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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Not Herbert Lom

But, these days, I look like him.

Of course, I don't look like him, really. I look more like Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfuss, the character he made famous in the "Pink Panther" films, being tortured into madness by the ineptitude of Peter Sellers' Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Clouseau's rampant and limitless bumbling, paired with his inexplicable and accidental good luck at solving the most complex heist cases, grated on Lom's character, who developed a tell-tale eye twitch whenever in the presence of Clouseau, or even just when his name was mentioned.

"CLOUSEAU!" a psychiatrist yells at the supposedly-healed Dreyfuss during a session at a mental hospital-- to assess Dreyfuss's response. The patient reacts with perfect calm and ease. Until, less than 10 minutes later, he has several unfortunate encounters with a pond because of his nemesis, the moustachioed and impossible to understand Clouseau.

It would seem that Lom's character Dreyfuss and I are kindred spirits, as I have developed a twitch under my left eye. It first appeared perhaps a year ago, stuck around for a few days, and went away-- whatever little muscle it was, I guess, no longer felt the need to assert itself and make its presence known so insistently. This time, though, it has come back with a passion. The twitch re-emerged early in June and it's been hanging around pretty consistently. Sometimes it's a quick pulsation, going up and down with great energy and verve, other times it's slow and faint. No matter the rate or force, I've got to tell you, it's fucking annoying.

And I feel kind of silly writing about it, because it seems like it's the kind of thing one might choose to write about if one were grasping at straws for something to write about, and if that's what it seems like to you, that's because that's true. I was rather stuck, actually, for a topic today, and I felt like asking someone for advice-- a friend or a wife or whatever-- but then I usually end up not using that person's suggested topic, and that probably makes them feel like monkey vom, and it makes me feel guilty for soliciting an idea that I'm most likely just going to shitcan anyway.

But I suppose you're supposed to write about what's on your mind, and what's on my mind most frequently is breasts, but I wasn't really in the mood to write about breasts, although I did recently have an illuminating conversation about breasts a couple days ago-- maybe that's why I don't feel the need to write about them-- and so I thought I would go to a topic that really can't help but be on my radar, and that's this ceaseless twitching below my left eye.

I wonder what people think when they talk to me for any length of time. If they're making any reasonable attempt at eye-contact, they've got to notice it. It must be very unsettling to look at. Most people are probably too polite to say anything about it. Anyway, what would they say?

"Jesus, how about that nasty-ass twitch you've got there, fella! What's the matter-- your eye have Parkinsons?"

I'm not terribly polite, at least, not with people I know well. A friend of mine is pregnant and I haven't seen her in a few months. She's going to pop next week. Anyway, I saw her for the first time in months last weekend and she is so fucking pregnant it's not even funny. And she's growing out-- straight out. It looks like her baby is wearing a hoop-skirt, for Christ's sake. She was wearing a size 2-XL t-shirt. And she was trying to talk to me and my eyes kept going, quite unabashedly, I might add, to her belly.

"I'm sorry, Amy," I said, "I'm just not even listening to you-- I can't stop staring at your fucking belly!"

Which, in a way, was probably a good thing, because she probably didn't notice my eye-twitch that way.

I'm thinking of naming my twitch "Herbert" after Herbert Lom. Since we found out that we're having twins, we've been talking a lot about names. Everything's a name thing now. We were watching Michael Palin's "The Missionary" last night, and one of the actor's names is Denholm Elliott.

"What about 'Denholm'?" I said to my wife.

"That's funny," she said to me. And I presume it wasn't about the movie. In reading up about Denholm Elliott for this post (yeah, I do research. Sort of.) I learned that he was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, and died of AIDS-related tuberculosis in 1992. That made me sad. Herbert Lom, however, who was born five years before Denholm Elliott, is still living, apparently. Lom is ninety-four, if you can believe that. I don't think Mrs. Apron will let me name the kid "Herbert" either.

Lom, originally from Prague, was born Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru.

Now that's something to twitch about.

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