March 13, 2012: Gerry (Birthday Triumvirate 3)

      It was the late eighties, and we were a solemn bunch of young journalists, eager to publish something meaningful in the glossy national magazine for which we wrote. We weren’t necessarily friends, but we had things in common: Devon and I both loved to shop for old record albums in thrift stores; Stuart and Dave were each obsessed with Henry James novels; Michael and John were sluts who prowled tacky bars together on weekends.

     And every last one of us had a huge crush on our editor-in-chief.

     Gerry was dreamy in an Old Hollywood way—a Paramount Pictures leading man of the Thirties, who wore starched shirts and pomade in his hair and carried himself with enormous dignity. He could rattle off the cast, screenwriter, and director of every important film made in America between 1930 and 1950, and his diction was impeccable.

      He was my ideal.

      Eventually, my crush turned into admiration, and later real friendship. Gerry is never effusive, but he always manages to say some small, surprising thing that makes his friends feel well-loved and worthwhile.

     One day last week, I was miserable. Tevye wouldn’t be home from work for hours, and I needed a distraction that would take my mind off my own misery. I phoned Gerry.

     I knew it wouldn’t matter what we talked about—Gerry’s voice would be enough. I figured he’d probably tell me about a Binnie Barnes picture he’d watched last week; maybe we’d discuss whether or not Meryl Streep deserved her new Oscar, or what I thought of our friend Mike’s new book.

     But right at the top of the conversation, Gerry said the loveliest (and most wildly inaccurate) thing. “I saw The Artist,” he told me, referring to the movie that just won the Academy Award for Best Picture—the one about the suave silent film star who’s fallen on hard times. “And I think you look just like the leading man, Jean Dujardin.”

     It’s not true, of course. But knowing that I reminded Gerry of an Old Hollywood leading man… My.

      Happy Birthday, Gerry.

In fact, I more closely resemble the fellow on the left. At right, Jean Dujardin in The Artist.

 Thing I Hate Today: Laugh tracks.


3 Responses

  1. Every time I read something you write, I fall in love with you all over again. V

  2. Actually there is a close resemble to the young man I have known for many years to the right….We celebrate all that is robrt in his 50th year and grateful for all the years our paths have crossed.

  3. your birthday was last month are you really going to to piss and moan all year. To me – you are still a baby trying to play grown up….
    keep writing but use as few e’s as you can….

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