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Matt Weinstock, April 21, 1960

April 21, 2010 |  4:02 pm


“So I’ll Save the Wear and Tear on Your Tonsils, Mr. Ames.” 

A Hard Life

Matt Weinstock     If no one minds, I'd like to get literary for a moment.
    Whitney Balliett of the New Yorker magazine, in reviewing two current books, wrote:

    "They deal with what has become, in the past decade, a new hero in American novels -- the tired, kindly, fearful, foolish-wise, middle-aged urban white-collar worker who is presented with a suddenly accumulated myriad of complex and often overwhelming moral problems that must be resolved (often in 24 hours or less) without trampling others or compromising himself."
    He refers to such character as "the newest Milquetoast." 
    I have just finished reading Irwin Shaw's novel, "Two Weeks in Another Town" and the leading character' John Andrus, seems to fit this description.  He is a former movie actor who lives is Paris and works for NATO.  He is married to a French girl and they have two children.

April 21, 1960, Abby
   HE IS SUMMONED to Rome by a former Hollywood movie colleague who desperately needs his help on a picture that has gone sour.  There he becomes deeply involved with temperamental people, there is too much drinking and all sorts of lady trouble.
    Near the end of the book Shaw, a very handy man with the words, sums up his leading character's dilemma.
    "He was that interesting example of modern life, a man who lived in a permanent condition of being torn asunder.  As a result of many careful observations, conducted under a good light, with the most precise equipment, we are now happy to be able to present the whole picture of John Andrus, briefly notorious as James Royal.  He is responsible, honorable, useful to his friends, and when forced to betray anyone, makes certain that the betrayed party is himself."
    In short, he is a nice guy in a rough world.  For being a nice guy he gets blasted by the literary critics who apparently demand blood, thunder and violence.  Verifying what everyone already knows -- that a nice guy leads a hard life these days.
    IT SEEMS we're still stuck with the word.  An ad on Page 195 of Holiday magazine  inviting Americans to visit France has color photos of typical scenes in six French cities.  The sixth, labeled Nice, shows a handsome, blond gal in a very scanty bikini walking away from the camera and she certainly is.  Even if you pronounce it Neece.
    LET'S FACE IT, we're not getting out of France today.  The members of the press who went on Air France's inaugural flight are back, with mounting evidence that it isn't fair to turn such playful folk loose on the innocent Parisians.
    One day the 116 newsmen on the trip were taken in limousines to Montmartre.  Don Dwiggins, who has a flair for comedy, put on the beret and short trench coat he'd just bought, grabbed  along loaf of French bread and a bottle of wine from somewhere, sat at a sidewalk cafe and struck a native pose.  As he anticipated, another delegation approached in a moment and  a S.F. newspaper gal came up to him, got out her dictionary and asked in halting French if she could photograph him.  "No peectures!" he screamed.
    Later, still wearing the beret, he sat next to her at lunch, introduced himself and said," Okay, you can shoot all the pictures you want now."  Don says he never heard such language.
Government leaves me
    broke and defenseless,
First they take my dollars,
    then my census.
    MISCELLANY -- A KFAC newscaster reported the heckling remarks of a retired military man then went on to the next item with the preface, "And then there's the rubbish problem!" . . . The teenagers are teasing adults again.  A girl asked Bernard Sanow, Melrose Ave. druggist, if he knew any Latin.  He said he did and she asked what quo vadis meant.  He said, "Where are you going?"  She said, "No place right now" . . . Things are better.  Jack Norman of Burbank found a four-inch slice of lean meat in a can of pork and beans.  Somebody'll get fired for that.