“Vanity, Vanity….all is Vanity “, saith the preacher.

My interview with Charlie Rose.

How many times I’d rehearsed us.

Usually in the car, on I-90, heading home from a student recital hearing at the nearby university. Sometimes on my back, in bed, in the dark, staring up at the floater in my left eye. Always at the round table, in the middle of his cosmos.

Me, and Charlie. Talking about my work as an Off-Broadway playwright, Indy screenwriter, cult novella author; as poet laureate, portrait artist, scenic designer, symphonic composer, American humorist, children’s book illustrator, opera mezzo, Big Sky animator, political speech consultant, jazz cellist, touring pianist, Rockette (Rockette?!), character actress, pole dancer, neurological researcher, artist and scientist of unprecedented originality and challenging philosophy, the barber’s daughter. Yes; only our Charlie Rose would do, in this case. An interview with Charlie Rose, the King’s seal on a successful life.

I think it was that Italian actress with the rosebud lips and the short, dark wavy hair who’d set me off. Without warning, I became her – Isabella Rossellini – in my own head. So understated. So commanding in grace. The sheer power of my offering carrying me, the simple lines of my clothing bespeaking the finest of fabrics and weave, the complete absence of accoutrement. The casual presence that marks a person of superior value.

He’d peer at me with that keen squint of deep respect and fascination. I’d look off, letting my responses trail so as not to appear too taken with them. Every epiphanal one-liner that had come to me in the car, even those that never made it to the back of the greasy receipts in the dash cubby, would slide effortlessly from my golden tongue. Each chapter spun alone in the dark would find its place in the story segment designated for me in that one hour during which the entire Earth went static on its axis and Public Television and its charitable trusts rose again.

I’d be certain to spend most of the interview making very clear that my parents were the most inspired coupling of the Creator’s best day. His audience would be convinced that my birth was a moment which stopped time. I might touch on the caul, and the three psychics, and the sanitarium where my father was born, but only fleetingly so as to capture the attention of the smaller percentage of sensationalists taking a break from talk radio to tune in. Although it would be terribly tempting, I’d be sure to avoid blatantly flirting with him, though Toni Morrison had; she’d brought the flush to his face, and made the rest of us feel his vulnerability. None of that. More like Joyce Carol Oates, times ten. That would be just about right.

But, Yoda came to me, in a dream.

He spoke. “Entropy is strong in you.” And, something about hoarding, and living in a town that time forgot for fifty seven years. Erma Bombeck appeared momentarily, but her kitchen didn’t look anything like mine and then she morphed into Monica Lewis. Lewis. Not Lewinsky. Look her up. I wouldn’t do that to the President’s girlfriend. Not even in a dream.

It’s all Isabella Rossellini’s fault. She had to go and be so much prettier than me, and come from Italy itself. In delusion, pedigree is everything.

So, if you’re the praying kind, send up a quick one for Charlie. Intreat that he take his supplements, do short intensive workouts to lengthen his telomeres, and manage stress. Oh, and update your PBS membership. By my grandiose calculations, there’s still a solid decade left for us all to get something done, and none of it will be worth the bother if he’s no longer waiting at the table.




© Ruth Ann Scanzillo, insufferable narcissist, plays cello in the Erie Chamber Orchestra and teaches private string students in her home. She really has lived in Erie, PA her whole life, and considers Facebook her only true audience. This, of course, is all part of the illusion.

© 11/1/14

all rights reserved. Thanks.


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