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The Durst of Times

Will Durst
He Grows Old,
He Grows Old,
and he wants you
to hear about it

By Will Durst



San Francisco, where the Department of Transportation is getting rid of those lane bumps, even though they're responsible for waking people who start drifting. Glad they waited till after St. Patrick's Day.

I am not a young man anymore. When my dad was my age, I had nightmares I was going to have spend large portions of my days following him around and apologizing to clerks and passersby for the odd noises and smells emanating from him. "No ma'am, this is not a skunk preserve. That's my dad's chair. Yes, perhaps we'd better move upwind."

Not to mention hair. All right, I mentioned it. There's this stuff coming out of my ears that is to hair what the Arctic is to ice. You could cut cheese with these things. Sometimes while I'm walking down the street, a particularly long one will bolt for freedom and wrap itself around a pole, nearly snapping my little head off right at the neck. A large Dutch telecommunications concern has expressed interest in researching their use as replacements for undersea fiber optic purposes. The nose hairs present problems all their own, but I have found that when properly trained, they can actually create the illusion of a halfway decent mustache. It's not that I feel old, it's just this is the oldest I've ever been.

San Francisco, where the Kendall Jackson Winery is suing Gallo Brothers Winery for copying its label. Was hard to tell the difference, except one wine was more appropriate on salads.

The other Sunday was an odd little evening spent under the tail of a comet. More impressive in theory than in actuality. A rare astronomical triple treat featuring the Planet Mars shining pink above the eclipsing moon while, 160 degrees on the other side of the sky, the Hale-Bopp Comet strode toward the sun like Little Richard with a flaming cape. And I remain unimpressed. It's a dusty little smudgelike thing. Looks like a streetlamp seen out of my smoke-fogged windshield from a mile away. Or Joan Collins through a Vaseline lens at a drive-in on the dark side of Alpha Centauri. I don't know about you, but I wanted stupendous cataclysms. Fire in the sky. Bright noon at midnight. Simple-minded God-fearing Republicans cowering on the ground with their heads shoved into mounds of manure out of fear. Little, eye-numbingly white, fat toad kids being sacrificed to various angry gods. I wanted to hear screams intermingled with the frenzied bleating of frightened yet strangely satisfied farm animals engaging in a last moment of intimate passion. What do we get? A fuzzy collection of fast-moving ice in a sky full of giant burning balls of gas. All it did for me was make The X-Files a bit spookier.

Somebody help me out with this. Did Kenneth Branagh really get nominated for an Academy Award for his adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet? He used every word of the original text. Hell, I had as much to do with the adaptation as Sir Kenny. Where was my nomination? And what was Billy Bob Thornton doing on stage at the end when producer Saul Zaentz picked up his Best Picture award? My theory is his boots got caught in one of the holes caused by the massive dropping of egos on the fragile Shrine Auditorium stage. And I'm as liberal as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn't Charlton Heston, but has Celine Dion ever heard of the word slip? Or am I once more demonstrating typical American insensitivity to the cultural heritage of our neighbors to the North in their indigenous desire to look like French hookers? I loved Frances McDormand talking about brave producers choosing actresses who fit the roles rather than picking bankable names, when she got the part with her brother-in-law writing and her husband directing. Oh, yeah, I know, she just really nailed the audition.


Will Durst thinks Dennis Rodman really knows how to dress. He refuses to prove it, but he knows.

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From the April 1997 issue of the Metropolitan

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