Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #191

Marlene Dietrich, moody but talented: “Do I look like I’m impressed with this outfit?”

Director, obscure but arty: “Well, no. But you never look impressed with anything. Has anybody ever actually seen your teeth? “

Marlene: “I never smile. Smiling is for lazy people.”

Director: “Should I mention that Zukor is thinking of doubling your salary?”

Marlene: “Well, that’s an entirely different matter. Just tell me where to stand and when to stop. I could wear this crap all day as long as the paycheck sizzles.”

Director: “I thought that might help you see the brighter side of your dark heart. But if you don’t mind, what’s going on with that hand of yours?”

Marlene: “It’s called smoking, you turnip.”

Director: “No, I mean the other hand. The one that is either caressing your throne with forbidden desire or has simply lost all muscle control.”

Marlene: “Oh, that. I was merely reaching for my gun to shoot the intruder.”

Director: “Intruder? But this is a closed set. You should be safe here. Unless you dare to try the tuna salad on the craft services table.”

Marlene: “I was speaking figuratively, which we Germans must often do because we put our verbs in the wrong places. It’s my birthday today. I don’t appreciate this development and I plan to fight it with every ounce of my unsmiling resolve.”

Director: “So you were going to shoot… what? A calendar? Time?”

Marlene, sighing: “I don’t know. I’m just not ready to be one year closer to my final fade to black.”

Director: “You shouldn’t talk like that. Every single day we get is a chance to celebrate the days we have already had and the days to come.”

Marlene: “You sound like my therapist.”

Director: “That’s because I am your therapist. Now, when I snap my fingers, you will awaken and no longer be bitter about growing old and you will accept the continuing ticks of the Life Clock with grace and appreciation for the new dawns.”

Marlene: “Wait! Do I still get the sizzling paychecks?”

Director: “Isn’t the joy of family and friends and sunrises compensation enough?”



I dragged this one out of the Crusty Pie archives, sharing it for the first time here on Bonnywood, considerably revised and extended. And yes, it’s my birthday today. For the record, I am now 56. But in my heart, light or dark (the jury is still out), I’m still 18 and marching my hopeful ass to my first day of college in the autumn of 1983. The world was full of possibilities then, and I never want to stop learning….


68 replies »

  1. Happy Birthday Brian! 🥂🍾🍻🎂🎉✨💃🏼
    To paraphrase Rod Stewart you are forever young! I’ll be adding another number next month, and I’m not sad about it. I’m excited to see what the next 40 years or so have to show me. I feel like the best years are ahead, not behind.
    We’ll toast each other in Spain yet! See if we don’t!😉💖💕💌🤗🥰

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wishing you a very Happy Oh Hell Am I Really That Old Now Day. I just turned 57 last month so have I have you by a year. My sage advice? Keep drinking and preserve yourself from the inside out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Remember back in the day when the concept of turning 35 seemed a mystical and distant milestone? Now we’re twenty-odd years beyond that and still wondering what happened…

      And I do hope that preserving from the inside out is a real and beneficial thing, because I’ve been very steadfast in following THAT prescription on a regular basis… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday 🎂🎈 🎁 🕯️ 🥳 !!! LOL, celebrating her birthday with a gun? Hahaha! What is Marlene Dietrich thinking? I mean birthday is to celebrate giving lives while guns is for taking lives. What role is she playing? She is wearing a weird outfit with a weird hat and hairdo. The studio and the director must be driving her crazy. No wonder she is so moody.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Happy Birthday. Image celebrating your birthday with Marlene Dietrich! My fantasy meter just hit 11. Inside my head I’m still 35 so Marlene would do nicely thank you very much. Plus, I’m not including last year on the birthday list — I didn’t use it. cheers

    Liked by 2 people

        • Right at the moment (also off the top of my head and mostly based on the conversation prospects) I would go with Kate Hepburn, Joseph Cotten, Ida Lupino, Kirk Douglas and Marilyn Monroe…


          • Good choices. I almost went with Ida Lupino (she’d have some tales to tell) but that would have kicked Bogie off the list and — well — he’s Bogie and I read somewhere he was a hopeless gossip (I love gossip) I had a little trouble with Errol Flynn and his love of first editions but in the end I’m sure he’d have some stories. I definitely see Hepburn, Cotton and Monroe but why Kirk Douglas? cheers

            Liked by 1 person

            • Several intriguing elements with Kirk: He was a lead in two of Kubrick’s early films, he helped break the Hollywood Blacklist by insisting that Dalton Trumbo be given screen credit for “Spartacus”, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Carter for Kirk’s promotion of democracy in the world, he and his second wife donated most of their considerable fortune to charity, and he was married to that second wife for 66 years. He’s also a self-described “son of a bitch” and “most hated actor in America”. I’d like to to have a chat with somebody whose had that varied of a life…

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Sincerest best wishes for a very happy birthday, my brother from another mother! ❤ ❤ It was a great day in January in 196… when your mother announced your arrival was imminent. Greatness was born into the world that day, and some badly needed humor and grace too. Congrats on your 56th. You wear it well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, my sister from another mister. You always know the right things to say, even if my birth mother’s announcement was met with shock and horror and not happy birds chirping in the sunshine. It’s been a long, strange, crazy, convoluted trip… 😉


  6. Happy Birthday! 🎂Would love to send you a bottle of good Okanagan but the thought will have to do. 🍷

    And that outfit would scare small children. A fez, a Trappist monk skirt and Elizabeth I’s ruffle wear? There could be some confusion going on. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, look, I just found another ancient crate in the cellar of the Temple of Illusions and Possible Bad Guys. I only need to track down two more crates and I’ll earn the Golden Rod of Power and Fleeting Glory! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “I was speaking figuratively, which we Germans must often do because we put our verbs in the wrong places.”
    I was figuratively speaking, which we Germans often do must because we our verbs in the wrong places put. 😉
    Alle Gute zum Geburtstag!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You may be on to something there. And I’m on the verge of googling “marlene dietrich teeth rumor”.

      Reflection: It’s really interesting how so many of the folks who follow Bonnywood are right around my same age, in a decade span or so. It just shows that people born at roughly the same time often have a somewhat shared mindset. Even if we’ve had unique and separate experiences, we still gravitate toward one another, because of that mutual, overall sense of a certain time and space. Well, at least the decent people gravitate. The others can sod off… 😉


  8. Hippo birdie two ewes
    Hippo birdie two ewes
    Hippo birdie
    Hippo birdie
    Hippo birdie two ewes.
    (Not by me but by Sandra Boyton
    You’re a mere 5 months older and share a birthday with my mother, who’d have been 80 today, so I’ll never forget your birthday as long as I walk the earth, both of our mothers, and I’m surely by every means I have at my disposal happy you were born.

    Marlene Dietrich – that gender busting vixen with talent and intelligence beyond her time certainly makes a nice sparkler for the top of your cake.

    To celebrate I think I’d not bake, but buy you a Carvel ice cream cake – Cookie Puss. If you’re not familiar with Tom Carvel and the ice cream marvel -
    That’s how much I truly value your support, care and friendship,although from afar my blog and my confidence is elevated because of all that and your irreverence and building Bonnywood when I nearly died back in late December of 2019 means more to me than I can ever express. No matter how verbose I am, some things go beyond words. Happy birthday and much love,
    Ilene 🖖🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, I appreciate the lovely birthday song, even if you cribbed it a bit.

      Second, your mother and I share the same birthday? That’s kismet, right there. We were destined to meet. Or it might just mean that lots of people get frisky on April 26th, and then nine months later…

      Third, I have often heard about Carvel ice cream cakes over the years, yet none of such has ever touched my acidic lips. Does this make me less of a person? Perhaps…

      Fourth, I can honestly say that the post where I shared your version of Bonnywood was one of the most personally satisfying posts I have ever done. It was completely from the heart, even though I managed to drag in (as I typically do) my typical ticks of snark and irreverence. I truly meant it when I typed “this is what my prayers look like”, even though I’m not the least bit religious…

      Fifth, in case I haven’t said it enough, thank you…


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