Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Norman Mailer and me.

Norman Mailer died last week at the age of 84. And while I was never a big fan of ego-lit, he did, at one time, have a certain burly appeal to the sort of rough-and-tumble Kerouac-wannabe New York intelligentsia. So when I was working on a single malt whiskey account, Liphromiaginnagorrfhaggh (a word unpronounceable in modern English)I proposed using Mailer in an ad.

Somewhat inexplicably, the client, and Mailer said "yes." And now I was on the hook to work with Mailer. I had come up with the headline, "What I Think and What I Drink by Norman Mailer." Mailer originally mumbled, "yeah, that's fine." But when he got on set for the print shoot he had a snootful and was belligerent as hell.

"That fucking line sucks," he screamed to one and all while assuming his classic boxer's stance. "Where's the fucking copy fuck?" he screamed. I had no choice but to try to calm the puglistic penman down. "Norm, let's just sit here, we'll shoot a few and we're outta here."

"It's no go, Jew Boy," he slurs. "The line should read 'It's my type.' Alluding to both the fucking whiskey and my fucking writing."

"But Norman, I think that's less clear," I mustered up my courage to say. It was then and there Mailer hauled off and punched me in the eye.

When I woke, the shoot was over. Mailer finally agreed to my line and the next day he had sent a dozen boxes of Corona Coronas to my apartment along with an autographed copy of a first-edition of "The Naked and the Dead."

That was Norman. I'm going to miss the big lug.

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