Point of View: Scenes I Through IV

A quartet

   A friend of mine who has a friend in Vegas who’s a bookie told me an interesting story the other day.
    He said his bookie friend had said that if Romney and Ryan win, my friend should pay for his round of golf when they played there and take him and two of his friends out to dinner. Whereupon my friend said that, in the alternative, should Obama and Biden win, he expected his bookie friend, a devotee of Rush Limbaugh, to pay for his round of golf and to take him and two of his friends out to dinner.
    “He wouldn’t take the bet,” my friend said. “Obama’s the heavy favorite in Vegas, at 1-to-2. That means a $10,000 bet will get you $5,000.”
    To me that bookie tale spoke volumes.

    On another subject, the Artists-Writers Game has become so serious that there’s hardly anything funny left to say about it anymore. Ou sont les madcap romps d’autant? The margin of victory is usually narrow these days, a run or two, and the games invariably go into extra innings. No spectators are getting beaned anymore by Alec Baldwin’s errant throws from third, no one’s running down the third base line, as Chevy Chase once did, to wrestle Ed Tivnan for possession of his foul popup. No Suzanne O’Malley in sequins with pom-poms to pump up the crowd. Come to think of it, no women played this year. It’s all come down to this.

    My eldest daughter said during a telephone conversation the other day that she was tired of the bumper stickers that say, “Heaven Can Wait.”
    “How do they know they’re going there?” she said.
    “I think it’s pretty likely that when it’s over it’s over,” I said.
    “Maybe they should say ‘Purgatory Can Wait. . . .’ ”
    “Or eternal damnation. . . . Ah, that would be a good one: ‘Eternal Damnation Can Wait.’ Though that might not fit. ‘Hell Can Wait’ would fit. But the fact is, Hell can’t wait.”
    “Dinner can’t wait either, Dad. Talk to you later.”

    My sister phoned last night to say that the bookshop in her Midwestern suburban preppy village had never heard of the playwright A.R. Gurney. Now this shocked me inasmuch as he’s been writing plays about suburban WASPs, i.e., her neighbors, for years. I told her I’d send her the four or five plays of his that I had, venturing that she’d find them funny.
    I didn’t have to look far for an example to give her of his type of humor: “They asked me for the East Hampton High School Hall of Fame plaque which sports I’d played when I was younger, and I told them soccer, baseball, tennis, lacrosse, ice hockey. . . . And after hanging up I remembered what Dad once said after I’d written him a letter thanking him for always being there for me. ‘It was the best letter I’ve ever received,’ he said, ‘but you left one thing out.’ Somewhat taken aback, I asked him what that was. ‘I taught you how to play squash!’ ” I phoned Jim Nicoletti back and asked him to please add squash to the list.
    A.R. Gurney would have loved it.