Thursday, July 27, 2017
The Golden Rule
As is well documented, I don't "blog" anymore unless I stumble across something I should have put in my cigarette lighter book but didn't know about in time. So! Megan Abbott and I are reading a Hollywood memoir by Shirley MacLaine, and she tells about how Dean Martin "would light a cigarette with his solid gold lighter, blow out the flame, and toss the gold lighter from the window as if it was a used match." So! This naturally reminded me of something I DID put in my cigarette lighter book: the time Hal Needham maliciously tossed his friend's gold cigarette lighter from the window of a speeding car as a joke. If only I had known about Dean's habit. What a study in contrasts Dino and Needham would have made! As MacLaine notes, someone always retrieved Dean's lighter for him, whereas (Shirley MacLaine does not note this part; how could she?) the lighter of Needham's friend was seemingly lost forever. So Needham's act is more "punk rock" (I guess? Jon Langford once told me that being "punk rock" does not necessarily call for unmannerly behavior) while Dean's is ironic (maybe? I have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't know about this in time to put it in the book). But I think we can agree that Dean is on firmer ground morally. I'm glad that's settled.