Tahoe Pine Nuts: World’s first author comments on 21st century
March 4, 2015
Who is recognized as the world's first great author? This is the question I pondered as I ran along Lakeshore Drive yesterday.
So I looked it up when I got home and was surprised and disappointed to find out it was not Mark Twain as I had supposed, but, "Homer."
Homer? I was force-fed the Iliad in a comparative literature class, and was able to throw away my bottle of Ambien, for it put me into a deep sleep that lasted the entire semester, and that was just the CliffsNotes.
Homer was the first author to shout out in print, "Carpe Diem!" No, Fact Checker tells me that was Horace, actually.
OK, Homer was the first author to recite, "The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles." No, on second check, that might have been Sigmund Engel.
Well then, Homer was the first to pen an apology, "What a thrice-double ass was I." No, no, that was Shakespeare's Caliban as it turns out.
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While playing cards, Homer once admonished, "Now Horace, play the cards fair, I know what I dealt you." Actually, I discovered, that was Lyndon Johnson.
Asked what he thought about critics, Homer got a little hot under the collar and reproved, "Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what he thinks about dogs." Not Homer after all, but John Osborn.
On the subject of authoring a book, Homer wrote, "No matter how much you feel, you have to have your craft together to express it. Otherwise you are in deep doo-doo." Sorry, it was Quincy Jones who said that.
When asked about diplomacy Homer opined, "Diplomacy is the art of saying, 'Nice doggie,' until you can get a rock." Oh, dang it anyway, attribute that quote to Will Rogers.
On the topic of his favorite food, Homer was quick to comment, "Brandied peaches, and I like them squeezed." Come to find out, that was WC Fields.
Sin? Homer even wrote about that delicate subject: "The biggest sin is sitting on your ass." Now that I think of it, that was Florence Kennedy.
Nothing got by Homer, he was a prodigious noticer and commented on everything. On the subject of energy Homer granted, "There are days when it takes all you've got just to keep up with the losers." Uhh, that was Robert Orben.
On the emptiness of gossip, Homer pleaded, "If you haven't got anything good to say about anyone, come and sit by me." Shoot, that was Alice Roosevelt Longworth. ("My bad," as the vulgar are apt to say.)
And what is happiness? Happiness, according to Homer, is …"A good cigar, and a good woman — or a bad woman. It depends on how much happiness you can handle." Or, perhaps, maybe, that could have been George Burns.
Heaven? "In heaven all the interesting people are missing." That wasn't Homer at all; it was Friedrich Nietzsche -everybody knows that.
But what better subject to address in leaving Homer than immortality: "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon." No, as it were, that was Susan Retz.
So if Homer didn't say any of these things, what did he have to say? Well, once I set Homer down I can't pick him up again, so I'm not the one to tell you … it's all Greek to me.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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