12 May 2010

A Few Minutes with …

I like to think of myself an absolutely dead-center, average, normal American. For example, like most people, I served in the armed forces in wartime. That ought to count for something.

Granted, that war ended 65 years ago, before some of you were born. And I can’t remember which side I fought on. But it ought to count.

Like most average Americans, I’m over the age of 90, and I go to work every day in an office in Manhattan. I prefer to use a manual typewriter. Just like you.

Whenever I make a public appearance, little old ladies throw their panties at me. Just the way they do for any average, normal American. That ought to count, too.

Like you, I’ve worked for the same employer since 1949. Harry Truman was President. You remember him.

And like you, I was born in 1919. Woodrow Wilson was President. Nowadays a lot of political analysts will tell you that Barack Obama is some kind of a latter-day Wilson. Don’t listen to them: I know. I was there. There’s no similarity!

When Wilson was President, I fussed and whined all day long, when I wasn’t napping, and I wore a diaper. Whereas today — d’you ever take a good look at a paper clip? I wonder who makes those things.

At the television news division where I work, like you, hundreds and thousands of skilled and talented people have been laid off or cut back over the past quarter-century. They’re not average, normal Americans, though, like you and me.

Americans like us are paid a few million dollars a year just to ramble on in a vague, irritable way about trivial or mundane topics for three minutes each week, with time off over the summer. So that we can think of new things to get irritated about.

They might not pay me if I couldn’t think of anything to say. Sometimes they do, but I don’t want to push it. I don’t like to use the same piece more than three or four times a year, either. Somebody might notice. But if I doodle around enough and don’t come to the point, they probably won’t.

People will say, “Gee, that reminds me of that piece he did about — what was it about, Martha?” “No, you’re thinking of that other piece.” I can just hear them, even without turning up my battery.

I ought to do what average, normal writers like William S. Burroughs and Larry King would do. I ought to take my old essays and cut ’em up and rearrange ’em in different order. I bet they’d sound different then.

I used to keep a meter running, so I could count how much money I was making. I had it attached to that little stopwatch they use at the beginning and end of the show. That’s American ingenuity for you. Then they shortened my segments, and now the numbers go too fast. They give me a headache.

I’m only guessing, but I’ve probably made about $300 thousand since I started talking.

If I’m so average, why is it that I don’t know any of the popular stars of blue movies today? I don’t mean know them personally. I just mean the names. Somebody sent me a magazine, and I didn’t recognize any of the stars.

Winona Ryde-me. Who’s that? I guess some people like her. To each his own. What ever happened to Wynonna Juggs? She may be getting on in years, by now, but I’ll bet she’s still sexy. There’s nothing an older woman can’t do just as well as a younger woman.

I don’t really believe that. I just have to appeal to my fan-base. Keep those cards and letters and panties coming, ladies.

I still call them “blue movies.” They never were blue, really. They were black-and-white, and usually pretty fuzzy. But it wouldn’t sound like much fun if you called them “black-and-white-and-fuzzy movies.” If you said to your absolutely dead-center, average, normal army buddies, “Hey, let’s take in a black-and-white-and-fuzzy movie,” they’d probably say no. I know I would.

Nowadays the movies do look kind of blue, when I take enough of my little pills. I pop ’em like breath mints.

D’you ever wonder why they don’t make mint-flavored pills? I bet they’d sell more if they tasted better. Somebody told me you’re not supposed to chew them. I don’t know if you’re supposed to, but I know what I like. So I’m going to keep on chewing them.

They don’t make blue movies the way they used to, that’s for sure. Remember On Golden Blonde? Now there was a blue movie the whole family could enjoy. That’s the one where Jane Fondle did that back-flip. That was a classic. I wonder where I put my Super-8 projector.

D’you ever wonder why you can’t find your equipment anymore? Sometimes, I don’t even remember how it works.

It’s probably in the same place where I put my copy of On Golden Blonde, right next to the point of this essay. I guess I mislaid that, too. Too late to go and look for it now. I ran out of time about two minutes ago.

I wonder whether anybody will notice that my essay cut off in the middle, before I’ve come to the point.

Probably not.

1 comment:

GirlFromTexas said...

I saw the original piece you reference on "60 Minutes" the other day, and while I usually find Andy funny and agree with him, this time he seemed just a little too old-fartish. It frightened me, b/c I see my future as a whiney cranky old fart, and the in denial baby-boomer in me felt an overwhelming urge to go out and buy some hipster square archi looking glasses, black leather clothing, and neon green Vans..... Oh, wait, I'm already wearing that. Now what?