In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 4

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Visitors enjoy a mild afternoon at Southford Falls State Park, Southbury, Connecticut, January 28, 2023. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

In this week’s episode of In Other Words, our hero once again accounts for himself. This, of course, reminds him of this exchange from “The Producers” by Mel Brooks:

Max Bialystock: So you’re an accountant, huh?
Leo Bloom : Yes, I am.
Max Bialystock : Then account for yourself! You believe in God, you believe in gold; why are you looking up old ladies’ dresses? Bit of a pervert, huh?

“The Producers” (1967)

It’s funnier when Zero Mostel delivers it. Somehow it never registered with me until just now that the one looking up old ladies’ dresses was Bialystock himself, which adds to the lunacy of the scene.

Like Leo Bloom, I haven’t much to say to account for myself this week. January and February are often time-consuming transition months in our lives. So far there has been no word from the History Channel production team about my January interview. This implies to me that I was a difficult enough customer that they had to move ahead without me to meet their production schedule. No matter; the research I did for that project will be valuable for one of my own and lend credibility to the next interview.

I continue to read through my early journals as a writer and share entries that I think will be of interest to other writers, particularly those starting out on their life journey the way I did almost a half-century ago. I started down this path in doing research for “Harry Houdini and the Witch of Beacon Hill,” to see what I did with the play after its initial one-act draft. So far I seem to have put it out of my mind as I concentrated on looking for a job and pitching articles to magazines. There was a market for periodicals, if not for one-act stage plays.

This week’s two posts were prompted by the journals. ‘Procrastination or progress?’ gives a bit of background about the economic conditions I faced: higher unemployment and inflation than we have today. That post also gives a hint of what the professional me thinks about the beginner me, four decades later. Now that I’m older than my own father was at the time, I can understand his frustration with his aimless, drifting son.

‘A lovely day’ got the most reader response this week, both in comments and on Facebook. Visitors enjoyed the Cole Porter clips and wanted to know why “lovely, lovely, lovely” was weak writing. I’ll have to dig out my old style books to give a precise answer. Strunk and White admonish the writer to omit needless words. Bernstein, I think, discourages the use of imprecise adjectives. (Although “lovely” looks like an adverb, it modifies “day.”)

Behind the scenes this week, I developed a Guidestar profile for one nonprofit and initiated another one for my church. This will help both organizations establish their credibility and transparency with potential donors. I’m also rewriting content and rebuilding the nonprofit’s website on a staging platform. (What’s up there on the current site is not mine.)

Will I get paid for those? No. Being a professional is more than earning money. It’s using your talents for the greater good. I can’t think of a greater good than feeding the hungry and supporting my family’s faith community. Can you?

So there, I’ve accounted for myself. I do believe in God, not so much in gold, and as for the old ladies, well, they’re Max’s problem.

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