Monday, September 7, 2020


"Trilling" describes the vocal sound that Tybalt almost constantly makes, making it easy to find him when he's snuck past the doorwarden into the darkened bedroom.

But it also describes something else, the delightful experience of reading Calvin Trillin. Waiting for the next batch of library books to arrive, I dipped into the stash of Trillin volumes I scarfed from my late mother's books, and came up with Enough's Enough, a collection of his newspaper columns from 1987-90. Quite a trip to be reminded of what was newsworthy back then. And yes, there's a column about Donald Trump. This was back in the days when I wondered why so much attention was paid to this man. What had he done, other than promote himself?

Anyway, some good reading. While nobody will surpass George Orwell as the master of the arresting opening sentence of an essay, Trillin does pretty well with "I live in Greenwich Village, where people from the suburbs bring their car alarms for late-night testing."

But what made me most laugh was the start of an essay on the occasion of Reagan's retirement. (I've slightly abridged this quote.)
Ronald and Nancy Reagan will now be living in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, at what used to be 666 St. Cloud Drive. They arranged to have the address changed because in the Bible 666 is the number of the Devil. So their house's new address will be 668 St. Cloud Drive. That's all O.K., except now where's the Devil supposed to live?
You say it's silly of me to worry about housing for the Devil because the Devil doesn't actually exist. If the Devil doesn't actually exist, why are the Reagans changing their address?
It's true that in the high-rent district of Manhattan there's a well-known office building called 666 Fifth Avenue. The Devil could live there - I would assume that he spends a lot of time in Manhattan anyway. It happens to be a particularly unattractive building; I suppose if anybody at the time had thought to ask the architect why he chose to erect such a weird-looking structure, he might have said, "The Devil made me do it."

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