Past Columns

Follies: The Complete


One From Column A...

December 7, 1998 - #63

Oh, dear, oh, dear. I'm afraid, dear readers, that this is going to have to be a baby column, or a columnlet, because I will be flying off to New York tomorrow. But, as always, I promise a larger than large column when I return from said New York. I will have a full report on shows seen, meals eaten, and other effluvia, whatever the hell that is.

Has anyone noticed, that without any warning whatsoever, December is upon us? Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, March went out like a lion, and November went out like a turkey and now upon us is December. In other words, all of a sudden, 'tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la and all that jazz. I don't know how it happened, frankly, but as soon as December 1st hit I was jolly. I woke up, looked in the mirror and thought, "By jove, look at that jolly person in the mirror!" And the person in the mirror (me) looked right back and said "Why are you talking to a mirror, you big wazoo?" That little comment made me slightly less jolly, but still I was semi-jolly, which is better than not being jolly at all. You know, there's nothing worse than your own mirror image being a smartass. Mirrors are peculiar anyway, in my book (Chapter 212 - The Peculiarities of Mirrors or Here's Looking At You, Kid). I mean, there you are, even though you are already somewhere else. That just gives me the willies, don't you know. Who's to say if I'm real or the mirror me is real. And who cares? Why am I writing about mirrors when 'tis the season to be jolly? I need to write about jolly things, like quince pie and elderberry wine, not to mention chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Are fires open from nine to seven and closed on Sundays? Do they have a holiday schedule? Because I don't want to seek out an open fire and find it's closed. That would be heinous (heinous, do you hear me?). Anyway, it's December and I am jolly, not only because it's December, but because in December occurs an especially festive event and that would be the birthday of The Real A. Yes, just a few short days from now, I will be older but wiser. I will actually be flying home on said birthday, so I hope they have a party for me on the plane. All the passengers can wear little hats and have streamers, and we can eat pop tarts and things.

I saw Fosse again last night. The show seemed tighter to me and seemed to flow better, but still lacks a focus. I sat in the second row, which I always enjoy, because I like to see the dancers sweat and I like to see the outlines of their kneepads which you can't see from further back. I'm happy to report that a change I recommended to a member of the company has been implemented. Do you think I will get a thank you in the program? During the trio dance from Pippin, a voice was giving all the "death" statistics (this did not happen in Pippin) and I thought it was totally detracting from the number and precluded audience enjoyment, because instead of watching you're listening and what you're listening to is not too pleasant. So, said member of the company passed that comment along, and they changed it, so the statistics are read before the dance, and the dance is performed with just the music. The audience now is totally with the number and it gets a big applause. So, if Fosse is a hit, do I get a royalty? Just asking. If Fosse isn't a hit are they going to come looking for me?

Well, since this is a baby column I do believe I'll just move on to the next section. We will keep everything succinct and to the point. We will keep this here column rolling right along, merrily. We won't waste a word, because words are precious when you're writing a baby column. Every word must serve a purpose and every purpose must serve a word. What the hell am I talking about? No words written thus far serve any purpose whatsoever. Every word is wasted and there is no point. Words, words, words. Perhaps I'll begin writing this column with numbers, just to be persnickety. 439 87 0009 12 366723987! There, I've done it and I'm glad. Frankly, that is the best writing I've ever done, number-wise or word-wise. You know, this column is starting to feel like the tour of Ragtime: It's coming to an end sooner than you think. But enough about me.

The Real A: A Life

You know, the problem with trying to write a succinct columnlet, is that you must be succinct. And so, in the interest of brevity, I'll just end this section right here. There, wasn't that succinct. Let us not forget that some wag or another once said that "brevity is the soul of wit". That, dear readers, is a very long way of saying something totally obtuse (esutbo spelled backwards). Hey, wait a darned minute. Aren't I supposed to be succinct? Why am I still writing? I need to move on to the next section, so I can continue my succinct ways. Or, as my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim, once said, Goodbye For Now.

The What If Dept.

I had the most brilliant "what if" yet, but don't you know I have to be succinct? If I did the "what if" I would be violating the rules of this columnlet's universe. And we cannot violate the rules of said universe because that would be a violation. Wow, this columnlet is just flying along, isn't it? I'm very impressed with my ability to be succinct. With nary a word wasted, except for the word "nary" which was totally useless and stupid to boot. I'd lay odds that this section is over, wouldn't you, dear readers? Of course, why I would lay odds when I don't even know odds is another story altogether.


I'll be very succinct. I discovered eBay. I am addicted to eBay. Thus you would assume that I would naturally have bought one hundred shares of eBay stock for twenty-five dollars a share the day they went on the market. Unfortunately, I didn't. I've never played the stock market. Had I purchased said stock I would be buying another Leyendecker painting right about now, because said stock is currently at two hundred and seven dollars. If it is possible to be both succinct and stupid at the same time, I have achieved it.

Letters... We Get Letters

So much mail, so little time. It is not possible to answer all the wonderful letters you sent me (which I really appreciate and which really touched me) and be succinct at the same time. I want to give each letter the proper attention it deserves. So, I will answer all letters in the next column, I promise.

Trivia and Other Useless Knowledge

Amazingly, only one person has guessed last week's trivia question correctly. Many of you misunderstood the question, which was: Name the Sondheim connection with The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Many of you guessed Sondheim connections to one film or another, but I'm looking for the one Sondheim connection that is peculiar to all three films. You have another week to try to get the answer, which, by the way, is succinct.

Send all answers to me at or use the form below...

Send The Real A Some Email:



Trivia answers, questions, comments...

Can you believe it? The end of another column. I feel this column was quite succinct, with not a word wasted or a wasted word. I will soon be boarding a plane for New York. And then, in the words of General MacArthur: I shall return. Or was that General Patton? Or General Foods?

Until next week, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...

Yours, yours, yours, yours, yours.

The Real A

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