Rampant Burping, 1970

1
"Can you live with it?" the Army psychiatrist asked him at his draft physical.

He smiled expansively.  "Now that I've discovered Andre Gide," he said, "I can live with anything."

2
Mother predicted Senator Dirksen's death one or two weeks before he died.  I would say that a small clue was involved: Mother has exceptionally good perception and power of deduction when health is involved.  It's almost as though she can "feel the patient out."  She probably noticed the Senator's countenance growing worse, a certain quality in his voice, which might be a subtle hint of lung cancer, etc.  Yes, this E.S.P. is difficult to understand, and at times it's hard to live with.

3
I am enclosing brief notes about myself hoping that they will serve the purposes for which you asked them; also a detail of the responsibilities of mayor.  In case you someday become one, let me know to rejoice with you.

4
I opened the refrigerator this morning to find it empty.  I can't afford to feed Fayerweather Hall.  Seriously, I thought it would be a nice gesture to buy oranges, apples, etc., in case we wanted them occasionally.  And now they're gone—and I heard you goned them!

5
Grandma disagreed with me about the war, but as Grandpa said, "What does she know?"

6
"Is Rabbi Feldman there?" the caller asked.  She sounded old.  It was a wrong number.

"He's dead," I said, and quickly hung up.

7
It's fully three years since he's "come out of it" and he'll never go back.

8
Before it slips away, my middle name is Bruce; this was my grandmother's choice.

The clothes we wear down here are the same as those up your way.  Sunglasses are of every type, likewise.

9
When people ask me what I plan to be after college, I generally say I want to be a governess for a big family in Spain.  Sort of an Iberian Julie Andrews.  But I still have some secret thoughts about becoming a movie critic.  Ever since I saw a Peck & Peck ad in the Sunday Times: "There's a certain kind of woman who thinks that Renata Adler's job is like getting paid to eat truffles . . ."

I should have realized at the time that it's sort of hard to get in when they only take ten girls out of two hundred.

10
We had most main things.

The only thing we did not have was the marathon-hunt.

11
Jamaica is lovely, but I prefer Aruba at Chanukah time.  'Chanukah' has several spellings in the dictionary; I don't know if any spelling is used more than any other, but I picked this one.  Christina is too sensible and spiritual for all this.

12
We have the right to be free from an arbitrary and capricious enforcement of a code of conduct.

We have other rights, too: twenty-three in all.  The others are enumerated elsewhere.

13
Mrs. Frehlinghuysen said it seemed to her that I wanted to 'luxuriate' myself in people, and I sarcastically said, "Fine.  So I'll go to an orgy."  But I know it's true.  I see that lurking beneath that is another set of feelings, which make me need a variety of people.  It's like an old Chinese puzzle box, and I'm afraid to see what's in the final box.

I had dinner last night at Burgerland.  There was another customer there, a young man, and there were two waitresses, and both of us flirted with one of them.  I realized that lurking in my mind was the feeling that we all go to bed together.

No wonder I have colitis.

14
Chicken in the car, car can't go: that's how you spell Chicago.

15
At Houston Street and the Bowery an old drunk comes up to my car and wipes the windshield with a snotty rag.  He is toothless and smiling.

I give him a dime.  As we drive away, Christina says I should have given him a quarter.

16
He went into the little room where they would check his hearing.  He put on the earphones, but his claustrophobia and the fact that he was unused to wearing so much cologne combined to make him very nauseous.

He stuck his finger down his throat, opened the door to the little room and threw up on the sergeant.

"What the fuck?" the sergeant yelled.

17
Walking along the river, a jogging blonde girl passed us, her breasts jiggling up and down, up and down.

"I admire girls who jog," I said.

The boy on my right looked at me.  "I wonder why," he said.

17a
Later, walking up Broadway, the boy on my right stopped in a drug store to buy some Lectra-Shave.  He was no longer on my right.

The boy on my left pointed to a sign in the drug store window: "K-Y Jelly, Reg. $1.29.  Now 69¢"

"It's all cosmic," the boy on my left said.

17b
Much later, after dinner in fact, we cut across the campus.  The boy on my left (who had previously, by the river, been the boy on my right) came up with an idea.  His idea was that the Miss America pageant be staged on the steps of Low Library.  Five contestants could come out behind each of the ten pillars, and Bert parks could sit on the lap of the statue of Alma Mater.

"Alma Mater," I repeated to myself.

18
It's so damn hot in this hotel room.  It must've been a hundred degrees every day I've been in Rome.  There are cockroaches in my room.  I'm thirsty and out of Liebfraumilch.  In the room next door they're watching television, it's "The Forsyte Saga," the episode with the party, and Soames is telling the woman to shut up.

It would be shitty if she died while I was away.  She was a drug addict, a sick woman, but the first few years (before diet pills) were quite good.

19
Christina's hymen is unbreakable.  We've tried everything: hammers, ice-picks, loose-leaf hole punchers, pneumatic drills.  Nothing works.

20
We had most main things.

The only thing that we did not have was the color war.

21
At the last Safari Awards, the last one ever, I went up to accept the Worst Supporting Actress award for Anne Wiazemsky.  It was the third year in a row that she'd won it.  That year, the award was a cut-out of the head of 'Scoop' Jackson surrounded by sparklers.

I had the hiccups and had trouble speaking.  People laughed at me.  He was kind and stepped in and told another story about his draft physical.

The Army doctors asked him what he meant when he checked 'stomach disorders' on the list of things wrong with him.  They wanted to know what kind of stomach disorder he had.

He thought very quickly, back to the time when he was nine years old and had eaten a whole salami and couldn't stop belching for two days.

"I'm subject to fits of rampant burping," he told them.  
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