Sunday, September 22, 2013
True Lettuce Story
Los Angeles? No? Great! Let's get right to it. Pen took me to lunch at Musso & Frank's, the oldest dining spot in Hollywood, I guess. He said he used to go there and work on the very beginnings of ADVENTURE TIME. We both ordered the "romaine salad" to start with and received a head of lettuce that someone had chopped in two to split between us. Nothing on it or anything. A saucer of dressing on the side. And a pepper grinder on the table. And that's all you need, man, although it looked kind of funny just lying there by itself on the plate. I know what a classic wedge is, but this was stark. Starkly delicious! Then we went to a writer's meeting and Tom Herpich, one of the great storyboard artists and writers on ADVENTURE TIME, doodled a picture of my head and gave it to me. I looked at it and thought, "Wow, I'm fat!" Hey if you are a skinny, scrawny person like I used to be for the first half of my life, it will be a constant astonishment to yourself when you get fat. Every time you suddenly remember you are fat, you will be surprised! At the meeting, Kent and I had a big argument about the original meaning of the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." I just couldn't believe some wise man in ancient times was going around telling people, "You should get some moss growing on you! It's fantastic!" But Kent's argument was forceful and compelling, filled with verbal footnotes. He cited Philip K. Dick, for example. And later it dawned on me that the Bob Dylan song "Like a Rolling Stone" is on Kent's side, too. So I admitted I was wrong. The writers ordered pizza. Somebody wanted a pizza with just basil and nothing else. Somebody wanted a pizza with just garlic and nothing else. Inside, I was like, What other kinds of pizzas will they order with a single herb or spice on it and nothing else? Somvilay seemed to think it was funny, too. He tried to get Pen to order a pizza with just mint on it and nothing else. Kent and I ate at that same restaurant I told you about some months ago, the one where Bob Hope used to eat. This time we were utterly forgotten by the staff for an incredible length of time. Kent drily pretended it was part of the historic ambience. "You know," he said, "Dean Martin used to be ignored in this very booth." He said, "Bob Hope used to put his elbows on this table and find out it hadn't been wiped down." The next morning I had breakfast at a diner with Verdell. That was the best, because I hadn't seen Verdell for five years then there she was, same as ever. We laughed constantly. The diner was called The Tallyrand. It was also called The Tally Rand and the The TallyRand. If you walk around the restaurant you can see the name spelled at least three different ways. Above please enjoy the photo Verdell took of "Sid and Sandy Sausage," who adorn the window. They are a couple of sausage links who are deeply in love. Verdell and I agreed that The Tallyrand reminded us in some ways of Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta, the city where we met. There was a lime tree in the parking lot of The Tally Rand, bursting with healthful limes. Verdell parked right next to it and I was stabbed and scratched by vicious lime branches as I struggled out of the car through the sliver of door I was able to open. After breakfast, Verdell dropped me off at the auction of Bob Hope's personal items. I can't tell you about that because I'm writing an article about it for a magazine. I called Dr. Theresa and told her I was on my way to Beverly Hills and she said "Be careful," and I said "Oh no, what do you think is going to happen to me in Beverly Hills?" and she said "You could be torn apart by a pack of coyotes in front of the closed gates of a mansion," and I said, "All right sweetie." But Dr. Theresa was onto something because Verdell almost killed me twice - once swooping around Mulholland Drive and again when a tour bus nearly backed into us. As I say, we were laughing the whole time, an okay way to get killed.