Friday, November 24, 2017

"The (Literally) Incalculable 'Top Ten'"

Two women, both formidable TV writers who worked on Major Dad when I ran the show during the late 1980’s attended the Yom Kippur “Fast Break” celebration at our house a few weeks ago.  As always, it was wonderful to see them, both because I adore and admire them and we are rarely otherwise in contact, and also because it suggests – mystifyingly, to me – that I may have been a better boss than I remember being, which was terrible.  Not “Harvey Weinstein” terrible but congenitally grumpy, ramdomly insensitive, a conspicuously uninspiring leader of women and men.

Judging from our continuing – voluntary – association, I must have done something okay, though – and I am not being “fake humble” about this – I have no idea what.

Anyway, they came.  And, as usual with people I annually encounter – if that often – the question arises,

“Are you still writing your blog?”

(Note: The overwhelming majority of my readers are strangers.  EARL’S FRIENDS:  “We know him.  Funny, but whiney.”  An imaginably credible rationale for keeping their distance.)


We somehow get to the suggestion of the following: 

“Why not put together your, like, ten favorite blog posts and then distribute them to your friends.”

As with the issue of why people who worked under me almost thirty years ago are still willing to hang out with me – I was once again head-scratching mystified.

Why the mystification?

Because I like all “2500-and-counting” of my posts.


Pretty much.

"How could that possibly be?"

Well, it’s like,

“Which of your personal ‘DNA Dots’ do you prefer?”

They’re all me, each emerging from the, hopefully deep-as-the-ocean, “Me Reservoir.”  To me, on some meaningful level, they are all equally the same, making it unfathomable to select a definitive “Top Ten.”  Maybe it's just "I'm too close", but I do the best I know how - I'm happy.  There's no "Ah - that one!" or "Whoa - that one."  They're "What I did", and that's it. 

Not only do I feel equally (relatively) content completing my daily blogatorial exercise, but every story, without exception, brings and unexpected surprise – which are way better than expected surprises – a microscopic “Me Speck” previously hidden from my awareness – a suddenly illuminated conceptual insight, some innately Earlo-istical turn of phrase.  

How could I possibly “play favorites”?

(In this way – and this way alone – I am akin to the (possibly non-existent) “Creator”, who could not imaginably like America best, because the (possibly non-existent) “Supreme Being” also created Romania, Sierra Leone and – in geographical terms not in “Divine Appreciation” – The Lesser Antilles.)

One (personally experienced) exception:

I once met legendary film composer Jerry Goldsmith, to whom I gushed about how much I enjoyed his scores for Hoosiers and Rudy, especially Hoosiers, to which Mr. Goldsmith startlingly proclaimed,

“I actually prefer Rudy.”

“Startlingly” not because he should have preferred Hoosiers, but because he did not – as “creatives” invariably do – say, “It’s like asking, ‘Which one of your children do you like best’?”  Jerry Goldsmith declared a preferential “offspring.”  Leaving me flabbergasted, though thankfully not responding facetiously, “Well you’re wrong! 

Okay, back to me. 

I do have a favorite blog post.  (I rate all the others essentially the same, meaning, no hierarchical order of personal preference, descending to “Worst Just Thinking Blog Post of All Time.”  (Although I am beginning to wonder about this one.)

I revealed to the two women attending our “Break Fast” (where nobody actually fasted except me) that my favorite post of them all was called,

How The Jews Lost the Lead

Explaining the selected title derived from a (hopefully accurate) anecdote I once heard.

Trumpeter Louie Armstrong – nicknamed “Pops” – and comedian Richard Pryor were appearing on the same program, and when Richard Pryor went to pay his dutiful respects at the venerable Armstrong’s dressing room, opening with, “What’s happenin’, ‘Pops’?”, the iconic musician dolefully replied,

“White folks, still in the lead.”
“How the Jews Lost the Lead” chronicled the fact that once, there were more Jews than there were Christians on this earth.  Then the Christians rocketed ahead, and, after that, it was, “Katie, bar the door!”

The post’s specifics involved a subcommittee of two “converted” former Jews, assigned the task of attracting converts to the new faith, as there were, at the time, only twelve Christians.  Thirteen, if you count Jesus.  Then twelve, when he “checked out.”  And then thirteen, when he came back.  No, wait – twelve, because – no Judas.  That’s not a lot of people for a religion.  That’s a baseball team, with three substitutes.

The two “converts” consider the promotable “Selling Points” of Christianity, “Eating pork” being a prominent inducement.  (Kosher “bacon” is notoriously uncrispy.)  They consider other distinctions – “Their ‘Day of rest’ is on Saturday; ours will be Sunday!” – but it’s, like, “So what?” (Although, concerning his problem with a Saturday “Day of Rest”, the proponent of the day-later “switch” explains, “I wasn’t tired yet.”)  Finally, they arrive at the absolute “Clincher”… which you’ll need to “Search”, or wait till I reprint it to find out.  I’ll tell ya, it’s a doozie!  Keeping Christianity perennially in the lead.  (Compared to their previous progenitors.)

Okay, now I’m uncomfortable.  And feeling embarrassed.

I am about to ask for a favor, a favor, similar to, “Look through this photo album:  Tell me which picture of me you like best?”

Suppose I ask you to pick… no that’s too much.

Okay, just this. 

And, of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.  I’d just be curious to know.

Regular readers…

What – if anything – I have written particularly sticks out in your mind, and – if it’s not asking too much – why?  (Forget about the stuff you don’t like.  I shall poll the people who aren’t reading later.  I know.  How?)

I would appreciate your effort.  Your accumulated suggestions could help me assemble that “Top Ten” I can disseminate amongst my friends. 

Although, if you’ve read them and they haven’t…

Oh well.

Maybe they’re just a different kind of friend.


Pidgy Gordon said...

Sorry. Can't help. Love them all!

FFS said...

I enjoy them all and particularly ones about your time in London. I was there at the same time as you and your blogs help me recall my time there. This is important to me because I am finding it increasingly difficult to recall earlier periods in my life. I appreciate the nudge that helps me remember happy times working at the Windmill and reading about the Leafs in 3 day old copies of the G&M at Canada House.

JED said...

I like your once-in-a-while series, "The Story of a Writer"

I like your stories of encounters with famous people.

I like your posts when Blue Italics Man intervenes. Those are like watching a good ventriloquist.

I like your "interviews". Whether it's the ones with animals or the actors from the non-starring roles in Westerns.

As a matter of fact, when I was looking up one of my favorite interview, the one with the giraffe, you wrote this (for a reprise of the original article):

Without question, my most enjoyable form of blog writing is "The Conversation" - two or three characters simply talking to each other, like regular people, only they're made up, or at least their dialogue is made up, and occasionally, they're animals.

So, at that time, you enjoyed those blog posts the most. But that was three years ago. I think people's tastes change over time. So, I won't hold you to this.

In the end, like Pidgy (or should I say Ms. Gordon?), I love all your blog posts.

angel said...

Your Presents Are Requested. Hands down favorite. :-)

Greg said...

The ones that come to mind:

Would not exactly call it a blog post but a while back you provided an entertaining "what if" scenario of when Superman landed on earth as a baby.

I always enjoy the stories of the summer visits to your cabin in Indiana.

Actually, the posts about your travels are usually the most memorable for me. Believe there was one about beach towels in Hawaii?

Always grateful for any post that can bring a smile or a laugh.