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Writing That Grabs And Holds

Home Games (Notes from the Compound)

Henry and Me and a Date with History
Paul Agostino and Thomas Henry Eggbert Agostino
It was a momentous day. Historic. So I dropped a note to my brother Henry the historian out in California, to let him know I was thinking about him. I thought it only right.

Dear Henry: Jerry Lewis is dead. I know it was a great loss for you. I hope you're holding up. Enjoy the eclipse. Best wishes and love always, Dean Martin.

Henry wrote back.

Dear Dean-o: My better half doesn't think Jerry Lewis was funny at all, and is deeply annoyed that Jerry once said that female comedians aren't funny or aren't able to be funny, something like that. I defended Jerry as legit funny, but most importantly, I defended him because he was a chain-smoker who lived to be 93. So there's that. As for the eclipse, the weather report states that it will be cloudy with a chance of deep bitterness at things merely getting dark for a few minutes. Nothing ruins fun like being denied the chance to irreversibly fry your retinas by looking directly into the sun. With Affection, Henry Tudor, King of England and All I Survey

Dear Henry: By time you get this note, the eclipse will have come and gone, and I, for one, say good riddance. We'll have to agree to disagree about Jerry Lewis. But I will say this. Not only was Jerry Lewis unfunny, he was gratingly unfunny. And it has nothing to do with propriety. It has to do with talk show appearances and interviews and Vegas and every movie he ever made. And it has to do with that telethon. “Play it,” Jerry would say to the orchestra at the end of each telethon, “play the song.” Yes, that one. The one with the big ending. I could tell you story after story about Jerry Lewis, because they're all stuck in my head and refuse to leave. But I'll end with this and I swear it's true. When I first met my friend Sal, 25 years ago, the subject got around to Jerry Lewis, as it sometimes does. Sal told me then what he’s been telling everyone else, before and since: "Did you know that Jerry Lewis once beat a child to death with a bag of gold in the south of France?" It's not true, but not one person he has told it to has doubted the story. And that's all you need to know about Jerry Lewis. Though there's a whole lot more to tell. Trust me. Somebody get me a psychiatrist and some strong, strong drugs. For the love of humanity, don't leave me here like this. Yours, Napoleon I, Emperor in Exile


Comments:
Paul Agostino  commented on August 28, 2017 :
Taken from actual emails.
Letters to Editor  commented on August 28, 2017 :
John Paul Carillo: What surprised me when I saw the Daily News headline that Jerry Lewis had died was that I could swear he'd died four years ago.  I have a distinct memory, back when I was living in NC, that I saw a headline about his death in the Charlottesville Herald.  Oh well, going crazy in reverse.

Anyway, who could forget his masterful performance as a disgruntled bus driver in The Muppets Take Manhattan?  Though it's a brief appearance (the scene was cut from the film), this role does more to sum up Jerry's candor, wit, and general uselessness than any other in recent memory.

The thing about the bag of gold and the Belgian half-wit child is, for better or worse, true.  There's a documentary on YouTube that lays it all out in every gory detail.  True, it's only seven minutes long and done in stop-motion claymation, but it's damn convincing.  Damn convincing.

Paul Agostino: I've always felt that Claymation is the truest form of communication and artistic expression. That's why, as a kid, I always believed what I heard on Davey and Goliath about how it's "good to be good," and also why I believed dogs could talk until I was...oh...14-or-so.
 
Michael  commented on September 13, 2017 :
cloudy with a chance of deep bitterness.

He was good in 'King of Comedy,' I'll give him that. And those poor kids with muscular dystrophy are finally cured, as far as I know. I mean, I don't hear about them anymore, so I guess problem solved. Thanks, Jerry, for having a career in comedy without being funny, at all, and giving Pete Bambola a bit in 'X-Men: the Revenge."

Too soon?

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All Saints' Day (Featuring Henry, Betty, and Co.) - Paul Agostino - November 02, 2017
All-Star (Featuring Irene, Sal, and Gabriel) - Paul Agostino - November 02, 2017
Henry and Me and a Date with History - Paul Agostino and Thomas Henry Eggbert Agostino - August 28, 2017
Mama's Little Baby - Paul Agostino (Featuring the Agostino Family) - August 20, 2017
The Greatest Compliment I've Ever Heard - Paul Agostino (Featuring Henry Agostino) - August 19, 2017
Family Portraits, 8: As My Father Used to Say to Me - Paul Agostino (#2, The Peacemaker) - August 09, 2017
Family Portraits, 7: The Green-Eyed Monster - Gabriel M. Agostino (#1, Mr. Make Believe) - August 08, 2017
Family Portraits, 6: The Land of Fun - Paul Agostino (#2, The Gifted One) - August 06, 2017
Family Portraits, 5: Don't I Deserve A Participation Ribbon? - Lawrence J. Agostino (#6, Mama's Little Baby) - August 05, 2017
Family Portraits, 4: Talking Back to Refrigerator Magnets - Ferdinand L. Agostino (#4a) - August 03, 2017
Family Portraits, 3: My Brush With Fame - Betty S. Agostino (#3, Dad's Favorite) - August 01, 2017
Family Portraits, 2: Thank-You Note - Henry E. Agostino (#4b) - July 31, 2017
Family Portraits, 1: My Mother, the Taskmaster - Gabriel M. Agostino (#1, Mom's Favorite) - July 30, 2017
Classroom Clippings, Part 2: 4:55 - Michael Cummings (Intoduction: Paul Agostino) - May 25, 2017






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