Monday, October 6, 2008

Absence of Newman: An Interactive Tribute

It seems I have a vacancy on my list. You know, the “list” brought to us by the cast of “Friends” in the 1990’s, where each partner in a relationship is allowed a list of (up to) five people he or she is allowed to leave the other for without question or argument.

Dave has long held the same five, a list that is carefully laminated and folded, safe in his wallet, should the opportunity to run away with Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfmann, or Fergie (the American, not the Brit) ever arise.

I, on the other hand, have had more of a revolving list kept tidy and orderly on a sort of mental dry-erase board. Several names have come and gone: George Brett, Antonio (Banderas and Sabato, Jr.), and Nate Berkus.

Brad Pitt made the original list until he left Jen for Angie and I removed him in protest of his poor moral character. Then I caught “Troy” on HBO one night and decided Mom was wrong; sometimes what’s on the outside counts more than what lies within, and so Brad is back on. (Though I’ll admit, I’ve probably got a better shot at Nate.)

There are a couple of original names which still remain today (Bono and Harry Connick, Jr.) as well as a near-original (George Clooney). And then, tragically, there is one I was recently forced to remove, the very first man on any list I’ve ever made, Paul Newman.

I was in eighth grade when I first met Paul Newman. Our class had been herded to the school cafeteria for a special treat, where Sister Kathleen, in her infinite and holy wisdom, let us all watch “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, a movie which will long live as one of the most influential films in my formation as a woman with needs.

Paul Newman forever redefined “Cool” and “Fast” with the names “Luke” and “Eddie” and set a high bar for all of mankind in the areas of sex appeal, philanthropy, and organic popcorn. But it was his run from the law with Robert Redford that set him permanently in my heart. I delight in the naïve but wishful thinking that, were it not for the 66-year difference in age, he would have left the steak at home and taken this hamburger out for a spin around the race track.

Which brings me back to the list. Paul Newman will not be easy to replace. No other man on earth has such stunning blue eyes that gaze into my very soul or can turn me on with a simple, “Sorry I’m late, I was taking a crap.” The next guy to fill the empty slot has to be able to ride a horse off a cliff, school Tom Cruise in pool, and whip up some killer marinara, and I just don’t think Zac Efron is ready for that – yet.

But according to George Carlin, and he was the king of tact, I have a year before I can tastefully replace a dear departed lover with a new one. So I suppose there’s time to look around, which is a good thing. Because among the many alluring and talented men that walk our planet, there was only one man we called Paul Newman.

(dedicated to Kay)


Kay said...

Thanks Julie! You did him justice. I love it!

Morgan the (Almost) Muse said...

Haha, that is great. We did lose a great guy, though. Oh well, I guess we have to remain thankful for all the other great guys who are still here.