This is just one of my random musings; they usually come when I’m doing hard labor, of which there is plenty every day.
It’s the old idea of imagining what certain historical personages would do or say if they found themselves thrown together at, say, some cocktail party in a trendy loft in the meatpacking district. The kind of gathering where you realize you know absolutely no one but the host, who has long since disappeared in the scrum.
So I was washing the dishes when suddenly Copernicus came into my mind. He seemed lonely. I cast around for somebody who could keep him company till at least the next tray of canapes came past, and I thought, Baby June. Already this party is looking up.
So I needed more. George Burns is staring out the window — odd, I know, even I have trouble picturing him standing still — so I sent him Marie Curie. There. He’ll make her smile, which I think she probably hasn’t done since she fainted from hunger in her freezing little garret as a student in Paris. And she’ll give him a leg up on something really important about the subatomic world, which you have to admit is a subject that has always been lacking in his shows.
So we throw out a batch of models and a few publicists and screenwriters and street artists to make space for some more happy couples. I think Nikola Tesla and Edith Wharton would be smokin’. I know he would be pretty far out along the edge of the envelope for her, the edge of the flap that cuts your tongue, but I believe that she could talk with anybody. That’s what real sophistication and real manners means and real intelligence means. I have no doubt that by the end of the evening he’d be thinking how smart she was and a little less about his own scintillating brain.
Then I got to imagining Enrico Dandolo and Mary Anderson (you know, the woman who invented the windshield wiper). He was one of the most pragmatic people ever born, and I think he’d have liked her. Or at least understood her. I’m serious. Because I don’t think many people understood him, either.
Joan of Arc and George Clooney.
Ernest Hemingway and Marian Anderson.
Captain James Cook and Wilma Rudolph.
Margaret Sanger and Hereward the Wake.
Vitale Bramani and St. Hilda of Whitby.
None of these really working for you? Okay, how about this:
Martha Stewart and Stalin.
Back to work.