I don’t think I’ve told you this. James Thurber again, remember him? Younger, non-readers may know the name of his creation, Walter Mitty. The New Yorker published a short story (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) in March, 1939, that was based on the eponymous character. It has twice been made into a film, with Mitty played by Danny Kaye (1911-1987) and more recently by Ben Stiller. The name and its story have become a contemporary Aesop Fable. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as "an ordinary often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs".
That’s not what I want to write about. I’m thinking of a far less well-known story of Thurber’s about a man whose wife began correcting his stories/tales/anecdotes - in the company of others, at parties! (Very humiliating.)
“No dear, it was a Thursday…it wasn’t raining, it was a sunny day…she wasn’t naked, she was wearing a bikini…he shouted, he didn’t sing..” And so on.
So he began to narrate his dreams because she wasn’t there, ,she hadn’t heard them. But he ran out of dreams. And when he began to tell old dreams, she was right in there:
“it wasn’t a pink cloud. You said it was a blue one….”
See, that might happen to me. Maybe it already has. I’ll start repeating myself and you will correct me. I have a horror of repeating myself. On the other hand, it will mean that you read something of mine before. That’s a comforting thought.
It’s the beginning of immortality