Jimmy Breslin was a wizard of the written word.
For more than 50 years, the pavement-pounding reporter and columnist dazzled with his searing wit, deft prose and gritty tales of the common man from the streets of New York.
Breslin, who died Sunday at his Manhattan home at 88, leaves behind a legacy of columns, books and sparkling gems of wisdom.
Here are a few:
• "When you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place."
• "The first funeral for Andrew Goodman was at night and it was a lot of work. To begin with they had to kill him."
• "If you gather a lot of stuff, then you write it, write in scenes with dialogue. Somewhere in the middle, rising from all this research like strong metal towers, is your opinions."
• "Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers."
• "The test of a good idea is its ability to last through a hangover."
• "Politics: Where fat, bald, disagreeable men, unable to be candidates themselves, teach a president how to act on a public stage."
• "The office of president is a bastardized thing, half royalty and half democracy, that nobody knows whether to genuflect or spit."
• "Pick up any newspaper in the morning. Count the words in the lead sentences. There will be at least 25 in all of them: Guaranteed. The writers just want to tell you how many degrees they have from this college or that university."