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Humor February 2015

Agelessly Yours

If Timing Is Everything, Most of Us Are Sunk!

By Karen White-Walker

Just when I'm envisioning that “grumpy old man” on stage with my words coming out of his mouth, he unexpectedly up and dies. Of course the entire movie industry and his huge following grieves his loss, but not I. Nope, crummy, callous me mourns over the “death” of my play not making it to Broadway without him.

Believe them when they say timing is everything. And if yours is like mine, our timing absolutely stinks! It's like there's a force out there that says it's harder to handle success than failure, so we elude fame and fortune because we fear such bunk might be true. Let's be honest, how many of us even aspire for adoration and riches? Like Willy Loman, being just well-liked should be enough, but look what happened to him!

How's this for a kick in the gut? Your play is produced to packed houses, receives glowing reviews and a promise that it will probably reach Broadway if it could interest a big-name star, financial backers (they're not called angels for nothing) and land a rave review in The New York Times.

"Well, if that's all it takes," I chokingly reply to the director, as I lose my footing and practically fall into the orchestra pit.

Would you believe that I did interest a mega-star and to this day I have a handwritten letter from him with his heading – Walter Matthau. Yes, he would have been so endearing in the role of octogenarian Teddy — an adorable old codger who laments that he swears that he went from diaper rash to rheumatoid arthritis because that's how quickly the years flew by.

Walter Matthau’s letter reads: "Your play has many memorable moments and the characters are all fascinating." Yep, word-for-word, that's what it says, but then he did add the word “but” because his work schedule was so full. There's always a but and I was going to write him again, but then when the unthinkable, poor-timing-thing happens, you realize you have a selfish, shallow, no-good streak in you. Just when I'm envisioning that “grumpy old man” on stage with my words coming out of his mouth, he unexpectedly up and dies. Of course the entire movie industry and his huge following grieves his loss, but not I. Nope, crummy, callous me mourns over the “death” of my play not making it to Broadway without him.

Is it any wonder that I'm in unfavorable standing with the fates? I tell you, when it comes to reaching one's goals and prioritizing plays over people, that's the time you should be confessing your transgressions to the Pope, forget about just some little, everyday, Sunday-going priest.

I was just entertaining illustrious thoughts of my play again when along comes some editor asking me to write an article for his newspaper. I'm barely interested, but let's face it, 30 bucks is 30 bucks, so reluctantly I agree. Well, the readers' gratifying responses prompts the editor to offer me a weekly column.

"Forget the $30 per article," he says, "if it's weekly I can only afford to pay you $15 per week, so what do you say?"

"I say you're nuts! But I'm even crazier than you because I'll do it. Maybe the exposure will lead to something else."

Just when I'm envisioning becoming syndicated, newspapers begin going south, plummeting faster than my husband's sex drive at age 70-something. It's enough to make a wife and columnist keep hitting her head on her paperweight. Goodbye to my hopes of reaching the masses via the newspapers, and just when I'm excitingly entertaining another incredible idea, the worst timing of all hits! The excitingly entertaining and incredible idea I had was that I wrote my Andy Rooney article on the very evening he signed off of 60 Minutes for the very last time. Sensing that Andy didn't appear quite ready at the tender age of 92 to completely retire, I offered him a lifeline. We could co-host, old Andy and me, his two-and-a-half minute show. After all, how impossible could it be for him to share the spotlight with someone just as outspoken as he? Or, how tough could it be for me when all my married life I've been conditioned to live with a grouch?

Thank God I was planning to submit my article to CBS and not directly to Andy for a mere month later Andy Rooney was gone – for good. Had he read my idea and then left us? I would be blaming my suggestion on his earthly departure, and who could live with THAT?

Relax Barnes and Noble; I'm not even THINKING about writing a book, but yet....

 

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