The Road to Happiness is/or/and the Root of all Evil

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Looking south along Park Avenue. Sunday, 10:00 AM. Photo: JH.

Monday, August 16, 2021. After a very warm (humid) weekend, yesterday was nicer. A little cooler (low 80s) but offering even “cooler” days ahead. But it is August in the northeast, and we all know about the very not August days of past years. This year has been easier on us (mainly), thanks to the dramatic weather changes. Aside from the temperatures, yesterday was also National Relaxation Day. And also National Leathercraft Day; and National Lemon Meringue Pie Day. I’ll take the latter anytime.

This city has been very quiet, although I had dinner last night at Sette Mezzo — outside — and it was very pleasant and quite busy with people coming back to town after the weekend.

Happy National Relaxation Day!

Today we are running a “sequel” to last week’s blind item about the very rich and prominent man, his mistress, and his daughter who asked him why he didn’t divorce his wife to marry her mother. This was a story about how the daughter unknowingly met her father’s wife, and how that affected everyone’s relationship.

In reality, the story is almost commonplace where the man is led into temptation by both wife and mistress (or longtime girlfriend in today’s lingo). I had a father who was neither rich nor powerful nor prominent who managed to pull it off for years until the “secret” came out. There was nothing scandalous about it since it was not known to anyone except our family. But it was the same old story: sex, love, and rock and roll make for complications. Usually it’s the man that the drama is “blamed” on, although the woman’s role is very often not far behind … as these stories attest:

The Road to Happiness is/or/and the Root of all Evil. A friend was telling me about a friend of hers. A well known name in New York. A widow. Who while traveling in Europe, saw a very handsome young man and said to herself: I gotta have it. So she sent her assistant out to meet the young man and arrange for an audience with Her. This he did. And on meeting she said to the handsome young man, my name is Mrs. So-and-so and I have a billion dollars and I want you to marry me. And if you do, half of everything I have is yours.

Okay. The young man it so happened, it turned out, was already married, and with children. Nada problem. A divorce was arranged. and the couple came back to America, had a big blast of a wedding with all kinds of wedding gifts, and lived happily ever after.

This was a few years ago. Now, says my friend, she is worried about him all the time. After all, she’s not getting any younger and he is still … well, younger. “Will he get a wandering eye?” she wonders aloud. “Has he already?” She had a face job. But a bad one: one ear lopsided, and the same for one eye. Not exactly younger than springtime, is it? Don’t forget the Everythings that money can’t buy. Now, more than ever, she is left wondering: “will he get a wandering eye. Or, has he already?”

What-I-Did-For-Love and What-I’ll-Do-To-Love Dept. A well known, popular society couple. He’s famous within his set for not being very nice to the ladies in his life, including, namely the previous wife. “A slap and a tickle, is all that the fickle male ever has in his head,” Cole Porter once wrote. Yeah, well with this guy sometimes it’s more of the former than the latter. When they married, the story going around was that they had a pre-nup where she had no claim on his assets ever, nada. And a few other things like no children. And a couple of other things too demeaning to repeat. In other words, nada forever.

So why did she? Her girlfriends all thought she was crazy. But she loved him, it is presumed; because you won’t meet a nicer person anywhere, and I’m not exaggerating. Now the story going around is that the couple are divorced. Although they’re always together, always. He’s been telling people. She hasn’t said a word, at least not to the same people he’s been talking to. At the dinner table, at a party, they’re a very agreeable pair and from the outsider looking in, it seems that he got the better part of the deal, no matter. But for some who have Too Much, it always feels like Not Enough.

The question always comes to mind: how long would any of these people put up with each other if money weren’t part of the equation? And the conclusion I have come to is: Probably forever. Money or no money, the decision to disregard the disser is a hard one to take, to come by, or live for.

Moving on the up the Avenue, there’s the marriage between the tycoon and another babe. Or a once-upon-a-time-babe (all things must pass, alas). He was a smart hardworking guy, long married, family, etc. About the time he started to hit it big, along came Sally (not her real name). In the flower of youth or youth’s flower. He took one whiff and fell. Many minutes later they are married and living grand, here, there, and in Palm Beach. He said to her: Four million is the limit for a house there. She said (something like): I’m not going there if that’s all I can have. Okay, eight, sez him. Well now we’re talking. After all. She’s brought him youth, that you can see. And he’s more successful than ever.

And so she’s livin’ and lovin’ the good life. Wouldn’t you? We don’t live forever you know. She likes a good party, and a few laughs and so do a lot of her friends. Many of the same friends also like a toot or two or three or twenty-two. You know what I’m talking about I hope. A toot. Blow? Cocaine? Cocaine. Runnin’ round in yer brain, cocaine … goes the song.

Now, they say, he doesn’t look so happy. He likes her but he doesn’t look so happy. I was sorry to hear that. The cocaine business. I’ve done lots of cocaine in my life, especially when I was in my mid-thirties. I’ve written about this before. I actually couldn’t stand the effect it had on me — more nervous than I already am, on edge — but I did it anyway which tells you a little something about me and common sense. In those years it was also a big sex drug. (There goes the common sense.) And we were much younger. Much. Now it’s a big headache.

So for me it never became an addiction thank God. Those who really get caught up in it have a much harder road ahead. Aside from the fact that you rarely if ever know what you’re ingesting, you can lose everyone, and everything, even yourself, in the process.

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