Drama Queens – and Kings – UNITE!

Oh, the labels manKIND whips from his collective pocket and slaps onto us all!  To discover one’s Facebook comfort zone, try careening blissfully from homeless domestic animal epidemic, locally and globally, to battling extinction of wolves and whales to complimenting  would-be poets to visiting a fantastic movie site called “Movie Stars & Movie Characters of the Silver Screen”.  Then duck when some complete stranger reaches through the monitor to smack your face.  Yearning to “sass” back, I suggest instead: count to ten; regain composure; and offer a grudgingly polite response. 

Reference to my personality as “dramatic”, by a former child-star who appeared on Broadway, jolted my sensibilities.  Feeling that the “pot” had just “called the kettle black”, I fumed inwardly as Helen Hayes might have once in a thirties film.  Retorts filled my thoughts.  Two “theatrical” types verging on name-calling while states apart.  At issue?  Our overcrowded shelter dilemma involving the destroying of 5 to 9 million innocent lives annually.  Solution?  Network.  Let your fingers do the talking.

Poignant resolution evolved.  We BOTH, rather awkwardly, thwarted the execution of a puppy he dubbed Nefesh (Hebrew for “soul”) and personally whisked safely to a Southern librarian’s cozy home, where the mutt got promptly re-named Zoe.  Sadly, our “honeymoon” reached its conclusion when I failed to comprehend “chip-ins” via “pay-pal”, and my banker advised against such transactions?  I applaud yet envy the rapier wit of my spunky FB friend Arlene who countered to a messaging bully’s insistence that the worst human’s more important than any animal:  “Personally, I prefer Rin-Tin-Tin over Adolph Hitler any old day.” Good for her!

Next, perky Annie caught my wandering eye as she “Liked” my posts which frequently focus on the cinematic world.  Happily diverted from my frustration with the chivalrous yet miffed Georgian cantor, Annie and I followed one another about for two entire days.  We shared our mutual affection for James Dean in East of Eden, Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge, Audrey Hepburn in Love in the Afternoon, and Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade.  Our only point of disagreement involved Natalie Wood vs. Elizabeth Taylor. 

Annie read a piece I wrote about our Columbia Theater, entitled  “Come Back to the Corner of Van Buren & Main, Jimmy Dean!  Jimmy Dean!”, and asked if I would consider composing a story about Ms. Wood, Jimmy’s co-star in Rebel Without a Cause.  And that is how Liz Taylor Hilton Wilder Todd Fisher Burton-Burton Warner Fortensky interrupted our dialogue.

I tactfully informed my pal that after viewing Giant as a nine year old, I favored Liz / “Leslie Benedict” who consumed my childish thoughts. Returning from the movie-house to search for myriad sheets of typing paper and a roll of Scotch tape stashed within my mom’s desk drawer, I gathered my Binney & Smith Crayolas (the jumbo size collection) and sifted through my big sister’s coloring books featuring movie queens–Betty Grable, Loretta Young, Jane Powell, June Allyson, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds.  Ah, there she lay—the ingénue from Father of the Bride herself!

Turning to page eight (the eventual number of Taylor’s husbands), tongue protruding from the side of my mouth, I laboriously scissored out only her beautiful face, leaving her body intact still upon the page. Artistry commenced in earnest!  I contrived the most voluminous bridal gown ever designed, her decapitated profile peering from the mess—the quintessential virgin.  Assorted waxy butterfly designs, polka dots, interpretive lacey treatments, pearls, tiara, train, veil, the impression of netting appeared as my “coloring” fingers flew.  Hours later, this star of all stars would be ready to march down the aisle toward Rock Hudson/”Bick Benedict” to live happily ever after.

Upon discovering my fashion design penchant, Mother inquired where I might store my humongous Bride of Frankenstein.  Suggesting “between my mattress and box springs?”, surprisingly she concurred.  The National Velvet starlet remained in that ironically appropriate position until her turn as Cleopatra.  Yes, Taylor romped with Richard and Rex in Rome while I headed off to Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, to become a teacher.  Coincidentally, Liz turned to ashes via the alley incinerator–rather than succumbing to an asp sting–when I wasn’t looking.

Method actor/50s heart-throb Marlon Brando once declared, “Everybody’s an actor”—for example, folks might “act” as if they love their jobs, often pretend that all is harmonious on the home front or feign illness when wishing to avoid attending some ludicrous function.  Since Annie adores Natalie Wood, I must shield her from the fact that I also glued the face of Elizabeth Taylor onto the curvaceous ”grown-up” paper doll body of the woman Robert Wagner married twice.  You see, I never accepted “Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko” as a suitable girl-friend for James Dean or as a credible human-semaphore during the drag-racing/”chicken” sequence. (See Rebel!)  Nor, shall I ever confide to my fellow animal savior that he served as the antagonist for this column.  “Acting” is a survival skill — a type of universal gentle diplomacy.

Thus, this “dramatic” tribute to Liz Taylor, whom Lassie came home to, emanated from Facebook activities centered upon celebrity worshipping and animal rescuing all wrapped up in– journalistic prose. Evidently, the dreamy little violet-eyed girl whom we first met when she was a kid resembling a 40 year old woman, in a story about a horse, must be my muse?  Surprise!  Growing up and growing old with Liz; she’s always been there for me.

Encountering Dr. Greg and Ruth Anne (Staley) Woodham several years ago while “antiquing” at Rustic Relics, I asked Psychiatrist Greg for a quickie analysis.  His immediate diagnosis-prognosis?  “I see that you never hold anything back…keep that up!”   I withheld my obsession for bridal gowns held together with yellowing brittle Scotch tape, my propensity for juggling human heads about, and my puzzlements resulting from dealing with real or virtual humans who are not nearly as fun as paper dolls, dogs or cats.  Maybe he’ll read this and get back to me—via the private FB Inbox!  I shall have “friended”, at long last, a “shrink”!

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.  They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”  ~ William Shakespeare (As You Like It)

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