If I could have my choice of three works of fiction in which I should be able to participate, I should most certainly have to pick the late 1960’s movie, “Hello Dolly”, with Walter Matthau, Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford, as one of them. Ever since I was a kid in St. Gabriel’s, where the De La Salle Christian Brothers, in the glee club, kept us singing show tunes, I’ve always enjoyed this classic musical. It’s about the adventures of Dolly Levi, a middle aged matchmaking widow in turn of the twentieth century New York CIty. Besides Dolly’s romance with Horace Vandergelder, there are several other dalliances that transpire within the story. The last time I watched it I was quite especially favorably impressed with all the costumes and music. The distinctive suits, hats, dresses and parasols, were perfect. I’ve always really wanted to see what that kind of spectacle must be like in person. The clothing, speech and customs of that era, as depicted in the movie, are enough to catch anyone’s attention. Another story in which I should really like to partake is “Don Quijote (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha)”, the picaresque novel by Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. It’s from Spain’s Golden Age in the early seventeenth century. In the book, a middle aged hidalgo, Alonso Quijano, after having read too many chivalric novels, thereby distorting his perception of reality, sets out to reinstate the era of chivalry. Throughout the story he and his sidekick Sancho Panza, a simple farmer, get into a series of misadventures stemming from the benighted Don’s inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Aldonza Lorenzo, a local homely farm girl, is his lady love. She’s somewhat reminiscent of Petrarch’s Laura and Dante’s Beatrice. The tale is filled with all sorts of insights into theology, philosophy, literature and history. I should really like to get involved in it because of all the offbeat adventures of the Don and Sancho and because of all the things I could learn about life during one of mankind’s most interesting historical epochs. I should get quite a kick out of watching our protagonist constantly confusing the most ordinary everyday people, places and occurrences with profoundly significant realities. The story is a major lesson about reality and mankind’s relationship to his world and surroundings. Another story I should like to visit would be Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”. I’ve always really enjoyed the tales of life in a distorted world where animals, plants and inanimate objects are personified, logic is incessantly convoluted and imagination reigns supreme at all times. I could have a chance to meet the Mad Hatter, the Walrus, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Cheshire Cat and all the other characters that make Wonderland such a distinctive environment. Life in Wonderland shares with Don Quijote the fact that nothing ever matches up to what anyone would normally expect based on an even somewhat legitimate standard of logical consistency.
For some reason I haven’t had a best friend since I was I kid and I still don’t have a soul mate. When I lived in Jackson Heights Earl was my best friend. Then I moved to Lindenhurst around the time I turned twelve years old. For my first few years over there Jimmy was my best friend. After a couple of years he and his family moved to Arizona, and eventually ended up in California. Both Earl’s and Jimmy’s birthdays are on Halloween. In case anyone’s interested in filling either of those positions I’m quite free. It would help if any prospective best friend could provide guaranteed proof of a Halloween birthday. Best friends are supposed always to be available for each other’s various adventures, both serious and casual, happy and sad. Having read Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quijote” a few times by now, I can see that it’s the obvious prototype for all sorts of best friend stories. On Facebook I’m a member of a page for fans of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” and one for fans of “The Honeymooners”. Best friends get to have a lot of lopsided adventures, like the Don and Sancho, Felix and Oscar, and Ralph and his pal Norton. Best friends get to have a lot of stupid obnoxious misadventures in common and to blame each other for everything. They have inside jokes and a language of their own. Although each of them gets to have other friends and connections in general their specific relationship at all times must take precedence. In each of the specific friendships I’ve referred to here, there’s a horrendously lopsided kind and degree of dysfunctionality in each individual that is incessantly forced to do battle with all the quirks of the other. Best friends get to rankle incessantly upon each other’s nerves. Norton, to Ralph’s undying chagrin, always plays “Swanee River” at the beginning of each song. Felix torments Oscar with incessant whining whenever his socks and underwear aren’t precisely alphabetized. Don Quijote nudges Sancho about his precise duties as a squire. Everyone should get to have a best friend. Ever since “Laverne and Shirley”, I’ve always thought that Lenny and Squiggy were the title characters’ masculine counterparts. That made for such a very interesting contrast. It’s too bad I don’t have a best friend now. I most certainly appear to have quite a significantly lopsided enough approach to life for some unsuspecting good natured character to be able to play off of so very well.