- It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.
- "The Scotty Who Knew Too Much", The New Yorker (18 February 1939)
- Don't get it right, just get it written.
- "The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing", The New Yorker (29 April 1939); Fables for Our Time & Famous Poems Illustrated (1940). The moral is ironic.
Some relatives still living today include Mark M... of M..., New Jersey and his family. [Identifying details removed at person's request, May 2008]
I had a minor wrangle with someone over the fact that I took this out. Relative he might be, but Mr. M, whose sole claim to fame other than family connection is that he once sold a crossword puzzle for publication, is unlikely to be more notable that any other living Thurber relative. I pointed this out, and the person who griped at my edit added references to other Thurber relatives to balance things out. I'd not an ideal solution, but it will do for now.
- "All right, have it your way - you heard a seal bark!"
- "Women and Men", The New Yorker (30 January 1932);The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments (1932).
- A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps.
- note for "a future fable", "Such a Phrase as Drifts Through Dreams", Holiday Magazine; reprinted in Lanterns & Lances (1961).
- It is better to have loafed and lost, than never to have loafed at all.
- "The Courtship of Arthur and Al", The New Yorker (26 August 1939); Fables for Our Time & Famous Poems Illustrated (1940). Parody of Alfred Lord Tennyson, Better to have loved and lost/than never to have loved at all.
- In this light, let's not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
- "Foreword", Lanterns & Lances (1961)
- The dog has got more fun out of Man than Man has got out of the dog, for the clearly demonstrable reason that Man is the more laughable of the two animals.
- "An Introduction", The Fireside Book of Dog Stories (Simon and Schuster, 1943); reprinted in Thurber's Dogs (1955)