Skip to content

Month: December 2010

Well, Excuuuuuse Him!

I met Steve Martin when I was a kid. We were at a party, and I shadowed the poor guy all afternoon, waiting for him to crack me up, to slip into character. He never did.

Where was the Wild and Crazy Guy? Where was The Jerk? Where was King Tut?

Years later, he granted me an interview about his play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. In a dumb attempt to catch him off guard, to give my readers the Steve Martin I was sure they really wanted, I asked him if he preferred boxers or briefs. I don’t recall his good-sport answer — only that he uttered it earnestly, artlessly. It seems I’d finally located The Jerk; it was me.

It’s easy to forget that entertainers aren’t always entertaining, and that they’re deeper — and sometimes duller — than their onstage personas.

Though Martin once wore a gag arrow through his head, in real life he’s far more the reticent sophisticate of It’s Complicated than the inane pratfaller of The Pink Panther. But he’s more than those, too: He’s also a successful playwright, Grammy-winning banjo player, and avid art collector who just published a novel, An Object of Beauty, set amid New York’s high-brow art scene.

Faux Ho Ho

One word comes to mind as I watch my husband and sons scramble over our extremely pitched roof, stringing lights over the precarious edge of our home: balance.

It’s hard to find during the holidays, isn’t it? I’ve yet to master the balance between magic and madness, that elusive equilibrium between what the season should be about (family, friends, and gratitude) and what it actually, quickly becomes about (overspending, overeating, and buttoning up your coat for yet another bothersome obligation).

Heres one that no longer jingles my bells: I cannot bring myself to haul the family to a bustling parking lot, scout for the least-mangled tree, curse its $80 price tag, wrestle it into a stand, curse its asymmetry, argue about which unsightly side should face the wall, curse it for tilting, crawl underneath it to add daily water, live in fear of its flammability, and ultimately drag it, browned and battered, to the curb before vacuuming pine needles from the abused rug below.

I can’t do it. You can’t make me.

As a child, it was enchanting to have a huge, live tree in the house — no less astounding than if we’d dug a pond in the middle of the living room: How can this be? It’s magic!

The contents of this site are © 2022 Starshine Roshell. All rights reserved.