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Witty quips, lies, half-truths and more lies, setups, put-downs, and still more lies

It was my last workday off for this grand vacation, and I sensed some sadness creeping toward me. Vanquished it with several peanut butter sandwiches, before running a few errands:

1. Needed to buy some new britches, as the ones I’ve been wearing are getting rather ratty. Can’t be just any britches, though. They have to be Ben Davis brand, because in pants from any other maker, the crotch will split the third or fourth time I bend over. There are only two stores in town that carry Ben Davis in my humongous size, but alas, both shops had empty shelves where my jeans should’ve been, so I get to keep my money and keep looking lousy.

2-5. Just more errands you couldn’t possibly care about and I barely do.

On errand #4, though, it was a challenge not laughing out loud when a man on Muni tapped his girlfriend or wife on the shoulder, pointed at a McDonald’s out the window, and suggested cheerfully — like he’s a commercial — “Let’s eat at McDonald’s!” She smiled enormously and rang the bus-bell, and they happily toddled off and ate McFood for McLunch.

It’s best not to judge, and I tried not to ... but didn't try very hard. I've eaten McD or Burger King thousands of times, and might tomorrow — they both have factories in my neighborhood, and sometimes I’m too lazy to make a sandwich at home. But it's something else again, something space-alien weird if you ask me, to be so gol-durn happy about it.

And we were on the 14 bus, rolling through San Francisco's Mission District, past at least a hundred terrific little burrito places, Chinese take-outs, and family-run burgeramas. With all that, I can't even half-understand the joy in that man’s voice when he said, “Let’s eat at McDonald’s!” 

♦ ♦ ♦

I ate up a fine double feature at the Roxie tonight.

The Strip (1951) is hip to the beat on the music scene, daddy-O, along L.A.’s Sunset Strip. Louis Armstrong sings a song, but of course he’s just a background player in a band with such greats as Mickey Rooney and William Demerast (Uncle Charlie on My Three Sons). Rooney plays a drummer (yeah, right) who gets mixed up with the mob.

Noir it’s not, because Rooney is too cherubic to be believable with a dark side, but it’s fun. Take a look at that gorgeous Marilyn Monroe lookalike hatcheck girl, who keeps getting brushed off by Rooney all through the movie.

Sweet Smell of Success (1957) is as cynical as I am, with dazzling pricksmanship by Tony Curtis as a smart-and-sour PR man, and Burt Lancaster as a back-stabbing big-city newspaper columnist. This one has buckets of witty quips, lies, half-truths and more lies, setups, put-downs, and still more lies, in a world where everybody wants something and anybody will stop at nothing to get it, whatever it is — just like life, only life doesn’t have such a smartass script.

It’s a marvelous movie, the three-cherry slot machine winner of the week. With the possible exception of Ace in the Hole, I’ve never seen a movie so acerbic. Sweet Smell plays in Berkeley next month, and I already want to see it again.

From Pathetic Life #7
Friday, December 2, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life   

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