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Essays on Life
The man from U.N.C.L.E. died this past week, and what could be a better symbol for the new, dark era of Donald Trump? The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-68) was primarily a tongue-in-cheek TV action series about two intrepid spies working for a mysterious organization known as U.N.C.L.E. (the United Network Command for Law Enforcement) who, every week, sought to save the world from diabolical masterminds.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1011:]]With my father dead in the other room, I could feel the moistness on my palms as the police officer asked us: “If he died at 8:25, why did you wait until midnight to report his death?”
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:999:]]About three months ago, my brother told me he had taken his daughters, Xanthe, age 12, and Helena, age 8, to see Skyfall (2012), the latest James Bond movie.“They had never seen a Bond movie before,” he told me, “and they were blown away by it.”
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:934:]]It was the first Christmas I could recall without the presence of my father, George. Only days before, my dad – at the time, just 59 years old, which seemed so old back then but which now, at age 56, has me saying, “How young!” – had undergone the first of many medical traumas in his life. He suffered a heart attack.It was rough but my father must have been born under a lucky star. It was the holiday season and George was helping my mother out by cleaning potatoes for a meal. My mother noticed he was acting a bit oddly. She found him sitting at the kitchen table, a potato in his hand, staring into space.“What’s wrong with you?” she asked.“I’ve run out of potatoes,” he said in an odd monotone.“Well, then get some more.”
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:868:]]"Neurology has determined that Doug lost 90 percent of the left side of his brain, with no hope for recovery. He looked forward to a poor quality of life in a nursing home, which he has always expressed that he would not want. It was a difficult decision for us, but was done in love and mercy. It was a family decision to let Doug pass on to his next adventure." – statement from the Nervik family, October 2012
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:794:]]"Communication and cooperation always help avoid problems,” attorney Stuart Saft, a partner at Holland & Knight, once said to me. Not everyone believes that.
I recently revisited and revised my essay, "Charlie's Gift" for a public reading at the ROUGH AND READY show. Here is the essay I read. [[wysiwyg_imageupload:678:]]Charlie was the family dog. But he was widely considered to be my dog.He joined our family in the spring of 1972,when I was still living at home. Long after I had moved out, however, I still came by and took him for long walks in the park. He was always ecstatic when he saw me, and he jumped up and down, with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, his eyes glowing with happiness.If I looked at it objectively, however, Charlie got excited when most people came by to call, and he usually seemed excited in much the same way.
Tom Sinclair, better known to some of his compatriots as Siny, is my oldest friend. Not in age, of course, but in longevity. We had similar interests – Marvel comics, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Combat! (the TV series not the activity), and book collecting. With Alan Saly and Christian Doherty – whom we joined up with in 1968-69 – we were the creative quartet behind Guardian publishing and Apar Films.
OUR LITTLE JOKEMy brother, Pete, phoned me the other day to tell me about an article he had just read in The New Yorker."Hey, check it out," he said with excitement. "It's all about rent-a-family."
Act NaturallyMy Life and Apar FilmsPart 2: Horror(The Place, 1972, 2011)[[wysiwyg_imageupload:236:]]