The Sayings of Mikhail Zhvanetsky

Mikhail Zhvanetsky is the most prolific and famous Russian humorist. Here are my own translations of some of his best lines.

  1. Better a small dollar than a big thank you.
  2. Better dinner without an appetite than an appetite without dinner.
  3. Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.
  4. I drive too fast to worry about cholesterol.
  5. Best alibi — be a victim.
  6. A pedestrian is always right. While he is alive.
  7. Any car will last you a life-time. If you are hasty enough.
  8. Better a belly from beer than a hump from hard work.
  9. A bald patch is a glade trampled by thoughts.
  10. It is difficult to crawl with your head proudly held high.
  11. It’s a shame when other people have your dreams come true!
  12. The lottery is the most accurate measure of the number of optimists.
  13. A courteous man will not criticise a woman who carries a railroad tie awkwardly.
  14. The highest degree of embarrassment? Exchanged glances in a keyhole.
  15. Everything goes well, but past me.
  16. Let them laugh at you, rather than cry.
  17. While you measure seven times, others will already make a cut.
  18. It is not enough to find your place in life, you have to be there first.
  19. If a person knows what he wants, then he either knows too much or wants too little.
  20. And then he took a knife and shot himself dead.
  21. Thinking is too difficult, so most people judge.
  22. The more I look in the mirror, the more I believe in Darwin.
  23. Of two evils, I choose the one I haven’t tried before.
  24. Do not run from a sniper, you’ll die tired.
  25. You came — thanks; you left — many thanks.
  26. All great men are long dead, and I am feeling so-so.
  27. Never exaggerate the stupidity of your enemies and the loyalty of your friends.
  28. To save a drowning man, it is not enough to lend a hand; it is necessary for him to offer his hand in return.
  29. An idea came into his head and now it is desperately trying to find his brain.
  30. Some have both hemispheres protected by a skull, others by pants.
  31. Everything in this world is relative. For example, the length of one minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.
  32. Stupidity does not ask.
  33. Stupidity offers nothing.
  34. Stupidity explains.
  35. With clever people is better. With them one feels free.
  36. With the fools one is  busy all the time.
  37. Objections, objections, objections. This what a fool does all the time.
  38. Because the fool is confident.
  39. With the fool one looses strength , endurance and resourcefulness.
  40. With fools you don’t agree about anything.
  41. And then you feel how bad you are.
  42. So, relax with the smart.
  43. If you stay at home – you know, we all sit at home. When you are out on the street – you think all are out there. If you get to the station you feel everyone is traveling or if you’re in the hospital – you know, that all are sick. Everywhere is the same.
  44. The idealist is one who, after noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, decides that eating roses is a  better food!
  45. Who marries a young woman has the perfect deal: She will never see him young and foolish, and he’s never going to see her old.

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