We are so used to the notion of our own inevitability as life's dominant species that it is hard to grasp that we are here only because of timely extraterrestrial bangs and other random flukes. The one thing we have in common with all other living things is that for nearly four billions years our ancestors have managed to slip through a series of closing doors every time we needed them to.
It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.
Among the many thousands of things that I have never been able to understand, one in particular stands out. That is the question of who was the first person who stood by a pile of sand and said, You know, I bet if we took some of this and mixed it with a little potash and heated it, we could make a material that would be solid and yet transparent. We could call it glass. Call me obtuse, but you could stand me on a beach till the end of time and never would it occur to me to try to make it into windows.
Clearly, some time ago makers and consumers of American junk food passed jointly through some kind of sensibility barrier in the endless quest for new taste sensations. Now they are a little like those desperate junkies who have tried every known drug and are finally reduced to mainlining toilet bowl cleanser in an effort to get still higher.
In three minutes, 98 percent of all the matter there is or will ever be has been produced. We have a universe. It is a place of the most wondrous and gratifying possibility, and beautiful, too. And it was all done in about the time it takes to make a sandwich.
What an odd thing tourism is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home, and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile attempt to recapture the comforts that you wouldn't have lost if you hadn't left home in the first place.
More Bill Bryson Quotations (Based on Topics)
Time - Place - People - America - Perfection - World - Friendship - English - Sense & Perception - Discovery & Invention - Life - Home - Jokes & Humor - Money & Wealth - Medicine & Medical - Age - Sleep - Emotions - Love - View All Bill Bryson Quotations
More Bill Bryson Quotations (By Book Titles)
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Pablo Neruda - O. Henry - Napoleon Hill - Dale Carnegie - Thomas Paine - Joseph Addison - Herbert Kaufman - George Axelrod - Edward Fairfax - Arthur C. Clarke