This is the comedian known as the Merchant of Venom, the Insult King from Queens, Mr. Warmth (as in precisely the opposite). But not once in a convivial afternoon will he lob an insult our way, the sort he hurls at friends and fans alike, the latter paying handsomely for a dose of Rickles ridicule. At one point, he takes our left hand, bows his bullet head and, in the custom of an Old World courtier, bestows a kiss.
It’s one of Hollywood’s worst-kept secrets that Don Rickles is a mensch.
I feel very strongly that this is true about the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, I heard that people are trying once more to build a kind of suicide-prevention railing along its side, which would keep us from seeing the bay and the beautiful view of the city. I haven’t read much about suicide lately, but I believe that almost 98 percent of such deaths leave more evil than good after them. Even my husband Dillwyn’s death, which I feel was justified, left many of us with some bad things. And when my brother died, about a year after Timmy did, my mother asked me very seriously if I felt that Timmy’s death had influenced David to commit his own suicide, which to me remains a selfish one, compared to the first. I said, “Of course, yes! I do think so, Mother.” And I did think then that Timmy’s doing away with himself helped my young brother David to kill himself, a year later. But there was really no connection; we don’t know what the limit of tolerance is in any human being.
Warren and Tyagi demonstrated that buying common luxury items wasn’t the issue for most Americans. The problem was the fixed costs, the things that are difficult to cut back on. Housing, health care, and education cost the average family 75 percent of their discretionary income in the 2000s. The comparable figure in 1973: 50 percent. Indeed, studies demonstrate that the quickest way to land in bankruptcy court was not by buying the latest Apple computer but through medical expenses, job loss, foreclosure, and divorce.
In the song “Oxford Comma,” the band Vampire Weekend asks, “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” And the answer is: a perhaps weirdly high number of people. Enthusiasts make and buy comma-sporting T-shirts, start Twitter accounts, and circulate memes. More than one person has told me—unprompted and apropos of nothing—“I’m so glad The Walrus uses the Oxford comma.”
Sometime in the 20th century, shit—having already long been a verb and then a noun—also became an adjective, as in He was a shit teacher or That restaurant has shit service. Exactly when this happened is a bit tricky to pin down, precisely because of the word’s versatility. In many contexts, the shit you think is an adjective might actually be a noun.
Try to picture the perfect elevator system. What makes that system so great? Does it serve the person who's been waiting the longest? Or always go to the closest call? Where does it make the compromise between speedy service and keeping energy usage down?
Meanwhile, the stream restoration and containment pond project was proceeding on county time, which, on the scale of eternity might not be as slow as say, island time, but is pretty close. It was spring again last year, and the untouched bamboo was on the march when the neighbors on the other side of us, whose yard had not yet been invaded, came over with an unusual request. Could they harvest some bamboo shoots? To eat.
Not long ago I found myself sitting in a neon-lit bus shelter at 3:30 a.m. The sidewalks of Paris were black and shiny after a hard rain on a winter's night. I passed the time waiting for the bus, half reading a magazine and eavesdropping on a pretty African woman with intricate black-cherry-soda-colored braids who was chatting in a beautiful, lilting creole with a friend in faraway Mayotte, a French island near Madagascar.
After she ended her phone call, I could feel the lady staring at me. When I looked up, she smiled and asked, “Why are you here?”
“My job,” I answered brightly. “I'm going to work as a baker.”
This is over the top, and not something she’d do for you, certainly not something you’d do for yourself. What you are doing here is overachieving the mom visit: You have to front-load the effort so that when she gets here and you start to wither, you’ve got the towels to fall back on. Write the Wi-Fi password on a small piece of paper and place it on top of the towels. Do this the morning she’s set to arrive so that whenever you get stressed out, you can pace the house and feel better when you catch a glimpse of the towels and the Wi-Fi password. Look at you being a thoughtful host and not a teenage girl who erupts at the first sign of criticism! You’ve never used a washcloth in your life, but maybe your mom will want to. See, you’re a good person. The perfect host. You’ve transcended your upbringing. Everything will be fine.