When I was a senior in college, Liz Taylor spent time in Kentucky's Bluegrass region filming Raintree County. As luck would have it, the stand-in chosen for her in the film was none other than a Transylvania co-ed I was dating at the time. Gorgeous? You bet? A soul mate for Mark? You bet NOT. 100% looks, decent personality, smart enough, but very full of herself (as I would have been under similar circumstances had I been picked as a stand-in for my "look-a-likes"--e.g., Robert Redford or Paul Newman).
Liz II, as I'll choose to call her, was so good looking and resembled Liz Taylor so closely that she literally turned heads when we walked down Main or Broadway in Lexington. On the one hand, I felt proud and complimented by the attention people, mostly men, gave her; on the other hand, I felt comparatively inferior and intimidated in the physical looks department, especially when I compared my image in the mirror to the reality of my "Liz look-alike."
Those who knew me then will remember me as a pretty geeky-looking red head with dark horn rim glasses. Rather than resembling Redford or Newman, I more closely had the non-musical attributes of an auburn haired Buddy Holly. I'm sure that strangers looked at Liz II and me together and wondered what the heck she had in her mind to be going out with me. I was clearly not the owner of a White-fenced Fayette County horse farm with Secretariat standing at stud; nor was I the next star of a VistaVision film, nor was I stud material myself.
Irrespective of the perceptions of others, I was able to bask in the heat and glamor of the real Liz as reflected by my college coed look-alike for a few short months. After that, the best I could do was to send "Liz I" Taylor an imaginary letter asking her to put me on her list of men to consider when her current relationship petered out. Clearly, as events would prove, there were lots of pretty talented, rich, and famous guys who got on the list ahead of me. Oh well!
Still, sometimes, in the dark of the night, in my senescence, I wonder what the "real" Liz might have been like as a girlfriend or live-in, or life partner, or roommate. Given the evidence in"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" I suspect that she was more than any man could handle, including (especially) that red-headed point guard from Louisville.
So, tonight, on the evening of her funeral and burial in Los Angeles, I pause in my own busy lives (real and fantasy) to raise my hat and champagne glass to her beauty and talent. I guess my name will never come up "next" on her list. Probably just as well.
Plagiarizing my singing hero Frank Sinatra, here's a epitaph about her life: she lived it her way.
And so: Atque in perpetuum, sorore, ave ateque vale.
A welcome to readers
As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime: