Happy Birthday, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway

Papa writing

Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, circa 1939. His works include A Moveable Feast (a memoir) and The Old Man and the Sea.

Happy July 21st, readers. (That happy and Hemingway go in the same sentence can only be an oxymoron.) Today marks the 115th birthday of American journalist, short story writer and novelist, Nobel laureate, outdoorsman, master alchemist, and best damn ambulance driver in world history: Ernest Miller Hemingway. He was born 21 July 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois.

In homage to the birthday of one the major writers in the English language, I will be brief. I also dedicate this brevity to FWR, who, sadly, has also gone to the great quail covey in the sky. Thank you, Fred, for teaching me everything I know about “Papa” Hemingway (among other literature).

For an overview of the writer’s life and his process, read Papa’s speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he could not give in person in Sweden in 1954, having been in a bushfire and recovering from not one, but two, airplane crashes in Africa that left him debilitated for the rest of his life. You can also listen to most of it, wherein he changes but one word from the paper speech.

In any case, without further ado, here is my poor Papa parody (the wrong way to Hemingway, to be sure, in contrast to, say, The Sun Also Rises!), written in 2011 and refreshed recently, in 2014. The names and certain details about the celebri-types have been changed to protect the infamous.

“Papa”-razzi Perspectives: If Hemingway Wrote for a Gossip Magazine

by Leigh Ward-Smith, ©2014

for FWR

Rex Diamondfield was once, and still is, a television actor in Hollywood. Do not think that I am much impressed by his job, but it means a lot to Diamondfield. And evidently to his new Compagne, Helen Troy-Taylor.

Two separate witnesses saw Diamondfield, 44, and 42-year-old actress Troy-Taylor at Disneyland, also in California, on Monday. One person said the pair “were having a great time” as they moved from ride to ride in the amusement park.

I rather liked Troy-Taylor, who reportedly showed Diamondfield quite the time on Monday. I first met Troy-Taylor at a cafe in Strasbourg or somewhere or other in Alsace, in 2001. She carried a dachshund in a pricey green handbag. Poochi in a Gucci, I thought at the time.

But neither witness recognized the bella dama this week. Diamondfield, however, was identified by fans, who described him as thin and gaunt, with deep wrinkles at the nape of his neck, though he had neatly combed dark hair. The eyewitnesses’ reports made me think he was the best form of lucky to be on a date with Troy-Taylor. I don’t have to tell you she makes men’s teeth sweat.

The couple walked around the park with a tour guide. He paused to pull out some teeth-whitening gum from an inner coat pocket near one of the most popular attractions at the park. He balled its silver wrapper into a wad and threw it toward a small bush. Outside Splash Mountain, one onlooker asked Troy-Taylor to take a picture of the group with Diamondfield. The rugged actor also wore a white shirt with two buttons undone, chinos and a black Bronx Bombers cap that the bystanders said was signed on the bill in gold ink by slugger Derek Jeter. After signing a final fan’s T-shirt, the couple made for the entrance. Diamondfield’s right arm casually drifted to the small of Troy-Taylor’s back, and he patted her derriere twice before they entered the ride itself with their guide.

An acquaintance of mine once remarked that “the rich are different from you and me.” Sure they are. They have Doozy-loads more money. But there are also other benefits. I’d go so far as to say Diamondfield scored a couple celebrity points just this week at Disneyland.