This post is segued by the sad passing of Elizabeth Taylor this morning. She was a true Hollywood legend and humanitarian and although her heyday was when I was a tot, I do remember the first time she came into my awareness. One day she appeared on the Mike Douglas Show which I used to love even as a child. He was on in the morning and later, Merv Griffin would come on in the afternoon. I thought Mike put on a wig and became Merv, then put on another wig and became Phil Donahue! Ah, the stupidity of youth. Anyway, Elizabeth Taylor was on the Mike Douglas Show and my mother told me who she was: She was Cleopatra, don’t you remember seeing that in a drive in? No (it turned out I was an infant rolling around the back of the station wagon). She is married to Richard Burton and he gave her a giant Krupp diamond! Who, what? She has violet eyes! She is wearing purple eye shadow! Her eyes are blue! Don’t mess with me, Mom, I have 64 Crayola crayons, I know what violet looks like! As a youngster, I may have thought Mike, Merv, and Phil were the same man, but I was not buying into hype of Elizabeth Taylor. It turned out, she was an acquired taste for me. It wasn’t until I was a full-fledged adult did I start to appreciate all her shenanigans: her tragic widowhood from Mike Todd, her husband stealing that weasel Eddie Fisher, marrying Richard Burton twice! That is hot. Her movies with him were the best, especially Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. They say there wasn’t much of a stretch between George and Martha’s boozy volatile relationship to the real life Dick and Liz. That film, to me, was not just hot but the ultimate in romance. I like things high strung.
Speaking of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ok, whatevs, it’s another iconic Elizabeth Taylor movie), I have been moaning for the past couple of weeks about my leaky third floor roof. Unfortunately, it is a flat roof with a wooden deck on it. The deck must come down before a roofer can even assess the situation. Who better for the job than my buddy Bob? Which brings me back to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Bob and I, although strictly platonic, have that kind of George/Martha relationship…to a degree of course. Since 1999, we have had some major ups and downs. We’ve done all kinds of things, had adventures and misadventures, taken road trips, drank beers galore, cottaged (that story remains sealed in a vault) and had a few fights and falling outs where we didn’t speak for as much as a year. Currently he has a girlfriend, the kind that keeps him on a short leash and sneakily sews in a GPS system in the seam of his briefs (which ha! ha! is why he goes commando). Anyway yesterday Bob came over to dismantle the third floor deck and I was his helper. It was a pretty big job, and back-breaking especially for him because he was doing most of the work. His girlfriend texted him a few thousand annoying times and at one point when I was sweeping the sludge debris into a pile, he barked at me and said I was doing it stupidly with one hand when I should be using two and he called me by her name! Oh how I laughed, he thinks I am his girlfriend when I am doing something boneheaded. I ended up picking the gross sludge up with my bare hands and dumping it into 5 big plastic garbage bags. And then I remembered the raccoon that took over that deck one summer and slept in its own fecal matter all day, barricading the door so we couldn’t open it. Probably all that sludge was actual shit! Panic ensued, just like the time I visited a co-worker and went into his bathroom and accidentally touched his butt plug which was sitting right there on the counter, I ended up washing my hands countless times for days(weeks) afterwards. Raccoon shit is poison, but another person’s butt plug residue is just unspeakably disgusting. Oddly, I found the idea of the raccoon shit far less disturbing so I finished up, washed my hands once, and got us a bottle of wine at the liquor store and we had a pleasant and civilized after-work drink and he went on his way. Leaving a pile of wood in the backyard. Not quite a heap of diamonds but that’s the kind of lady I am. And to that I say, farewell sweet Liz, may you fool the angels with your violet eyes!