programming
Corporate Software Development
Project management is risk management for adults.
– A software development manager (2008)
Don’t showcase your knowledge; everyone knows you’re smart.
– A software development manager (2008)

Living Fully

I’m gonna base this moment on who I am stuck in a room with! It’s what life is, it’s a series of rooms, and who we get stuck in those rooms with, adds up to what our lives are.

– Eve (the Patient), from an episode of the TV show House (One Day, One Life)

It’s what people say. It’s not true. Doing things changes things. Not doing things leaves things exactly as they were.
– House (Huge Laurie), from an episode of the TV show House (One Day, One Life)
Okay, look, here’s the deal. Man, you were gonna drive me around tonight, never be the wiser, but El Gordo got in front of a window, did his high dive, we’re into Plan B. Still breathing? Now we gotta make the best of it, improvise, adapt to the environment, Darwin, shit happens, I Ching, whatever man, we gotta roll with it.
– Tom Cruise, from the movie Collateral

Discovering Life

Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
– C.S. Lewis
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
– C.S. Lewis
We read to know we are not alone.
– Anthony Hopkins, from the movie Shadowlands (C.S. Lewis)
History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
– Mark Twain
Just Funny

If I knew the wine cost that much, I would have enjoyed it more.

– An old friend, on the consequences of not knowing what, exactly, you are drinking

Outrageous Claims

I invented Post-It’s!
– Michele, from the movie Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

My Own Words

Stuff I have said, that I think is worth.. saying again. Tweets, status updates, excerpts from blog posts, things I say to my wife, friends, or family. Everything here is, to the best of my knowledge, primarily attributable to me, Shannon Wagner.


If it is worth doing once, it is worth doing twice.
– Often said as a light-hearted way of acknowledging that nothing ever goes right the first time. Also, said in defense of watching good movies twice, or knowing the end of a movie before you start.


There is no right or wrong; there is only what we like and dislike.
There is no such thing as a “bad left turn” – there are only those of us who are poorly prepared for the left turns with which we have been presented.

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