08 July 2015

The Wife Catches Me Which I Reveal Here Along With Writing About Other Things Like Marilyn Monore


Went grocery shopping with the missus. She caught me in the act. I was checking out the women on the boxes of hair dye. Trying to pick my favorite. It was reflexive. I see pretty female faces, even on boxes and I have to look. Especially on boxes. You can’t really stare at a live person very long. She or someone else is bound to notice. But boxes, who’s going to care? Who’s going to know? My wife, that’s who.

At first I offered a weak denial. She was having none of it. After 27 years of marriage it’s impossible to slip anything by her. If I was wont to lie to her about anything she’d suss me out in seconds. Having played fast and loose with the truth in the past — particularly when I was over indulging in spirits — I aim to walk the straight and narrow.

Anyway she wasn’t angry with me. I’ve done worse than look at ladies’ faces on boxes and this was but a minor sin anyway. Before I even confessed she suggested writing a blog post about the incident. And so I have.

Had there been serious recriminations for my actions it would hardly have been worth it. I mean all I was seeing were faces and while they were pretty they were conventional and not altogether interesting. I was having a deuce of a time picking a favorite.

A few months ago I was walking from the bus to subway in San Francisco and looked into a shop window where I saw a life sized photo of a quite fetching model. I continued a few feet and then saw the model herself in the flesh walking in my direction. It was surreal. Maybe she was going to check herself out.

Like many people I find it disturbing that many models — particularly of the Victoria Secret's variety — are barely more than skeletons, lovely skeletons but still. It’s not healthy for them nor for those who emulate them. Far better the swimsuit models who look closer to full blooded human beings, albeit still on the slender side. If you look at pictures of models from 30 years ago they seem positively obese in comparison with today’s stick figures.

Then there’s Marilyn Monroe. Boy is there ever. I watched The Misfits (1961) today which was her last film. I think most people, if they somehow had never heard of Ms. Monroe and saw her on film, would declare her to be of an unnatural beauty. It’s not just that she was Marilyn Monroe, she was a knockout. I mean a first round one punch unconscious on the mat knockout. Some people forget that she was a pretty good actress (if an awful pain to work with) and many people don’t know that she was quite an intelligent woman. But her life…forget about it, what a mess. It was interesting watching the film, which I hadn’t seen in decades, knowing the fates of its stars. Clark Gable died within two weeks of the film’s completion and Monroe within two years. Montgomery Clift made it only a few more years than that. Monroe supposedly said of Clift that he was the one person she’d met that was more of a mess than she was. That’s saying something. Clift and Monroe reached the heights of fame but had tragic lives. Gable, who was only 59 when he died, suffered the loss of his one true love when Carole Lombard died in a plane crash just three years into their marriage. He also hit the sauce quite a bit and chain smoked.

Eli Wallach and Thelma Ritter rounded out the cast — not too shabby — and Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay and John Huston directed. A veritable who’s who. The Misfits had good intentions and is quite watchable but doesn’t live up to the great names involved in its production. I’d give it half a thumb up if such a thing were possible.

So I’ve gone into a lengthy digression and isn’t that what life is anyway. We start in one place and head towards another and if by some miracle we make it there’s at last a few detours along the way. The fun is in the journey as many a wise person has said and as many more will iterate.

I will go back for a moment to the issue of weight. I am reminded of two overweight people I saw in the gym recently. One was on an elliptical machine going at a pace that barely qualified as forward motion. He was glued to a The Big Bang Theory (so sad that we need TV screens on aerobic machines). I noticed during one commercial he was texting. The other overweight person was on a treadmill running and panting and huffing and puffing and sweating. The TV screen was off and this dude was working. Any bets on which one is still overweight in 12 months? I see a lot of people come to the gym and barely break a sweat and others who stay bone dry. For them it’s often a social occasion as they chat away with others. For others like the guy watching TV I suppose it’s a way to get out of the house and feel good about “exercising.”

Me, I ran six miles today then hopped on the stair master. I gotta stay fit for those ladies on the hair dye boxes. Some of them look back, ya know.

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