Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lady Gail-Gail!

It’s been my custom to add a new little essay here every day of the week save Sunday lately, but today is a special occasion — the anniversary of the birth, in Canada, several years ago, of my friend Lady Gail-Gail. The remarkable thing is how, without a lot of fanfare, without a lot of gaseous rhetoric from demagogues, her birthday has come to be a de facto national holiday. In Beacon, New York, where I live — to whatever extent one can be said to be living, rather than just enduring, in a heat wave that seems intent on lasting forever — there was on Main Street this morning, before most folks headed off to church, a parade featuring flower-bestrewn floats. My own favorite — and a favorite also of the judges, who gave it both the Judges’ and Least Appropriate for Children awards — was the Marie Antoinette’s Beheading float, sponsored by our soon-to-open designer bakery Flour. Reminding us that Her Highness is wrongly thought to have said, “Let them eat cake,” when advised that many of her subjects were starving, Flour’s proprietors hired local teenagers to distribute samples of their delicious devil’s food cake to those lining the parade route. Many declined, having not yet had their breakfast (here in Beacon, we believe no less avidly in a nutritious start to the day than in the sanctity of Pete Seeger), but those who accepted samples were generally delighted to have done so. “Absolutely gorgeous,” remarked local figurative painter Richard Butler, once the lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs, in whose native United Kingdom, gorgeous is often invoked to connote great deliciousness.

A spokesperson for Lady Gail-Gail advised local revelers via videoconference that the birthday girl intended to spend her day driving up to Santa Barbara for lunch with one of her many glamorous public relations clients. On returning to Los Angeles this evening, she will allow one of her many suitors to take her to dinner, and then devote the balance of the evening to opening gifts and cards.

It’s never too late to transmit belated felicitations here.

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