The Path Not Taken

A writing drill suggested one time in a writer’s group meeting — a starting point for working on memoir — was this: “I meant to be. . .”

Try it if you like, though if you’re younger than, say, fifty, it might not hit with the same force some of us old folks feel. I meant to be — damn, all the painful reverie lines you can follow with that.

But it’s not about you or me I’m writing. It’s about that guy in the news all the time. You know the one. Where would that line — “I meant to be” — have taken him?

Here’s what I think. It would take him to, say, the School of Drama at Yale. A substantial career would lie ahead of him. Imagine, earning his MFA and tackling the Broadway audition circuit. Would he not have been, and very quickly, a dominant presence?

You think I jest, but no. Stop for a moment. Think about drama and actors and the stage and all that stuff. Consider Shakespeare. Henry IV, for instance. Would the man not have made a stupendous Falstaff?

But it is not in the classical theatre that he would have found his niche. I thought for a moment about The Music Man and Professor Harold Hill. Then I thought no, not quite. He would, however, have been magnificent as Max Bialystock in The Producers. Not as good as Zero Mostel, but then who could be? Better than Nathan Lane, though? Yes, I think so. A better Max Bialystock than Nathan Lane.

Ah well. The theater’s loss is the GOP’s loss as well. And richly deserved.


2 thoughts on “The Path Not Taken

  1. You may get your wish, Phil, when he plays himself in the movie about his life and times. I have no doubt one is in the works. It will make itself known when the campaigning/election part is over. The ‘life and times’ part is still underway and we have to wait for the narrative (script) to unfold. It has to be based in truth otherwise it would be a hard sell at the box office. Fiction has its standards.

    1. One of those standards — and it applies even in such jaunty genres as sci-fantasy and magic realism — is that it ought, in some manner, to make sense. As you note, this one will have to be hard cold truth.

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