The Jerk and The Dude

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‘The Summer I went out with two Wild and Crazy Guys’

Yup. One of the two Wild and Crazy Guys I went out with that wild and crazy summer was indeed Steve Martin. The other one, though, was not Dan Aykroyd. (For those of you who are Very Young, or were living under a cultural rock during the late 70s, I have included links so that you can find out who the heck I’m talking about. But if you need to click on them, you probably won’t ‘get’ this story, so might as well stop reading now and go to your hot yoga class.)

This story is all about my date with Steve, who was famous, besides being a Wild and Crazy Guy, for his role in a seminal film called ‘The Jerk’.  And whose phone message, incidentally, I kept on my answering machine (remember those?) for years. (‘Hi Alice. It’s Steve. Please call me. I really want to go out with you. [Phone number goes here.] Click.’)

Classy art-house poster for Steve's most famous early film.

Classy art-house poster for Steve’s most famous early film.

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The Truly Ugly Chair

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‘Left in the street, unwanted and alone’

The news that The Child had scored her very own First Apartment (with a roommate, but still) sent me down Ugly Furniture Memory Lane. Visions of the bookshelf-made-with-planks-and-bricks and the headboard-fashioned-of-an-old-quilt-thrown-over-a-piece-of-plywood flashed before my eyes.

Oh, and let’s not forget the black fake-leather sleeper sofa that was so heavy it splintered the railing while being hoisted over the balcony so it could help furnish my own First Apartment — a $105/month fourth-floor walkup on the dodgy end of the loftily-named Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. My landlord was not amused.

I owed my collection of stuff to sit on, sleep on, and in which to store things to my Mom, various thrift shops, and certain absconded boyfriends. And I was grateful. Well, maybe not to the absconded boyfriends.

When you’re in your twenties, ‘furniture’ does not occupy a top spot in your priorities. But there does come a point when you look around and think: Continue reading

Horowitz plays the bedroom

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‘Midwestern Girls have all the luck’

When I arrived in New York, fresh from the Midwest and eager to conquer the world of advertising, I faced a most formidable challenge. No, it wasn’t rising to the high expectations of my new employers at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. It was finding an apartment.

This was back about the time that the earth’s crust was cooling. But then, as now, finding an apartment that one could both abide and afford was a most daunting task.

I can’t remember the precise formula (remember, the earth had just cooled at this point), but it had something to do with rent being a certain percentage of your take-home pay. At any rate, this magic figure fixed firmly in my head, I combed the classifieds.

Most of the listings I could afford sounded dreary and dungeon-like. And those were the good ones. But there among the Continue reading