Right, I’m the gatekeeper now. Of course, in my case, that’s with a lower case g. The Big Guy says with the world’s population increasing so fast he’s got to turn the job over to someone else and tend to running this place. My instructions are pretty clear: don’t let in any bad guys, you know, murderers, rapists, robbers. He also said keep out the worst bureaucrats since they assault too many souls. I just interview people who worked with them. It’s pretty easy finding out who to exclude. Couple days ago I had the easiest choice in years. I opened the gates when he was a mile away and clapped when he entered. Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t act like a Yankee fan but I am and asked for his autograph.
He said, “Sure, kid, what’s your name,” and signed my baseball: “To Joe, Heaven’s a great place. Yogi Berra.”
“By the way, where’s the ball game?”
“There’ll be one tonight,” I said.
“Think they’ll have a place for me in the lineup?”
“Let’s see, a three-time MVP who played catcher and hit three hundred fifty-eight homers and had countless clutch hits while being the heart of a record ten World Series champions, yeah, I guess they can find a spot for you. Behind the plate. None of that left field stuff. Most guys don’t like to catch.”
“I’m ready. Say, haven’t I seen that guy?”
“Yeah, that’s Winston.”
“Winston, you playing tonight?” Yogi asked.
“I’ll be smoking cigars and drinking champagne before and during dinner and thereafter sipping brandy. I have no time for children’s activities, especially those emanating from our North American colony.”
“Living like that, I’m surprised you’re living.”
“Perhaps you’d like to do a little verbal battle,” Winston said.
“Okay, as long as it doesn’t involve knives.”
Winston cleared his throat and expelled more phlegm than you care to know.
“This is no time for ease and comfort,” he said. “It is time to dare and endure.”
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Yogi countered.
“Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
“The price of greatness is responsibility,” said Winston.
“I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“If we have a quarrel between past and present we shall lose the future.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”
“Never in the field of human endeavor have so many owed so much to so few.”
“I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”
“I may be drunk, (Sir), but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.”
“I may be ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
“We made too many wrong mistakes,” Yogi said.
“I like your incisive comments, Sir.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think I cussed that much.”
“You would’ve been a marvelous military officer in our battle of survival against the Huns.”
“I was only a machine gunner on a boat killing Germans on D-Day.”
“Let’s drink to that.”
“Sure, after the game.”
Sources – These quotes, the ones that really are quotes, can be found many places. I got most of the Yogisms from the New York Post and the Churchillisms from BrainyQuote.com.