I’m just awakening from an approximately twenty-five-year memory lapse. While standing in a check-out line at a grocery store, I saw it! The Dubious Achievement Awards (January) brought memories of young adulthood flooding back. It dawned on me that I got into my forties not via health foods and positive thinking, but via biting sarcasm.
OUR COVER STORY this month proceeds from the startling observation that inside every man and woman is a collection of organs, bones, and muscles that seem, to a lesser or greater degree, to be either older than or junior to the age attested to on their owner’s driver’s license.
IF THE GREAT gold rush of 1898 was a fascinating slice of history, it was also a nightmare, and getting there was half the dream. I am thinking about this as I make my way up the near-vertical slide of boulders that will bring me to the top of Chilkoot Pass, 3,500 feet above sea level and the beginning of the Chilkoot trail.
TRYING TO PICK the best records made by America’s greatest composer/performer tends to make you crazy. The Schwann catalog lists 108 Duke Ellington albums on thirty labels, and you probably couldn’t rate more than a dozen as less than very, very good.
STAND UP for perestroika! Support the strivings of Soviet republics for nationalist autonomy! Cover yourself politically while covering your floors! Such are the multitudinous appeals of Soviet rugs, available here for the first time since Uncle Harry and Uncle Joe agreed at Potsdam to disagree.
JULES VERNE probably discouraged generations of Americans from dining on calamari because of that melodramatic episode in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in which a giant squid attacks the Nautilus. For that matter, quite a few horror stories by French authors left the impression that this ten-armed cephalopod mollusk was anything but a passive creature.
AS THE HOT breath of summer slowly exhales over Germany, beer drinkers from Schleswig-Holstein to Baden-Baden reach for the light that’s right: wheat beer. If this sounds faddish, the next ridiculous step after oat bran, it’s not. For generations, German brewers have added wheat to the standard barley mash to produce a beer that’s light-bodied yet full-flavored, with the merest hint of hop bitterness.
BACK IN 1954, Mercedes took a hugely successful racing car, the 300SL, and with minor changes turned it into a sports car for sale to the public. It caused a sensation. For one thing, it looked like no other car on the road. The doors were hinged at the top, so that when they were open it resembled a bird in flight.
The Place: Fourth from the top in area—147,045 square miles—and third from the bottom in population density—5.4 people per square mile—Montana still has plenty of breathing room. Folks come to ski, hunt, ride horses, and write novels. And they come to fish.
A 17,000-square-foot log “cabin” on thirty-one lightly timbered acres less than an hour from the Great Falls airport (connections to Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle). Property includes 1,400 feet of the Smith River, adjacent to Lewis and Clark National Forest.
<p>ONE SAD RAINY MORNING last winter, I talked to a woman who was addicted to crack cocaine. She was twenty-two, stiletto-thin, with eyes as old as tombs. She was living in two rooms in a welfare hotel with her children, who were two, three, and five years of age.</p>
FOR THE FASTBALL PITCHER, everything has happened fast. By nineteen, he was a phenom in the big leagues, striking out 276 men. At twenty, he won twenty-four games and lost four. He was the best pitcher in the world. At twenty-one, he won his first World Series ring.
<p>HAVE YOU NOTICED how everybody has a different theory about M. Danny Wall? About why, after he became head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in 1987, he consistently underestimated the extent of the savings-and-loan crisis, despite abundant evidence of its severity.</p>
<p>I ADDED A FINE new name to my List today. There was no ceremony, but I note the occasion nonetheless. It's the first of the month, the day each commuter must purchase his right to be conveyed to and from the same two locations twenty times within the subsequent thirty days.</p>
The writer slipped imperceptibly into the hereafter, leaving behind a life as oblique as any of his plays
<p>I BEGAN TO DISCOVER a different side of Samuel Beckett only days before his death last December, when I arrived in Paris to keep an appointment with him at precisely 5:00 in the afternoon. Beckett, I’d been warned, is always prompt, so I’d better be.</p>
Why is the nice, brilliant, literate pride of his generation wasting his time on some dumbhead talk show?
<p>Why did you do it, Michael? “Well, I’d done some television before, you know, and it’s always been kind of fun....” Fun! What is this, American Bandstand? “...make some money, not have to work as hard...” Think as hard, you mean. “... learn a new skill...”</p>
WELL, LET’S SEE: The Sixties had ended, and the Eighties had yet to begin, so there must have been a Seventies in there someplace. Sure. You remember. Tricky Dick ducked, the Bee Gees burbled, and on Wednesday nights, we all sat around the television set and watched Farrah Fawcett jiggle.
If you knew Peggy Sue, then you'd know she's now a plumbing Contractor
How she inspired “Runaround Sue,” by Dion: “The greatest dream a young, macho Italian from the Bronx in New York City could have was to become a rock 'n' roll star and get the recognition and date any girl he wanted to date. I suppose that’s where Dion was at.
Your heart is forty, your knees are sixty, your hairline is thirty-five—you’re all mixed up! You can still do something about how your body is aging, but first you have to know for sure—
<p>OLD MAN SITTING on park bench, rocking back and forth, obviously distraught, tears running down his cheeks. Cop on patrol spots old man and walks over. “Pardon me, sir,” cop says. “What seems to be the matter?” “It’s my wife,” old man moans. “What a woman!</p>
Does he really think he can make a comeback, or has he just been marinating in chlorine too long? Our man in the pool, Hodding Carter IV, does a few laps in search of the answer
Hodding Carter IV
<p>HE PUSHED off the wall first, plowing through the water like a mako shark, and with one stroke resumed his race against the past seventeen years. I waited five seconds and swam after him, a determined blowfish. Swimming closer to his feet than is generally considered competitive, I witnessed a transformation.</p>
The King Edward. Opened in 1903, this elegant Victorian pile somehow survived the orgy of demolitions that since the 1950s has virtually obliterated Toronto’s historic British roots. Rudyard Kipling slept here, and you might believe he still does, when you see the lobby’s colonnaded rotunda, which soars on gargantuan marble pillars to a skylight eighty feet above.
FEW AMERICANS understand the awesome responsibility they shoulder when visiting Toronto. The locals are a skittish, schizophrenic bunch, at once lusting after U.S. approval, yet resenting that lust. For the Yankee concerned not to ruffle feathers, this can mean a delicate balancing act, appearing interested, even enthralled, by things Torontonian, but not so much as to seem patronizing, thus exacerbating the famed Toronto “inferiority complex.”
Toronto’s reputation as bland and flavorless isn’t really deserved. Areas of charm, eccentricity, and color exist, but they’re widely separated. Luckily, the city’s mass transit is clean, safe, and efficient (like everything else about Toronto).
Warren Beatty slept here. And here. And here. And here. And here.
<p>WHERE ARE THE CELEBRATED rakes and Romeos of the Nineties? Look, Hefner’s married, Mel Gibson has five kids, Kevin Costner has three. The only females these guys are pushing are in Aprica strollers. There’s only one giant, one lonesome, anachronistic figure.... The reviews of his performance on his day job have been rather spotty.</p>
Hollywood pays him $50 million to produce one hit after another. It’s no wonder he’s watching his step
<p>WHEN LITTLE STEVIE BOCHCO was eight or nine, his family spent the summer at a lake in upstate New York. He was a scrawny city kid who barely knew how to swim, and his mother ordered him to stay within the lake’s shallow, cordoned-off section. But every day he kept eyeing a forbidden wooden raft out beyond the barrier.</p>
The most memorable times are often beyond recall—fortunately
<p>GOT A LETTER from a girl said we ought to get together before her husband gets parole. Said maybe we could rent another bungalow down at Big Bill’s Beach Cabanas like last time, maybe steam up some shrimp and suck out the heads, maybe break a box of old 45s against the walls again, the tequila-drinking things, things like me doing it to her from behind with her leaning out the bungalow window whistling at sailors on the boardwalk, what did I think?</p>
IN THE EARLY FALL of 1983, I hauled off and punched a computer. It was two months after I’d purchased my first machine, and ten minutes after I’d somehow relegated an entire chapter of a book I was writing to the eternal limbo of the data void. My work was gone forever, vaporized because in my abiding naiveté I’d relinquished control to a machine I didn’t understand.
The editors of Esquire are conducting a search, the results of which will appear in an upcoming feature. We’re interested in the phenomenon of the outspoken radio deejay, aka the Shock Jock. Please take a moment to consider the men you hear on radio talk shows, call-in shows, drive shows, and morning shows, and use the space below to nominate the man in your city you consider most worthy of the title, Most Obnoxious Man in America.
On page 112: Nautica jacket ($95) at The Nautica Store, New York; Famous-Barr, St. Louis; Meier & Frank, Portland, Oregon. For information contact: Nautica, 40 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York, New York 10019. The Gap polo ($23) at The Gap nationwide.
Dear Lee, The Baseball Trade Register just fell into my lap, off one of those sidewalk card tables in midtown where publishing’s flotsam is peddled cheap by commerce’s jetsam. (Commerce’s free-speech-loving jetsam, to park this intellectual juggernaut in the Konstitutional Law Korner.