This piece was written for the monthly Blog Battle challenge around the word ‘vivacious’. These pieces are normally meant to be around 1,000 words but any one of the following anecdotes provide a picture.
Mrs. Chasen: [after spotting her son, Harold, hanging from a noose in the living room] ‘I suppose you think that’s very funny, Harold. Dinner is at 8:00, Harold. And do try to be a little more vivacious.’ From the movie masterpiece, ‘Harold and Maude’ (1971)
It is said, by some, that a man cannot be vivacious. It is also said, by some, that the world is flat. Both opinions lack veracity but the internet allows them to be propagated widely, along with the inconvenient truth of George Washington having been an alien and Donald Trump being a genius businessman.
For the more perspicacious of you, I offer the following anecdotes from my extraordinary life that put the lie to the canard that men lack vivacity.
As many of you know, when I single-handedly won the war with Antarctica (quibblers may suggest that’s because I was the only one who turned up), I donned my dinner suit and danced with the penguins well into the night. I told this story at a dinner party at George Miller’s house one night and my case for plagiarism against him and the producers of Happy Feet will soon launch.
When President Obama invited me to the White House to thank me for my unsung role in designing ObamaCare, based on my unsung role in developing MediCare in Australia (scribblers and quibblers be damned; Barack and I know the truth), I enthralled his other guests with my playing of the Star Spangled Banner, firstly on a gumleaf and secondly on a musical saw.
Ever alert to pending disasters, when the truck carrying all the costumes for ‘Cats’ was destroyed in our recent unpleasantness called the bushfires, I handed over the hose to one of my fellow volunteers (no, no, please, there were many of us) and leapt into action, like a feral cat leaping onto a native bird (but I digress). I gathered together a team of skilled stitchers and we had a gay old time refurbishing the musical’s costumes within hours and I then returned to my duties at the Gates of Hell.
I was an old friend of Fred Astaire’s (he used to sit in playing the drums when Charlie Watts was ill in a mildly successful band I lead using the pseudonym Mick Jagger) and so I was invited to deliver the eulogy at Fred’s funeral. Not only was there not a dry eye in the house, when I bounded onto the coffin and tap-danced to ‘Top Hat, White Tie and Tails’, Ginger jumped up to join me (modesty forbids me recounting who the critics thought was the more vivacious) and soon the whole wake had a fascinating rhythm.
And then of course there’s my writing, including my uncredited role as script advisor for Forrest Gump, Moulin Rouge and Saving Private Ryan (the stories I could tell about Spielberg, including what really went on in those landing craft between takes, will have to wait for another day.)
These days, I moonlight as creative advisor to a host of entertainers who live in dread of losing their vivacity. Confidentiality agreements prevent me from naming names, except for the divine and unpretentious Lady Gaga. (Oh dear, you didn’t really think she came up with that meat dress idea all by herself, did you?)
Finally, I rest my case on the fact that I’m still here when so many of my less vivacious contemporaries have gone to meet their Maker. Unlike Harold, I don’t have time to hang around. Besides, I’ve just had a call from Bill Gates for my help with solving the corona virus crisis (he was impressed with my work on eliminating the last outposts of foot-in-mouth disease). Bless his cotton socks but even he would hesitate to suggest that vivacity is in his blood, whereas my DNA just reeks of it, so I’m the man (and I emphasise man in this context) for the job.