The Wit and Wisdom of Irwin Weil

The following are some examples of the humor and insight Professor Irwin Weil brings to his classroom:

"Youth is a disease that can be cured."

"A Russian short story begins at page 1,000. A fellow’s got to warm up a little."

"For years I said, ‘Look, you want a solid, stable currency? Invest in the ruble.’ Twenty years ago the ruble was worth zero. Today the ruble is worth zero. It just doesn’t fluctuate. The dollar goes up, the dollar goes down; invest in rubles, and you’ll have stability."

"Several years ago I was riding home at midnight in a friend’s car. We were near the Moscow River, where it’s very dark. Suddenly some young-looking fellows started waving their hands. My friend sped away. I asked, ‘Who were those guys, anyway?’ And he said, ‘Well, if we would have stopped, they would have beaten and robbed us.’ ‘Really?’ I said. ‘Well, where are the police?’ And he said, ‘They are the police.’"

"Gorbechev at one time tried to cut off the vodka supply - this was a major mistake - and people were standing in line for hours for vodka, and they were freezing. Finally one man said, ‘I can’t stand it any longer. I’m going to go out and get a gun and shoot Gorbechev.’ So he went away but came back in a couple of hours. His friends asked, ‘Well, did you do it?’ And he said, ‘Ha! You think there’s a long line here?’"

"I remember the old story Russians used to tell about their press. It seems there was a celebration day on Red Square and the army was going through and the tanks were going through, and there were three historical people watching. One was Alexander the Great, one was Genghis Khan and one was Napoleon. Alexander looked at the tanks and he said, ‘Boy, what chariots! Give me chariots like that, and I would have conquered the world!’ In a thick Tartar accent, Genghis Khan said, ‘Look at the rockets! If I had rockets like that, I would destroy the whole world.’ Meanwhile, Napoleonchik, as they used to call him, put on his glasses and started to read Pravda. He said, ‘Boy, if I would have had newspapers like this, nobody would have read about Waterloo! ’"

"In the old days, they could say nothing good about America. I used to get mad as hell. Nowadays, they can’t say anything bad about America, and I get mad as hell. They said, ‘There’s no satisfying you; you’re just a crank.’ I said, ‘But look, you should have a balanced picture of the United States. It’s not a perfect country. On the other hand, it’s not hell either.’ They said, ‘Listen, mister, Russia is the only country in the world that has an unpredictable past.’"