Matt Weinstock, Jan. 1, 1960
January 1, 2010 | 4:00 pm
This Too Shall Pass
It is the moment for looking hopefully ahead.
Most people don't ask much, just a fair break and a few improvements in manners, a little more consideration in traffic and maybe a sound tip on a horse once in a while. Simple things that could make life easier all around.
First, of course, a few minor irritations will have to be eliminated. Cigar smoking in elevators, any secretary will tell you, has to go. Also nominated for oblivion is that TV commercial showing what happens inside your stomach when you take a certain pill. It doesn't do a thing for E.H. of Claremont, especially at mealtime.
Bill Graydon is worried about all those horses in westerns. No one ever gives them a drink of water. Furthermore, they never seem to -- well, never mind.
THE GENTLEMEN on the copy desk hope 1960 will bring more news stories about what people do instead of what people say. They view with alarm the trend toward more talk and less action. With a political year upcoming, things look ominous indeed.
J.H. O'Neill of La Habra wishes the football announcers would catch up with reality and not be so cautious. He nominates as the understatement of 1959 the comment of the broadcaster, with the Baltimore Colts leading the New York Giants 31-16 with 22 seconds to play, "If the Colts go on to win this game, which it looks now as if they might . . ." And a moment later, "But this game isn't over yet!"
Bill Latham nominates as the most profound roadside sign of 1959 the one on Beverly Glen Blvd., "Help Stamp Out Reality."
A LADY NAMED Carole wishes someone would provide a service for parents which would enable them to cope with their children's innocent but diabolic remarks. When her son Rick said he'd like to get his first-grade-teacher a Christmas present she asked what he'd suggest. He didn't know. She pursued, "Well, what does she need?" After a moments thought he replied, "A girdle."
Bob Beach of the city health department approaches the problem of children from another angle, meanwhile hoping for the best. He was making a routine inspection of an apartment house and the lady owner, fumbling with a large ring of keys in opening various rooms, asked him to hold her new baby. Yep, junior did it to him, creating a dilemma not covered by civil service.
ED LAW hopes one of the big quandaries of 1959 may be resolved in 1960 -- does black coffee help sober a borracho. The Safety Council in its year's end traffic warnings stated on medical advice that it didn't, thereby destroying whatever psychological effect it may have had. However, the Insider's Newsletter states, "What's new in hangovers? Doctors report that there's still nothing better than the old standby -- coffee, aspirin, milk and fruit juice. Best of all, sleep." Ed wonders if the movie makers might grab hold of this quivering quandary and change that classic line of the country doctor's, "Boil all the water you can!" to "Make plenty of black coffee!"
THE SOBERING thought has been expressed that this is not merely the start of a new year, it's the start of a new decade and everyone should be duly titillated, if not apprehensive. The way things are going we're lucky if we can handle the upcoming years one at a time. Remember, we're going to have to face the ordeals of two political conventions.
A personal hope: Less grimness and more humor. Also that magazine editors will come out of their coma and re-discover the short story and cut down on that article guff they keep printing.
FOR HER New Year's card Barbara Begg reprinted this passage from Lee Shippey's book, "The Luckiest Man Alive": "It is only through our appreciations that we live. Without them we would be mere clods, even if wealthy and powerful clods. The man who can appreciate kindness, generosity, courage, faith and beauty is very rich."
SAFEST prediction for 1960: This too shall pass.