The Corner

Take Two, They’re Small?

In Impromptus today, I have a little fun with opening lines. John J. Miller’s latest book, as you know, is The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football. His opening line is, “I met my wife on the way to a football game.” In my column, I say that this reminds me (“so help me”) of Richard Nixon. He begins his memoirs, “I was born in a house my father built.” A haunting line, to get haunting memoirs rolling.

I go on to recall my two favorite opening lines, all time. The first comes from P. G. Wodehouse’s short story “The Heart of a Goof”: “It was a morning when all nature shouted Fore.” The second comes from The Search for God, by Marchette Chute: “Job was not a patient man.”

Okay, this is what I’m leading to, in this here Corner post: A reader writes in to mention “Knock,” the famous short story, of the sci-fi genre, written by Frederic Brown in the 1940s. It begins, “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door . . .”

Great stuff, I acknowledge. But two lines.

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