Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ring Lardner.

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."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Lardner was the inspiration for Leslie Nielsen's mental note about Priscilla Presley in "The Naked Gun":

"She had the kind of body that made you want to have sex with her."