‘Buy a record. Help stamp out TV.’

True Taxi Tales by Quentin Heyne is really something. A 1963 memoir of gimlet-eyed ancedotes from a long-time D.C. cab driver. Samples:

A truck I passed on Constitution Avenue carried a banner on the side: “Buy a record. Help stamp out TV.” Not bad.


A real unrealistic sight is to see the pigeons congregating and roosting on the statue of General Scott at Scott Circle. The general is astride his charger and is in command of 14th Street plus Massachusetts Avenue until the pigeons take command of him, roosting on every inch of him and his horse’s body.


I delivered a passenger to one of our leading universities, and on the way out of the grounds, I said to the policeman on duty at the gate: “Well, what do you know worth talking about?” He replied: “Nothing.” I said: “What, nothing? With the vast stores of knowledge in those buildings?” He gave me: “All I see around here is a bunch of idiots.” We both chuckled at this.


A lady got out at 23rd and M and headed for U.S. News and World Report building. Before I could get rolling, she came back to open the cab door and said: “I am looking for my umbrella, don’t see it in your cab, I must have left it somewhere.” I told her: “Lady, look at your left arm, there is an umbrella strapped there.”

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