dozens of bodies have
entered and left my life
and each of them, I think
takes a piece of me
on the way out.
I find myself diagnosing
symptoms they didn’t know
I felt inclined to cure.
I carve out my martyrdom
I settle at the top of my high horse
and resent their apathy when
they don’t want my
Imagine my surprise as I see their rejection
piling up, single use cutlery
my good intentions
(yet maligned purpose)
end up being wasteful
I EARNED THIS FACE
Yes, I earned this face
Every wrinkle, scar, and stare
I lived, learned, and loved
ARE YOU REAL?
Do you disappear
After you close both your eyes?
No? Then you are real.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
• During a performance of Hamleta leading lady had made a mistake in saying her words, at which the audience had laughed. This led to an old actor asserting to Basil Dean the next day, “You can say anything, my boy, providing you said it with proper conviction. I’ll bet you a pint of beer that I will say something quite absurd in the next act, and no one will laugh.” They made the bet, and in the next act, the old actor, who was playing the King, did not say, “And you, the others, bear a wary eye,” but substituted, “And you, the others, wear a beery eye.” The old actor said the line with conviction, no one laughed, and after the play had been completed, the old actor turned to Mr. Dean and said, “Laddie, my pint.”
• Wilson Mizner used to travel on ocean liners, where he made a living inveigling rich passengers into playing poker with him. In fact, quite a few cardsharps made quite a lot of money that way. Once, Mr. Mizner invited a man to play poker with him, but the man kept on winning no matter what Mizner did. In the final hand of the game, Mr. Mizner manipulated the cards so that he had four queens, but the other man had four kings. Realizing that he had met a superior cardsharp, Mr. Mizner said, “You win, but those are not the cards I dealt you.”
• Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur were friends and writing collaborators. They liked to play board games together and bet on the outcome. However, Mr. MacArthur habitually lost, complained about cheating, and never paid Mr. Hecht. Whenever the total amount of money he owed to Mr. Hecht reached $100,000, Mr. MacArthur would take out a $5 bill from his wallet, lay it on the table, and say, “Tear up that crooked score, and we’ll start playing for cash.”
• Preacher George Whitefield (1714-1770) and a friend were staying at an inn where they were disturbed by gamblers in the next room. Mr. Whitefield felt that gambling was a sin and so he went next door and remonstrated with the gamblers about their behavior, and then he returned to his room and prepared for bed. His criticisms had no effect, for the people next door continued gambling, so his friend asked what he had received for his trouble. Mr. Whitefield replied, “A soft pillow,” and then he went to sleep.
• Alexander Woollcott belonged to the Young Men’s Upper West Side Thanatopsis and Inside Straight Club, whose members met regularly to play poker. Once, a member of the club brought a rich man to play poker at the club, announcing that the rich man would be easy to pluck. The next morning, Mr. Woollcott and his friends looked up the rich man in Dun and Bradstreet, found that he was worth $60,000,000, and then they sent that publication this note: “Dear Sirs: He now has $60,000,210.”
• The cast and crew of Peter Panwere on tour in New England at a time when many people thought that actors and actresses were scandalous. On the train, the actors playing pirates noticed that some scandalized Puritans were staring at them as they played poker (also a no-no), so they seated the child playing Liza at the poker table, gave her some cards, and set some poker chips in front of her. The child gazed intently at the cards.
• Lord Brampton, formerly Mr. Hawkins (1817-1907), was a judge who enjoyed gambling on the races. One day a member of the jury had a telegram put into his hand. Reading the telegram, he was overjoyed, and shouted, “Silvio’s won, and I’ve won.” Judge Hawkins criticized the outburst severely, saying, “It is most improper, and I trust it will never occur again.” Then Judge Hawkins asked, “By the way, did the telegram say what was second and third?”
• At one time, comedian Phil Silvers bet quite a lot of money on sports games. Once, he visited with his mother for a day, and he had her radio tuned to a game he had bet on. At the end of the day, he realized that he had spent the day with his mother, but he couldn’t remember a single thing she had said because he had been listening to the game, not to her.
• Beatrice Lillie’s husband, Robert Peel, enjoyed gambling. One night, he broke the bank at Monte Carlo. Beatrice made him promise to leave Monte Carlo with her at daybreak, but the next morning there was a railroad strike and they were unable to leave. Bobby went back into the casino and lost all of the money he had made the night before.
• Sir Thomas Beecham once bet Richard Strauss £100 that he could conduct — without a score — Elektra. Mr. Strauss made the bet, but he didn’t pay up when Sir Thomas won. Therefore, when it was time for Mr. Strauss to be paid his royalties, Sir Thomas deducted £100 from the check.
• Frank Sullivan enjoyed betting on the horse races, and he was honored once by the New York Racing Association with the one-time-only running of the Frank Sullivan Purse. On such a wonderful day, Mr. Sullivan wanted to be sure he had the winning ticket — so he bet on every horse in the race.
• When David Copperfield takes his show on the road, his crew won’t let him play poker with them — as a magician, Mr. Copperfield has an “unfair advantage.” (In addition to not gambling, Mr. Copperfield doesn’t drink or smoke.)
• Pianist Anton Rubinstein was addicted to gambling at one time, and once he even made $3,000 while gambling at Baden-Baden. However, on another occasion, he gambled away everything he had and so was cured of gambling.
• Golf has had its share of tricksters and conmen. Amarillo Slim once made a bet that he could use a club to drive a ball half a mile. He won the bet by hitting the ball onto a large frozen lake.
• Wilson Mizner once defined gambling as “the sure way of getting nothing for something.”
• “The only way to double your money in a casino is to fold it and put it in your pocket.” — Benno Moisewitsch.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved