David Bruce Anecdotes
• At a party at artist Neysa McMein’s studio, actress Helen Hayes was sitting quietly in a corner when a man she had never seen before came up to her, held out a bag of nuts, and asked, “Want a peanut?” She took a few, and the man said, “I wish they were emeralds.” The man was playwright Charles MacArthur, whom she later married.
• Calvin Klein TV commercials sometimes feature beautiful models filled with existential angst. Boston Market, a fast-food restaurant chain, parodied these commercials by showing thin models walking on a beach as they agonize about how they could “fill this empty void of emptiness.” Of course, Boston Market had the solution — eat something.
• Pierre Curie, the husband of Marie (they won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903), paid little attention to what he ate. At dinner, Marie once asked him if he had liked his lamp chop. He replied, “I haven’t tasted it yet” — and then he looked at his plate and saw that it was empty.
• James Marshall, author/illustrator of such children’s books as The Stupids Step Out and Miss Nelson is Missing!, had one eccentricity when he was a child. He hated toast, so rather than eat it, he hid it — in his closet were hidden stacks of toast.
• In ancient Jerusalem, Jews would put a flag in front of their door to indicate that a meal was being served at that time and that anyone who was hungry could join the family for the meal.
• Working together, friends Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak created Apple Computer. It was Mr. Jobs who came up with the name. He remembered a very happy time he had spent in Oregon picking apples. Mr. Jobs also created the company logo: an apple with a bite taken out of it. Mr. Wozniak was also pretty good at coming up with names. When he went back (after having dropped out earlier, and after having left Apple) to the University of California at Berkeley, the world-famous computer genius was seldom recognized because he used a pseudonym at school: Rocky Raccoon Clark. (“Rocky Raccoon” is the title of a song by the Beatles, and Mr. Wozniak was married to athlete Candice Clark.) The two also had other talents. Believe it or not, at Apple Computer Mr. Jobs would sometimes inspect the Macintosh computer factory — after first donning a white glove! And after retiring from Apple Computer, Mr. Wozniak expanded his Los Gatos, California, home. Among other attractions, it has a limestone cave with such attractions as replicas of dinosaur tracks, fossils, cave paintings, rock carvings, and crystal formations. According to Mr. Wozniak, “The whole house has to be for kids as well as adults. Kids just love secret places.”
• Creative people are often funny, as these stories about the friends of J. Bryan III, who is himself creative, show: 1) Donald Ogden Stewart sent his son a letter on his 14th birthday. The letter said: “Dear Dee-Dee: The time has come for you to learn about the flowers and the bees. There is a gentleman bee and a lady bee, though I don’t know which is which. As for the flowers, we get ours from Plaza Florists. So much for that. Affectionately, Daddy.” 2) Marc Connelly once inscribed one of his books, “To Joseph Bryan III, whose friendship and the purchase of this book have made me richer.” 3) Corey Ford’s estate was called Stoneybroke, because it had been so expensive to build. On the estate was a birdbath with a towel rack complete with tiny HIS and HER towels. 4) Finis Farr once accepted an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party with this telegram: “DELIGHTED. I TAKE A SIZE 7 1/4 IN LAMPSHADES.”
• Punk rocker Patti Smith was always ambitious. Before becoming famous with her first album, Horses, Ms. Smith was starting to make a name for herself in New York City as a poet and a rocker. After one of her performances, Bob Dylan visited her backstage. A photographer took a few photographs of him, and then Ms. Smith pushed Mr. Dylan aside and jokingly told the photographer, “Take my picture.” Mr. Dylan made a praying motion to Ms. Smith, and then he left. Of course, later Ms. Smith thought that she had acted like a jerk to Mr. Dylan and “that guy will never talk to me again.” However, a photograph of Mr. Dylan with his arms around Ms. Smith appeared on the cover of the Village Voice, and soon afterward Ms. Smith saw Mr. Dylan on the street. He had a copy of the Village Voice cover, and he joked to Ms. Smith, “Who are these two people? You know who these people are?” Then he smiled at Ms. Smith, and she knew he wasn’t mad at her.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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