Mary Roach - Quotes

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I don't fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach.

I don't fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those, I imagine death presents like a holiday at the beach.

I used to do my best thinking while staring out airplane windows. The seat-back video system put a stop to that. Now I sit and watch old' Friends' and 'Everybody Loves Raymond' episodes. Walking is good, but here again, technology has interfered. I like to listen to iTunes while I walk home. I guess I don't think anymore.

I used to do my best thinking while staring out airplane windows. The seat-back video system put a stop to that. Now I sit and watch old' Friends' and 'Everybody Loves Raymond' episodes. Walking is good, but here again, technology has interfered. I like to listen to iTunes while I walk home. I guess I don't think anymore.

I don't write on topics that require a lot of urgency. But in 'Stiff,' I wanted to change people's hearts about organ donation. Whenever I get a chance, I try to talk about that. ---->>>

I think by and large, humans prefer to think of themselves as minds from the neck up. We don't really like to think of ourselves as another animal, another digesting, excreting, mating, snoring, sleeping kind of sack of guts. I don't think we like that. I think we'd rather not be reminded of it. ---->>>

If you could really guarantee that the money would be spent on something more worthwhile, I'd say, absolutely, scrap the space program, but it never works that way. ---->>>

When I was 16, I had a job on the cleaning crew at a local hospital. I wore a pink uniform and cleaned bathrooms and buffed the hallway linoleum. Oddly, I don't recall hating the job. I recall getting choked up at the end of the summer when I went to turn in my uniform and say goodbye to the ladies. ---->>>

You won't see me writing about particle physics, or even planetary geology, or chemistry. I practically failed chemistry, and if I had to write a book in any of those areas, I don't think it would go well. ---->>>

The broader the topic, the easier it is, not only to fill a book, but to set the bar pretty high for really great stuff. ---->>>

To me, NASA is kind of the magical kingdom. I was sort of a geek, and you go there, and there are just these wondrously strange things and people. ---->>>

Every crazy fad from the 1800s comes back or they never go away. It's like fashion, like everything's already been invented, and somebody stumbles onto it and people will always, always be looking for an answer for some vague illness they can't get a diagnosis for. ---->>>

A fine book, in the perfect setting, when there's all the time in the world to read it: Life holds greater joys, but none come to mind just now. ---->>>

All of my books tend to be about things going on in labs that you wouldn't really expect. ---->>>

Gravitation is the lust of the cosmos. ---->>>

I believe that not everything we humans encounter in our lives can be neatly and convincingly tucked away inside the orderly cabinetry of science. ---->>>

If I couldn't use food or love to define contentment, I would use reading. ---->>>

Pet foods come in a variety of flavors because that's what humans like, and we assume our pets like what we like. We're wrong. ---->>>

All the clothes in my closet are Oakland, California, clothes. You can't wear those anywhere else. The barometric pressure drops and then where are you? ---->>>

For the scientists, they're kind of puzzled and pleased that somebody finds their work interesting. It makes it fun for me. I feel like I've sort of turned over a stone that hasn't been turned over. ---->>>

Eighty percent of flavor comes from your nose, including a set of internal nostrils. When you chew food and hold it in your mouth, the gases that are released goes into these nostrils. People who wolf their food are missing some of the flavor. ---->>>

I've read plenty of amazing science pieces where the writers don't hang out in labs. I just have fun doing it. And I get rewarded for it; I get gushy, especially when kids tell me they expected to be bored by my books, but weren't. ---->>>

Chew on this: Human teeth can detect a grain of sand or grit 10 microns in diameter. A micron is 1/25,000 of an inch. If you shrank a Coke can until it was the diameter of a human hair, the letter O in the product name would be about 10 microns across. ---->>>

Every now and then, someone will tell me that one of my books has made them laugh out loud. I never believe them because: a.) my books don't make me laugh out loud; and b.) sometimes I have said this to a writer, when really what I meant was, 'Your book made me smile appreciatively.'

Every now and then, someone will tell me that one of my books has made them laugh out loud. I never believe them because: a.) my books don't make me laugh out loud; and b.) sometimes I have said this to a writer, when really what I meant was, 'Your book made me smile appreciatively.'

I have a nice little office, with a nice little window in it, but I do basically spend huge amounts of time in what you could consider solitary confinement. ---->>>

I love words, but I also love finding out that there is a word for something that you've experienced but didn't know there was a word for. Like 'toothpack' - that is a word for when you eat biscuits or cookies and you get that annoying layer of chewed substance on your molars that you kind of have to pick out. ---->>>

In terms of sustainability and what we eat and what its footprint is on the environment and the consequences of eating one thing versus another, obviously it makes a lot of sense to be eating insects. They're incredibly plentiful. They've got a very short turnover rate. You could be eating termites. ---->>>

Meteorite hunting is not for wimps. The best places to look are also the coldest and windiest. You need very old ice, and you need wind, lots of it, strong and unrelenting. Antarctica fits the bill. ---->>>

Most of us pass our lives never once laying eyes on our own organs, the most precious and amazing things we own. Until something goes wrong, we barely give them thought. This seems strange to me. How is it that we find Christina Aguilera more interesting than the inside of our own bodies? ---->>>

My books are not really books; they're endless chains of distraction shoved inside a cover. Many of them begin at the search box of Pub Med, an Internet database of medical journal articles. ---->>>

One of the maddening ironies of writing books is that it leaves so little time for reading others'. My bedside is piled with books, but it's duty reading: books for book research, books for review. The ones I pine for are off on a shelf downstairs. ---->>>

Saliva has antibacterial properties. It also has things called nerve growth factor, skin growth factor, histatins which help with wound closure. So when you see an animal licking a wound or even a mom kissing a child's boo-boo, there's some, there's some good science behind why one might do this. ---->>>

Science is you! It's your head, it's your dog, it's your iPhone - it's the world. How do you see that as boring? If it's boring, it's because you're learning it from a textbook. ---->>>

There are fast chewers and slow chewers, long chewers and short chewers, right-chewing people and left-chewing people. Some of us chew straight up and down, and others chew side-to-side, like cows. Your oral processing habits are a physiological fingerprint. ---->>>

To keep your he-man jaw muscles from smashing your precious teeth, the only set you have, the body evolved an automated braking system faster and more sophisticated than anything on a Lexus. The jaw knows its own strength. The faster and more recklessly you close your mouth, the less force the muscles are willing to apply. ---->>>

We exist in this weirdly schizo culture, where sex is everywhere in the media, and yet, at the same time, you don't sit down and have a conversation about what you did in bed last night with your friends. Despite the ubiquity of sex, it's still a taboo when it comes to day-to-day conversation. ---->>>

There are people who would love to spend their last ten years, or five years, or whatever it is, on the surface of Mars. ---->>>

In 'Packing for Mars,' I tried to convey the importance of getting young people interested in science. ---->>>

A space station is a rangy monstrosity, a giant erector set built by a madman. ---->>>

Astronauts are like these mythic legends, but really, they are just regular people, people who wear chinos. ---->>>

Day by day, I'm kind of a bore. ---->>>

Editors are more concerned with the first chapters of a book; that's what everyone reads first in the bookstore or in the online sample. ---->>>

Flatulence peaks twice a day... five hours after lunch and five hours after dinner. ---->>>

Fletcherizing is gross. I tried it once. I tried to go until it's all liquid, and it just creeps you out to be focusing so much on your chewing. ---->>>

I rarely listen to music while writing. I wish I could, but it distracts me. ---->>>

I talk to a lot of people who, when you try to sum them up in a couple of sentences, seem like they must be insane. ---->>>

I'm a science goober. ---->>>

I'm not a quick wit. I'm only funny on paper. I mean, I'm not totally humorless! It's just that in person, I'm not quite the way I am on paper. ---->>>

I'm one of those goobers who comes out of the polling place actually wearing the 'I VOTED' sticker on my jacket. ---->>>

I've been writing full-time since about 1984 - mostly magazine features and columns. ---->>>

It is interesting to come across people who feel that a ghost communicating via a spell-checker is less far-fetched than a software glitch. ---->>>

Literally thousands of e-mails over the course of a book go out to people I've never met, people who might end up being the focus of a chapter. ---->>>

People don't appreciate their intestines until something goes wrong. But I always hope that people gain a little appreciation for their guts. ---->>>

The Internet is a boon for hypochondriacs like me. ---->>>

To me, death is dark, pain, grief. ---->>>

When I'm done with a book, I always give it to someone with expertise in the topic and tell them to flag all of my stupid mistakes. ---->>>

Bodily fluids and solids are universally the most disgusting things we as human beings can come upon, but as long as they are inside us, it's part of you. ---->>>

Animals' taste systems are specialized for the niche they occupy in the environment. That includes us. As hunters and foragers of the dry savannah, our earliest forebears evolved a taste for important but scarce nutrients: salt and high-energy fats and sugars. That, in a nutshell, explains the widespread popularity of junk food.

Animals' taste systems are specialized for the niche they occupy in the environment. That includes us. As hunters and foragers of the dry savannah, our earliest forebears evolved a taste for important but scarce nutrients: salt and high-energy fats and sugars. That, in a nutshell, explains the widespread popularity of junk food.

Any time you can take a book a little beyond the realm of pure entertainment, I think it's a good thing. But I don't really have it on my to-do list when I write a book. It just evolves naturally during the process of immersing yourself in a subject. ---->>>

Because there are now online databases of federally funded research, and these databases are searchable by keyword, sex researchers have to be careful how they title their projects. It's become a simple matter, for those who are so inclined, to find and target researchers whose work they object to on religious grounds. ---->>>

Dead people never seem to address the obvious - the things you'd think they'd be bursting to talk about, and the things all of us not-yet-dead are madly curious about. Such as: 'Hey, where are you now? What do you do all day? What's it feel like being dead? Can you see me? Even when I'm on the toilet? Would you cut that out?' ---->>>

Everybody is going to die, so people are enthralled by the possibility that they don't have to completely die, that there is something that comes afterward. It's like if you're going to France for the summer, you're going to read up on it. Everyone just wants to know where they're going, or if they're going anywhere. ---->>>

Follow your instincts. Do the kind of writing you love to do and do best. 'Stiff' was an oddball book - I mean, a funny book about cadavers? - and I worried that it would be too unconventional. In the end, that's what has made it a success, I think. ---->>>

For the most part, if somebody approaches me and says, 'I'd like to interview you,' who am I to say no, when I spend all my days going, 'Hello, you don't know me. I'd like to ask you some questions. Do you have a little time?' ---->>>

I could have had a session of defecography, which is a diagnostic test in which X-rays are taken to assess anatomical problems occurring during the process of defecation. I gave it the briefest of thoughts before recognizing that this is beyond the pale - even for me. ---->>>

I didn't really realize that writing... would be fun and people would pay you to do it. Being an astronaut is a glory profession, and so is writing, in a way. ---->>>

I don't know of many people who've done sex research with an eye toward people saying sex is bad for you, except for the promiscuity and cervical cancer link - which is actually a valid discovery. ---->>>

I don't read good books anymore, it seems; I just buy them and put them on the shelf and every now and then walk over and pet them. I'm like the optimistic dieter who fills her closet with clothes two sizes too small and dreams of the day she can wear them. I know just what I want to do when I retire. ---->>>

I get really excited about specific therapies, personalized therapies. Like, let's say, taking a piece of someone's tumor and testing a bunch of treatments in a lab and being able to come up with the right therapy for that specific patient. ---->>>

I had a bike accident a few years ago, and I went to the emergency room, and I had to have a gash sewn up. And I am the kind of person that I was sitting up fascinated, watching, to the extent that the doctor said, 'Do you want to do a couple of stitches? You seem to be very interested.' ---->>>

I have not eaten a lot of insects. I ate a termite in Africa, but it was on a bet. It was a soldier termite. It was alive, and I don't really recommend the live soldier termite as something you want to start with if you're going to start exploring eating insects. ---->>>

I make lists to keep my anxiety level down. If I write down 15 things to be done, I lose that vague, nagging sense that there are an overwhelming number of things to be done, all of which are on the brink of being forgotten. ---->>>

I spend a lot of my time on the phone, pestering people. 'What's new in your lab? Can I come visit your lab? When can I come visit your lab?' I'm basically a professional pesterer. ---->>>

I think that the women's magazines and a lot of those quick tips for better sex, I think that they do people a disservice, sometimes, because they become very focused on - they're thinking, 'Okay, I read that I should do this, and am I doing it right?' ---->>>

I write with a sense of my future readers being ever on the verge of setting down the book and pronouncing it a bore. Fear and insecurity are great motivators. ---->>>

I'm always imposing my taste in books on others. I hope that people enjoy being surprised by a book they might not otherwise read - I enjoy the surprise myself when others do this to me. ---->>>

I'm drawn to the taboos that surround the human body. I find it fascinating that we are repelled by many of the acts and processes that keep us alive. ---->>>

I've always been a bit of a space geek. I wrote an article years ago about the neutral buoyancy tank, which is this biblically sized pool where they train astronauts. And it was just the coolest thing. ---->>>

If ergonomists have their way, future products won't be built for some hypothetical average person but will conform to the biomechanical needs of whatever particular human body happens to come into contact with them. ---->>>

If you get a colonoscopy, you should really insist they give you no drugs - then you do get to see what it's like to swim through your own intestines. ---->>>

It seems odd to think of tasting without any perceptive experience, but you are doing it right now. Humans have taste receptor cells in the gut, the voice box, the upper esophagus. But only the tongue's receptors report to the brain. ---->>>

LOL is rarely OL, or even really L. A real out-loud laugh - not the forced social variety, which is closer to barking than laughing - is uncommon among adults. ---->>>

Most of the people who are engaged in the subjects that I look into are pretty interesting. Whether its sex researchers or someone who's devoted their career to saliva or somebody who does research with cadavers, there's an inherent fascination in the subject matter of their work. ---->>>

Mushy food is a form of sensory deprivation. In the same way that a dark, silent room will eventually drive you to hallucinate, the mind rebels against bland, single-texture foods, edibles that do not engage the oral device. ---->>>

My husband recently made me try on a bikini. A bikini is not so much a garment as a cloth-based reminder that your parts have been migrating all these years. My waist, I realized that day in the dressing room, has completely disappeared beneath my rib cage, which now rests directly on my hips. I'm exhibiting continental drift in reverse. ---->>>

People are surprisingly off put just by saliva, the substance that you carry around in your mouth. You swallow it. You have no objection to it. But then it leaves your body, and you're just revolted. So it - that - just that right there to me is a fascinating thing. ---->>>

Picking my topics is sort of a process of elimination for me. Most things don't work for me. I like to cover science and unexpected things happening in labs. Also, theoretical research doesn't work for my style. I need scenes and interactions. Then, humor. I'm having the most fun when I can have fun with my work. ---->>>

Spacewalking is a little like rock climbing in that everything, including and especially oneself, must be tethered or docked at all times. If you forget to tether a tool, it's gone. Ditto yourself. ---->>>

There are three kinds of people in this world: 1) People who make lists, 2) People who don't make lists, and 3) People who carve tiny Nativity scenes out of pecan hulls. I'm sorry, there isn't really a third category; it's just that a workable list needs a minimum of three items, I feel. ---->>>

They say that women's sexual peaks are in their 30s or 40s, and I think that it happens because they're more comfortable. It's not some hormonal change that happens at that age. Of course, it would be nice to have more physiological insight on that. ---->>>

Though it's harder to justify the use of a cadaver for practicing nose jobs than it is for practicing coronary bypasses, it is justifiable nonetheless. Cosmetic surgery exists, for better or for worse, and it's important, for the sake of those who undergo it, that the surgeons who do it are able to do it well. ---->>>

Ultimately, the problem is that sex is perceived as a personal, intimate thing, not in the realm of science. But that's not true. It's physiology; it's anatomy. It deserves to be studied. ---->>>

Weightlessness was unbelievable. It's physical euphoria: Nothing about you has any weight. You don't realize that you are weighed down all the time by yourself, and your organs, and your head. Your arms weigh down your shoulders. In space simulation, you get to fly like Superman! You're hanging in the air! It's the coolest thing. ---->>>

When I was a kid, I hated everything. I was really skinny, and I'd have a milkshake with an egg in it. Growing up, I ate, like, five different foods. I was not an adventurous eater. But as soon as I left home, that all changed and from that point on, I've been a pretty enthusiastic eater of new and strange food. ---->>>

When someone tells me, 'Oh, we have so many problems on Earth; space exploration costs too much money,' I say, 'I absolutely agree with you. But I still hope we do it.' ---->>>

When you buy my books, you kind of know what you're in for. It's kind of self-selecting. If you have a delicate sensibility, and you're easily grossed out, you probably will never read one of my books. ---->>>

Will I switch to E-reading? I won't, mainly because I love the look and feel of books - particularly hardbacks. I love them enough to put up with the minor hassles of lugging them around and maneuvering them in my lap and having to set them aside while I eat my cheeseburger. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: 03-20, 1959
Birthplace:
Die:
Occupation: Author
Website:

Mary Roach is an American author, specializing in popular science and humor. As of 2016, she has published seven books,: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005) (published in some markets as Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife), Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008), Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (2010), My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013), and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (2016) (wikipedia)