The Breakfast Table

Save Our Aging Hardbodies

Dear Merrill,

It’s nice to know that even people who live in the Hamptons need to cut costs occasionally. I guess Christie Brinkley’s exercise-machine infomercial career must not be pulling in as much as revenue as expected. This is surprising to me, because when I saw it at three in the morning the other night, she looked like she was doing a great job: looked directly into the camera, smiled broadly and evenly, even turned her head to make eye contact with the spokesperson when delivering the line “You’re right, it really does tone the calves!” The plight of the former model in this country is an interesting one. Where do they go after Donald Trump is done with them and has moved on to weightier matters, like running for president or opening tacky casinos or dating the next supermodel in line? Christie at least has her painting to keep her occupied, apparently having already learned Monica’s lesson about the importance of being free-spirited with her creativity years ago, without the benefit of the fashion world’s fastest-rising new purse-merchant. (I know about this aspect of Brinkley’s creative life because I recall she did a Billy Joel album cover several years back when they were still married. Not that I had the record; I saw a segment about it on Hour Magazine or something. If I remember right, it had some sort of watercolor waterfall or river or something, and she explained that the idea “came to [her] in a dream.”) The time is right for a brand-new charity: Save Our Aging Hardbodies, which would set up a home to provide care for all the now-slightly-less-beautiful women society is no longer interested in.

And while we’re on the topic of people who really know how to work it for the camera lens, I see on the Chicago Tribune’s front page that the ever-photogenic Jesse Jackson went and got his bad self arrested again, this time at Eisenhower High School in Decatur, Ill. I’m sure his cause was a noble one and everything, and I don’t want to go on and on about this simply because the good reverend’s noted skills at making love to the camera have been exhaustively remarked upon elsewhere, but it sounds like this incident was notable even by his standards. Get this: “Dozens of [photographers and reporters] jockeyed for position so frantically that they almost knocked over an elderly woman in a wheelchair who had come to watch.” It goes on to say that the crowd of press was so voluminous that the police had to actually come to Jackson’s aid in order to clear a path so he could get arrested by them. The photo accompanying the piece looked good, though. Jackson is biting his lower lip sternly, looking earnest and rugged like Clinton sometimes chooses to.

Regarding the EgyptAir crash, they say they still don’t know if it was really a deliberate suicide thing or what, but it gives me an idea. Plane crashes are one of those terrible things, like that “I Like Girls Who Wear Abercrombie & Fitch” song or cervical cancer, that just happen without any exciting drama or justification to explain them away. So, maybe we’d all feel a little better if every time a jetliner went down, the press concocted a big exciting international-intrigue murder-mystery plot to go along with it? Later, after a newer, different disaster had occupied the national attention afresh, they could announce that subsequent investigations had ruled out the theory. Meanwhile, everyone would have the comfort of pretending that, in this sad life, all the tragedy and death wasn’t simply meaningless. What do you think? Will it play in Peoria?

Until tomorrow,