Wednesday, December 9, 2009
When I was a kid and I first read "The Catcher in the Rye" I stumbled upon the name of Ring Lardner--who was Holden's favorite writer and not a "phony." Since, like so many other kids of my generation, I identified with Holden, I decided I had to find everything I could about Ring Lardner.
By that time, the early 1970s, Lardner had grown obscure, and we had no such thing as the internet where nothing is more than an axe-length away. However with some dedication and a book-lovers sense of the quest, I managed to buy and read probably half a dozen books by Lardner and a couple of dozen short stories.
Lardner had a gift of language which seems all but lost today. Probably my favorite sentence in all the world was this simple one from a story called "The Young Immigrants."
"'Shut up,' he explained."
I also loved this from a short story called "The Golden Honeymoon." "Mother sat facing the front of the train as it makes her giddy to ride backwards. I sat facing her, which does not affect me."
I woke early this morning without anything I could think of writing here. So I started thinking of Lardner to inspire me. I found these two gems:
“He looked at me as if I were a side dish he hadn't ordered.”
“He give her a look that you could of poured on a waffle.”
I'm sure there are thousands of neo-hipsters out in ad-land who know nothing about Lardner because he's not on a podcast. Or if they do know him, he's too uncool to matter. To them I quote once again, "'Shut up,' he explained."
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 5:51 AM