28 Feb 2013

Bob again

Cary Grant was once told, "Every time I see you on the screen, I think, 'I wish I was Cary Grant.'" He replied, "That's just what I think!"

I've been repeating that story ever since I first heard it, and it never fails to amuse audiences, all of whom seem to understand it immediately. Everybody groks that Archie Leach, the poor boy from Liverpool who became "Cary Grant" never fully believed in "Cary Grant," since Cary was, after all, his own invention. On the other hand, here's a similar story, which I also like to tell, that produces very mixed reactions, with some people laughing and others looking puzzled or slightly offended.

An art dealer once went to Pablo Picasso and said, "I have a bunch of 'Picasso' canvasses that I was thinking of buying. Would you look them over and tell me which are real and which are forgeries?" Picasso obligingly began sorting the paintings into two piles. Then, as the Great Man added one particular picture to the fake pile, the dealer cried, "Wait a minute, Pablo. That's no forgery. I was visiting you the weekend you painted it." Picasso replied imperturbably, "No matter. I can fake a Picasso as well as any thief in Europe."

Personally, I find this story not only amusing but profoundly disturbing. It has caused me to think, every time I finish a piece of writing, "Is this a real Robert Anton Wilson, or did I just fake a Robert Anton Wilson?" Sometimes, especially with a long novel, I find it impossible to convince myself that I know the answer. After all, as Nietzche said, "there are no facts, only interpretations"...... Continue reading...