A Room in Your Head

The quote of the day comes from a post by Roger Ebert:

Resentment is allowing someone to live rent-free in a room in your head.

You might say that the whole world lives rent-free in our heads—but in the daily-activity room, where we sit everyday, we choose who gets to sit with us. We choose whether it’s sunny or cloudy, whether we’re happy or pissed off. So the next time you’re in a bad mood, look around that room: there’s a guest there you need to eject.

Ebert’s post, by the way, was a reaction to the moving feature on him by Chris Jones in Esquire. (Both links via email from Peter.)


And yes, if I get bored of being a novelist, I can always turn to writing self-help books. With the help of an elegant polyster robe, a PR firm, and a few days of not shaving, I could even become a Godman. I can see myself gathering my disciples one day and saying, ‘The day has come, shishyo. The day has come for me to take you, once and for all, to Nirvana!’

‘Yes, guruji, yes,’ they shout, excited. A few of the women start moaning, rapturously remembering the private lessons I have previously imparted. I walk over to the side table. ‘Are you ready?’ I ask. ‘Are you ready for Nirvana?’

‘Yes, Guruji,’ they say. ‘Nirvana! Nirvana!’

I press the ‘play’ button on my iPod. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” starts to play. Happiness flows into the inner room.


Update: Arun Simha writes in to point out that Ebert’s quote is a variant of the line in this piece:

Ali has been living rent free in Frazier’s head for more than 25 years…



Update (March 11): Nilanjana writes in:

That’s not Ebert or even the author of the Ali-Frazier piece; it’s an old classic from the Alcoholics Anonymous lexicon. (Ebert’s written about his drinking and recovery years on his blog.)

Stephen King referenced it in one of his interviews about his sobriety journey, Clapton used the line in some of his post-sobriety interviews and it’s been kicking around The Rooms since the time of Bill W and Dr Bob.

I guess Ebert kept the quote rent-free in his head, then. And why not? It’s a good one to hang on the wall.