Douglas Coupland Quotes

A bland smile is like a green light at an intersection, it feels good when you get one, but you forget it the moment you’re past it.

A man in a bookstore buys a book on loneliness and every woman in the store hits on him. A woman buys a book on loneliness and the store clears out.

A ring is a halo on your finger.

Adventure without risk is Disneyland.

Americans are a quarter of a billion people who have almost nothing in common except for the fact they’ve been told they have lots in common.

Before machines the only form of entertainment people really had was relationships.

Being asked what animal you’d like to be is a trick question; you’re already an animal.

Big companies are like marching bands. Even if half the band is playing random notes, it still sounds kind of like music. The concealment of failure is built into them.

Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.

Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.

Brain research tells us that only twenty percent of human beings have a sense of irony, which means that eighty percent of the world takes everything at face value.

Canadians can easily ‘pass for American’ as long as we don’t accidentally use metric measurements or apologize when hit by a car.

Christmas makes everything twice as sad.

Cloning is great. If God made the original, then making copies should be fine.

Clowns drink to blot out the ravages of terrifying children for a living.

Depression is when you have lots of love, but no one’s taking.

Eagles are seagulls with a good hairdo.

Earth was not built for six billion people all running around and being passionate about things. The world was built for about two million people foraging for roots and grubs.

Every human being you see in the course of a day has a problem that’s sucking up at least 70 percent of his or her radar.

Every single moment is a coincidence.

Everybody has basically the same family, it’s just reconfigured slightly differently from one to the next.

Everybody past a certain age, regardless of how they look on the outside, pretty much constantly dreams of being able to escape from their lives.

Failure is authentic, and because it’s authentic, it’s real and genuine, and because of that, it’s a pure state of being.

Fate is for losers.

Feeling unique is no indication of uniqueness.

Figure out what it is in life you don’t do well, and then don’t do it.

Florida isn’t so much a place where one goes to reinvent oneself, as it is a place where one goes if one no longer wished to be found.

Flying dreams mean that you’re doing the right thing with your life.

Fondue sets, martini shakers and juicing machines: three things the world could live completely without.

Forget about being world famous, it’s hard enough just getting the automatic doors at the supermarket to acknowledge our existence.

Forget sex or politics or religion, loneliness is the subject that clears out a room.

Gap clothing allows you to look like you’re from nowhere and anywhere.

God is what keeps us together after the love is gone.

Good-looking people with strong, fluoridated teeth get things handed to them on platters.

Handmade presents are scary because they reveal that you have too much free time.

High school is such a shared experience in North American culture.

Human beings are the only animal that thinks they change who they are simply by moving to a different place. Birds migrate, but it’s not quite the same thing.

I don’t want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.

I find it hard to believe that human beings are the crowning achievement of life on earth. Something better than us has to come along.

I have trouble with seafood because it tastes like a dock.

I know it’s not cat food, but what exactly is it that they put inside of tinned ravioli?

I like doing radio because it’s so intimate. The moment people hear your voice, you’re inside there heads, not only that, you’re in there laying eggs.

I think money is due for some sort of collapse. People are going to realize that money has a half-life, like radioactive elements.

I think that in the future, clocks won’t say three o’clock anymore. They’ll just get right to the point and rename three o’clock ‘Pepsi.’

I think the killers get far too much attention.

I want pills called September 10. You take one and your mind feels like the 11th never happened.

I’ve got 911 on speed dial.

If a building looks better under construction than it does when finished, then it’s a failure.

If cats were double the size they are now, they’d probably be illegal.

If God drives a car, He’d drive a 1973 Ford LTD Brougham sedan with a claret-colored vinyl roof, with oxblood leather upholstery and an opera window.

If human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.

If I think too much about all of those Chinese factories where all the stuff in a Wal-Mart is made, I get that woozy feeling you get when you see ducks covered in crude oil.

If nothing else, we simply get used to being alive.

If our subconscious was attractive, we wouldn’t have to bury it down deep within us.

If someone decides to be a musician now, it means because there is no hope of money at the end of it, it means they really want to be a musician. And if someone is writing now, there is no hope for money at the end of it.

If you don’t change, then what’s the point of anything happening to you?

If you don’t have a spiritual practice in place when times are good, you can’t expect to suddenly develop one during a moment of crisis.

If you’re not a tree hugger, then you’re a what, a tree hater?

If your life had lyrics, would they be any good?

In our heads we’re all about 33 years old.

In the future, torture will once again become the recreational sport of the rich.

Is there anything in the world more annoyingly creepy than an unspoken dress code?

It also allows you to look as though you’re not particularly from the present, future or past, either.

It’s difficult to speak with beautiful people. No matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, you still want them to like you.

It’s very strange that most people don’t care if their knowledge of their family history only goes back three generations.

It’s weird when people start sentences with ‘frankly’ – as if their other sentences don’t count.

Life always kills you in the end, but first it prevents you from getting what you want.

Long lives aren’t natural. We forget that senior citizens are as much an invention as toasters or penicillin.

Lottery tickets are a surtax on desperation.

Make your goals big and broad enough so that they never become answered prayers and boomerang to curse you.

Making eye contact with adults while dressed as a clown is risky.

Men won’t read any email from a woman that’s over 200 words long.

Most of us have only two or three genuinely interesting moments in our lives; the rest is filler.

Most people have no idea how to politely answer a phone. The English do, and it’s been their only major business advantage for the past two centuries.

Nature is one great big wood-chipper. Sooner or later, everything shoots out the other end in a spray of blood, bones and hair.

Never loan a book to someone if you expect to get it back. Loaning books is the same as giving them away.

New York is a theme park for people with IQs over 108.

Nothing very very good and nothing very very bad ever lasts for very very long.

On TV people look at your hair and then they look at your skin, and then they look at your clothes, and by the time they’re listening to what you’re saying, you’re off the screen.

Once you establish a look, and once everybody recognizes that look as your look, you never have to think about fashion again.

Once you see someone lose it, you can never look at them the same way again.

One of the cruelest things you can do to another person is pretend you care about them more than you really do.

Only losers make decisions when things are bad. The time to rejig your life is the time when it’s seemingly smooth.

People are pretty forgiving when it comes to other people’s families. The only family that ever horrifies you is your own.

People will always choose more money over more sex.

Purchased experiences don’t count.

Quick. Name ten dead redheads.

Royalty is either going to do very well with cloning, or it’s going to disappear completely.

Salad bars are like a restaurant’s lungs. They soak up the impurities and bacteria in the environment, leaving you with much cleaner air to enjoy.

Sometimes failure isn’t an opportunity in disguise, it’s just you.

Sometimes it feels as if everything in life is just something we haul into the grave.

Sometimes the best lighting of all is a power failure.

Star Trek characters never go shopping.

Technology favors horrible people.

Telling people they look relaxed makes them look relaxed.

Ten commandments yet seven deadly sins: conflict?

The capacity for not feeling lonely can carry a very real price, that of feeling nothing at all.

The future and eternity are two entirely different things.

The harder you try to become the opposite of your parents, the more quickly you become them.

The modern economy isn’t about the redistribution of wealth, it’s about the redistribution of time.

The person who needs the other person the least in a relationship is the stronger member.

The real killers in the business world aren’t the ones who aim for the top, it’s the ones who aim for two notches below the top.

The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.

The universe hands you opportunities for a while, and if you don’t take them, the universe says to itself, ‘Oh I see, this person doesn’t like opportunities’ and stops giving them to you.

There are three things we cry about in life, things that are lost, things that are found, and things that are magnificent.

There’s a lot to be said for having a small manageable dream.

There’s much to be said for feeling numb. Time passes more quickly. You eat less, and because numbness encourages laziness, you do fewer things, good or bad, and the world’s probably a better place for it.

There’s nothing cure or funny or lovable about being cheap. It’s a total turn-off.

Thinking you’re immortal is weirdly similar to being immortal.

Tofu hot dogs are actually scarier than real hot dogs. It’s like wanting the worst possible meat product without even the thrill of it actually being meat.

Too much free time is certainly a monkey’s paw in disguise. Most people can’t handle a structureless life.

Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can’t. The brain doesn’t process negatives.

Unhappiness is something we are never taught about; we are taught to expect happiness, but never a Plan B to use to use when the happiness doesn’t arrive.

We decided that the French could never write user-friendly software because they’re so rude.

We live in an era with no historical precedents. History is no longer useful as a tool in helping us understand current changes.

We need to be around our families not because we have so many shared experiences to talk about, but instead because they know precisely which subjects to avoid.

We want our idols to be dead because it makes death a much less scary place.

We’re rapidly approaching a world comprised entirely of jail and shopping.

What exactly is it that humans do that is specifically human? There has to be something. How odd it is for billions of people to be alive, yet not one of them is really quite sure of what makes people people.

What if God exists except it turns out he doesn’t really like people very much?

When Donald Duck traded his wings for arms, was he trading up or trading down?

When future archaeologists dig up the remains of California, they’re going to find all of those gyms their scary-looking gym equipment, and they’re going to assume that we were a culture obsessed with torture.

When we constantly ask for miracles, we’re unraveling the fabric of the world. A world of continuous miracles would not be a world, it would be a cartoon.

When you crop the photo, you tell a lie.

Where does personality end and brain damage begin?

With Google I’m starting to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. People in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the sensation of feeling clueless.

Workshops and seminars are basically financial speed dating for clueless people.

You can never become rich unless you like rich people.

You can only fall in love six times in your life. Choose wisely.

You can’t fake creativity, competence, or sexual arousal.

You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life.

You pretend to be more eccentric than you actually are because you fear you are an interchangeable cog.

You spend a much larger part of your life being old, not young.

You wait for fate to bring about the changes in life which you should be bringing about by yourself.

Your ability to rationalize your own bad deeds makes you believe that the whole world is as amoral as you are.

Your body isn’t just a body. It’s an ecosystem.

Your brain forms roughly 10,000 new cells every day, but unless they hook up to preexisting cells with strong memories, they die. Serves them right.