Nobody ever dreaded school more than I did; I was a stutterer. Until I became a professional writer right after college, my oral delivery was strangled by hesitations, tremors, shakes and the peculiar mental fear of stumbling on a certain letter that is sure to make anyone stumble on a certain letter.
Back in 1973 or so, Tim O’Brien wrote an Esquire editor about doing an article on Vietnam. “Some facet of the war,” O’Brien says. “I don’t even remember what now. Veterans coming home or something like that.” This was around the time O’Brien’s first book, If I Die in a Combat Zone (a memoir of his tour in Vietnam), had been published to unanimously favorable reviews.
Since June I’ve been trying to get a job, and frankly I haven’t found very much to laugh about. Until I read your July issue (How To Get a Job), I considered myself the object of everyone else’s jokes, but now I don’t know. When one discovers the story of her life on the cover of Esquire, one cannot help feeling just a little bit important.
At night, when the tourists have gone, the village of St.-Paulde-Vence, perched on a hill above the Mediterranean, is still much as it must have been four hundred thirty years ago when François I of France fortified the place with ramparts that still stand.
<p>The day I was born, as I was to be often told, my father gave me a dog for a birthday present. Very early in life, then, I was to learn about the power of odd coincidence, because my dog turned out to be a duck dog and my father turned out to be a duck hunter and evidently, at least in my infancy, I did not resemble a duck and the dog did not give a damn about me.</p>
Life is assuredly more like a pinball machine than like anything else in the modern culture, and by this I do not simply mean that we go bouncing around from one thumper bumper to the next, or that the scores we rack up are as much luck as skill, or that no matter how well we do, the game always ends.
<p>Returning to record reviewing after a layoff of several years, I am astonished at how different the whole recording picture looks. Not just the details but the general composition as well has changed. Trends that were surfacing in the early Seventies have now become the dominant styles.</p>
The coming of inexpensive charters and packages has broadened the horizons of most Americans by substantially extending the radius that modest budgets can encompass. The enthusiastic embrace of tour arrangements—never more apparent than in the few months just past— has quietly revolutionized travel, and it’s unlikely that the industry will ever again be the same.
<p>I have never seen a postcard of Hawaii that featured Schofield Barracks. Schofield is off the track, off the tour, hard by the shadowy pools of the Wahiawa Reservoir, and to leave Honolulu and drive inland to Schofield is to sense a clouding of the atmosphere, a darkening of the color range.</p>
If football is so tough, how come they call it a game?
ROY BLOUNT JR.
People write in asking: “Where did you get that wonderful tan?” (I go to a nearby tannery every spring, lay out twenty-eight dollars and a little something for the attendant and have myself dipped.) “What is the right grip to use for squash?” (Grasp the squash firmly by the neck with your left hand, then take a knife with the right hand and bring it down in short, crisp strokes on the part of the squash not covered by the left hand.)
<p>The National Council of Teachers of English is about to debate once again at its annual meeting in New York a resolution passed in a 1974 business meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication that accepted as valid “all the regional, ethnic, and social dialects of American English.”</p>
The Supreme Court being delivered of its ruling that the states can bar the use of Medicaid funds for abortions. This means that those able to pay can choose a legal medical procedure; the poor can’t. President Carter’s comment was: “Well, as you know, there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people can’t.”
Larry Schiller has got them all locked up: Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald, Lenny Bruce, Marilyn Monroe and Gary Gilmore. And his clients never leave him
<p>Jerry Hayes. Buick dealer. Salt Lake City. Pleased to meet you.” I took the hand thrust across my airplane seat. Missionaries and car salesmen love captive audiences. He sized me up immediately. “I’ll bet you drive a foreign car,” he said.</p>
They say that even cowgirls get the blues. Maybe so; but not in Dallas
<p>The ABC cameramen who travel all over this republic to televise professional football games agree to a man on one thing: their favorite city is Dallas. Dallas? What in the name of God for? Well, for cheerleaders like Debbie Wagener, twenty, our cover girl this month.</p>
Everyone loves Hubert now that they think he's dying
<p>Hubert Horatio Humphrey is besieged everywhere these days and asked for autographs. Everyone loves him now that they think he is dying. In fact, he is fighting cancer and fighting hard. One Wednesday last spring, he scheduled two lunches, the first of them with a group of cancer-research doctors.</p>
Scientists, above all, are supposed to be honest. Politicians and advertising copywriters are expected to distort facts, but if a scientist falsifies a single record, he commits an unforgivable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science teems with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who saw their data only through the distorting lenses of passionately held beliefs.
Blessed is the bounty of the mind’s waters, for they are bottomless and also wide
<p>Blow 'em,” Oscar Johnson repeated. “Forget going down—just blow the fuckers an’ let’s move on.” Lieutenant Sidney Martin took a notebook from his pocket. “Go down,” he said. “No.” Oscar smiled. “I don’ believe I will.” Nodding, Sidney Martin carefully wrote Oscar Johnson’s name in his notebook.</p>
<p>He was called the King. Some of his early nicknames were Elvis the Pelvis, Mr. Wiggle and Shake, the Hillbilly Cat and Mamma Presley’s Son. He lived in Memphis, on Elvis Presley Boulevard. After twenty-three years in rock and roll, he still received hundreds of fan letters every week, many of them with such pleas as “You don’t have to marry me, Elvis; just give me your baby.”</p>
<p>One of the reasons I quit Esquire about thirteen years ago was so I wouldn’t have to write these introductions to the Dubious Achievement Awards anymore. But then I get this call from an Esquire editor (Who are these people? I don’t know anybody around there anymore.</p>
Exiled from the tube, the author now can say it: The medium is the mess
<p>As a recent refugee—or is it exile?—from television, I have continued my education about its influence on Americans. People would come up to me and say they missed me in a direct and personal sense, as though, having entered their living rooms all these years, I had become a part of their lives.</p>
Now that small cars have won the war for Detroit's heart,it is up to you to learn how to handle them
American cars, like dollars, are getting smaller. This is a petroleum-related fact of life that has unfortunately been a source of gloom to a lot of car buyers. Well, cheer up. True, you won’t have nearly as much sheet metal to tote around with tomorrow’s cars.
<p>As a Lonely Guy you will find, much to your surprise, that you still have a keen eye for women. When a lovely one enters the room, it’s quite true that you may, as a matter of routine, duck behind the drapes, paw at the rug and say, “Let me alone. I’m just a Lonely Guy.”</p>
The author’s response to the most interesting set of government documents that has come his way, not excepting the Pentagon Papers
John Kenneth Galbraith
<p>"The graduate students with whom I associated in the Thirties were uniformly radical, and the most distinguished were Communists. I listened to them eagerly and would have liked to have joined both the conversation and the party, but here my agricultural background was a real handicap.</p>
<p>Monday: I am sitting high in the hills on the island of Mahé and looking out at what the local brochures call the turquoise and sapphire sea. I have come a long way and the view is obscured by clouds. It is difficult to say why I have come so far for so short a time.</p>
A bachelor friend of mine once remarked that looking for a loudspeaker is like looking for a wife. The quest is for something to delight the senses, something easy to live with, preferably handsome and a lasting joy. The trick is to pick wisely among a multitude of enticing possibilities.
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The only true prophet of the American scene is trying to tell us something —in twenty thousand words, more or less—about how television has changed our souls. His prime case in point is himself, of course. Channel by channel he recounts the transformation that overcame his psyche after his TV battles with such as Cavett, Vidal, Carson and Capote.