A man in the VA hospital in West L.A. writes, "Lying here, a person has time to think of many things, especially things he has missed. I am writing to ask what you think is the most interesting book to read, one that would benefit the person reading it."
Anyone in his right mind would walk away from that one. No one book, except possibly the Bible, has everything.
But, I feel a little lightheaded with the new year and all, I gave it the old college try.
Presuming the man in the hospital seeks wisdom, universality or serenity, dramatically presented, I phoned some writers and library people.
Shuddering slightly at such an impossible request, they nevertheless came through with the following: "The Education of Henry Adams," Boswell's "Johnson," Will Durant's "Story of Philosophy," Mark Twain's "Huck Finn," "Tom Sawyer" or "Life on the Mississippi," the complete works of Shakespeare, the one-volume Columbia Encyclopedia, Fielding's "Tom Jones" and Benjamin P. Thomas' "Abraham Lincoln."
Me? Barlett's Quotations.
THE SEASON'S nod for nonchalance goes to a man who came into George Caterer's restaurant on west 8th Street, ordered coffee and opened his newspaper to the want-ad section. After a moment he exclaimed, "Now here's just the job for me!" He asked George to dial the number, then invited the man who had placed the ad to come over and interview him while he had his coffee.
Resolutions hard and fast-
Ten to one they will
Is it that I lack acumen,
Or mainly that I'm
SHORTLY BEFORE Christmas a year ago a friendly stranger came into a big downtown office and offered 50% off on handsome new kitchenware. He took a number of orders, the merchandise was delivered and everybody was pleased.
A couple of weeks ago he showed up again at the same office, this time with two cases of a well-known brand of Scotch whisky. He offered them for $20 each and they were snapped (schnapped?) up immediately, amid moans from others who would have liked to have been in on the bargain. "Oh, I can get more," he said.
He took orders for many more cases, collecting around $1,000, and said the stuff would be delivered between Christmas and New Year's. Neither he nor the Scotch has been seen since.
The moral is clear. Never trust a con man with your money.
A MAN planning a trip to Europe next summer with his wife phoned the steamship line with which they have reservations and asked the size of their stateroom.
The man at the steamship line, an old, conservative firm, didn't know but volunteered savagely, "It won't be so small that you'll feel like sardines and it won't be large enough for you to dance." Thereby confirming the couple's fears that the day of good manners is passing.
But they're going anyway. They don't particularly enjoy sardines or dancing.
A TIRED LOOKING woman with three small children found their path on South Barrington Avenue blocked by a ladder against a building.
"Don't walk under!" the boy, about 6, said sharply, "It's bad luck!"
The woman, glancing despondently at the kids, "It's too late to worry about that."
AT RANDOM -- Now let's get it straight. The voice of the Old Pro in the animated Falstaff TV commercials is that of Eddie Mayehoff. The voice of Mr. Magoo, the W.C. Fields caricature, was that of Jim Backus. And Burgermeister's Bashful Guy is Eugene Bollay, who used to be a TV weather man . . . Yes, it has come to this. Changing Times magazine advertises an upcoming article titled, "How to Spend an Evening Without TV" . . . Add unsung claims to fame: Tom Dixon of KFAC is one of the few nonresidents who can find his way out of the Parklabrea maze of the streets . . . The silly season is still with us. An unsigned note bears the postscript, "Please do not use my name (which I shall not give you)."