It’s already dark and I haven’t accomplished anything. From Column A (“Desire”) or Column B (“Responsibility”).
Roman comes in. “What are you doing there,” he laughs, “just sitting in the dark?” His people are older than my people.
I am not sitting, I explain. I have fallen between two stools.
“Nevertheless,” says Roman.
It goes on this way for some time.
Finally Deirdre arrives and she and Roman undress. They slap together like pancakes.
“I can hear you, you know,” I say.
They keep ignoring me. “Butter!” cries one. “Syrup!” the other.
It’s making me hungry. I switch on the light. (Suddenly everything’s easy.)
Surprise! A press of faces and balloons.
My navel is compared to a cockle shell. I am given my first pair of shoes.
In the shoes I am ready to deliver the lecture. Everyone settles in and I clear my throat. This goes on for some time. The beautiful woman in the front row nods helpfully at each cough.
At last I come out with a large, wet brain. I hold the brain in front of the audience. Everyone applauds as it drips.
A foundation is founded in my name. My statue is erected in the square.
Roman comes by. “What are you doing up there,” he laughs, “with pigeon shit all over your head?” His people are younger than mine.
Deirdre arrives and they assemble the launch module. Terrorists, they are going to use me to destroy the moon.
I issue strenuous objections. What about all those nights together, just the three of us?
“You were always too strenuous,” says Deirdre.
It goes on this way for some time. Together they light the fuse.
Fortunately, “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”
Published in 1933, this popular song was written by Harold Arlen with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg and Billy Rose.
It was written originally for an unsuccessful Broadway play called The Great Magoo, set in Coney Island. It was subsequently used in the movie Take a Chance, in 1933.
But its lasting fame stems from a series of recordings of the song by popular artists such as the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the Nat King Cole Trio, and Ella Fitzgerald.
And from its use as a vehicle for improvisation by many jazz musicians.