Today would have been James Thurber’s 110th birthday.
I taught myself to read from looking at the words in The New Yorker’s cartoons. It, and the cartoonists and writers have always been part of my family.
During President Clinton’s impeachment I began doing volunteer work for a first amendment group. They had me calling celebrities because I don’t get all starry voiced. I’m rather blase:
“Oh X how nice that you had dinner with Brad and Jennifer last night. But tell me about the food.”
When I reached Calvin Trillin’s name I couldn’t make the call. I was afraid that if his wife, Alice, (who died later, the same week as my mom), I would say something stupid:
“Alice, let’s eat.”
I was afraid to speak to Calvin Trillin because some of his New Yorker pieces are some of my favorite writings. I was so star struck, I was afraid that if Alice didn’t answer, I would lose my ability to speak and hang up the phone. While this has never happened in my adult life, there’s always a first time.
I gave the phone number to a starry voiced, starry eyed volunteer, who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to make this call, after all, his last name wasn’t Klein.