Harry Hope's Saloon

This blog takes it's name from the setting for O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh -- a lousy gin-mill; a smoked-out, greasy dive where the habitues have all landed, it seems, permanently. Their lives, in each case, are paralyzed by fear and laziness. Like my own.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Beef of the Day (a petty rant)

Back in the days when Jay Leno used to be amusing, and before he (may or may not have) betrayed David Letterman - I'm referring to the mid to late 1980's - he (Leno) was one of those regular guests of Letterman's NBC Late Nite show - others included Terri Garr, Howard Stern and Harvey Picar. The recurring Leno-Letterman dialogue was always smart and edgy (to some extent, anyway) - and featured, in my opinion, some very precise and very well-executed facial comedy from Leno. He would double-take and roll his eyes in perfect sync with Letterman's intentionally stupid questions.

They developed a little "thing" that became known as Leno's beef-of-the-day. Somewhere near the end of their faux antagonistic exchange Letterman would ask, in his ironic-serious manner, "Okay Jay, so what's your beef these days? What's eating you? What's crawling under your skin?" It was an invitation for the comedian to give a little sample of his observational stand-up routine from his seat beside the host. Leno would pull his mouth into a thin line, his brow down to his pupils, all in a mock simmer, and say something like: "Why do they have a crossword puzzle in the back of the TV Guide? Are people supposed to feel intelligent or sophisticated if they happen to know the character who replaced 'Fish' on 'Barney Miller'?"

Ah ... good stuff.

So in the old-time spirit of L & L, here's my beef o' the day. You wanna know what's eating me? Crawling under my skin? [Imagine that I'm exhaling audibly through my nose.]

Mass emails from people I'm acquainted with.

I don't like them. I get dissapointed when I recognize someone's address in my inbox and I discover that mine is only one of 45 or so names in their to or cc list being encouraged to check out some Post article on administration tyrrany or answer some survey meant to test my knowledge of rock n' roll or 1970's catch phrases, or whatnot.

In the future maybe everyone who pulls this kind of thing will have a blog of their own, and will, as I'm doing now, share their treasures there rather than doing it via email. Then when I go visit their blog it will be with the prior understanding that they did not necessarily have me specifically in mind when they posted.

It's cranky of me, I think, but I get all irked when I find that isn't the case in an email. Maybe it's because I'm a bit lonely, and I just crave the attention. But then so be it. I want people whom I know and like, when they are addressing me, to actually be talking to me. I want intimacy. I want personal correspondence. C'mon. Talk to me ...

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