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Mona 'n' me

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I wore my tie with the Mona Lisa on it to work today. It’s a nice tie and does the painting justice. “I like your tie,” several people said. “It’s a masterpiece,” I replied. A colleague who is French demanded I return the tie to the Musée du Louvre. I said, “You can take this tie to France after you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

I took the tie off after I got home from work and looked at it, and I had the same reaction I’ve always had to the Mona Lisa: She is just not that pretty.

Start with her hair. It looks kind of—well, there’s no other word for it: It looks greasy. Look how it’s plastered to the top of her head. And look how thin it gets as it falls onto her shoulders. Two words come to mind: split ends. You would think that she would have spent a little time with it, knowing she was going to have her portrait done.

But people don’t talk about the Mona Lisa’s hair—they talk about her smile, her enigmatic smile, her mysterious smile. Sorry: I’m not feelin’ it. She doesn’t look enigmatic or mysterious or coy—she looks annoyed. She looks like the pizza delivery boy just tried a pickup line on her: The We Are Not Amused look.

And the name: the Mona Lisa. I’m always suspicious of people with the definite article in front of their name (except for a friend whom I’ll mention shortly). I’ll bet she refers to herself in the third person: “The Mona Lisa thinks the pizza delivery boy should zip his lip or he’ll get no tip.” But that’s not delivery — it’s Da Vinci.

You need to understand that I know her a little bit. She spends a lot of time hanging around me. When I ask if she wants to go out for a fish fry on Friday night and then maybe head to Tito’s Tap Room for some draft beers, pickled eggs and some 8-ball, I sure don’t say, “The Mona Lisa, do you want to go out for a fry tonight?” I say, “Ya wanna go gettuh fish fry?” I hardly ever call her Mona unless she’s mad at me. On the other hand, when things are good between us, I call her “Mo-Lee.” But I never called her “the,” and I’ve never introduced her to somebody like that—except for my friend The Count.

“Count,” I said, “this is my girlfriend, The Mona Lisa. Call her Mo. Mo, this is The Count.” Now, if you knew The Count, you’d know why he merits the “The.” But you don’t know him, so let me tell you.

I was sitting with The Count in a barroom one night when a scuffle broke out across the room: Shouts. Threats. Punches. People being knocked to the floor. I didn’t recognize anyone. That didn’t matter to The Count. He looked at me and smiled crazy and said, “Fight! I’ve gotta get in it.” And he did. Anybody who’s that twisted, you call him what he likes.

Mo wasn’t with me that night, though. When I caught up with her the next day, I told her what had happened, ending the story like I just did, telling her what The Count had said.

She just gave me a look.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Now that's a yarn.
Dec. 8th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
The story about The Count is true.
Dec. 8th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
that’s not delivery — it’s Da Vinci

I just spit my tea on the keyboard.

You are gifted.
Dec. 8th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Dec. 8th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! Any day I give someone a laugh is a day well spent.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”


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