It's All In The Game
by A. Charles Corotis


It's All In The Game: A selected Collection of Gay Essays
on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Mnemosyne,
Assayed from the Provocative Pages of
New Jersey's Literate Review Weekly, The Argus

By A. Charles Corotis




Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo, 
Catch Corotis by the toe, 
If he hollers let 'im go; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

But, from Eeenie Richman, whoa! 
This Corotis so-and-so 
Never was a crying Joe; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Meenie Alexander: Oh, 
Sometime everyone eats crow; 
Kick 'im where the scars won't show; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

You mean, Meyner all aglow, 
Let 'im have it down below? 
Goody; Archie, you're a doe; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Ring-around-a-rosie; lo, 
Hand in hand they do-se-do, 
Singing whoops and hi-de-ho; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Vital business? Heavens no! 
Let affairs of State go blow; 
We've some seeds of hate to sow; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Slap 'im high and smash 'im low, 
Beat 'im out of all his dough; 
Watch us make his troubles grow; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Tell his clients, let 'em know
Old Corotis is our foe; 
We insist he's gotta go; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

But no buts; our course you'll row, 
Discontent you'd better stow; 
We're real brutal, awfully so; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Oh, we're fearsome; clever, though,
Each a bright politico 
With ambitious rows to hoe; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Watch us brew a stew, steeped slow; 
Curds and sherd stirred to and fro, 
Nails and snails and tales of woe, 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Round about the cauldron go, 
In the poisoned slanders throw, 
Dragon's scale, newt's tail, toad's toe; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner mo.

Lizard's eyes and lies next flow, 
Potion vile, the while we grow 
Into men of stature quo; 
Eenie, Meenie, Meyner Co.

"For Pete's sake," protested my exasperated roommate in 768 of Washington's Statler Hotel, "will you put down that pencil and put out that light and go to sleep?"

"My friend," I told Leon Todd for it was indeed he "my friend, I feel too good to sleep."

"And what, may I inquire, is the reason for such unaccustomed happiness?"

"It is the sweet solace of good companionship that soothes and succors men's minds. Here I am far from the ozostomic atmosphere of the State House. For a whole week. I can forget that mental minor Meyner and his jackal janissaries and mingle with gentlemen of gentle discernment. It is a pleasant feeling."

"Then go to sleep and dream about your joy."

"You know I don't dream. Never in my whole life have I experienced the briefest visit to dreamland. I am one of those rarities who doesn't revel in reverie."

"Then just sleep. It is now 3 a.m. In exactly five hours Room Service will come tapping at the door with my eggs and your kippers ugh, those kippers and we have a busy day ahead of us. And this evening Leon and Helen Raesly are taking us to dinner at their club."

"I know and I am looking forward to it. And you know I am not normally an insomniac. But right now my mind is wrestling with the contrast between those mental midgets in Trenton those psychicecdysiasts and real men like Bob Gerholz and Paul Guthery and Marty McGrath and Bemis Lawrence and Walter Dayton and Walter Graves . . . ."

"Fine gentlemen indeed, but I am tired and I am sleepy and I found the Sassafras Room of the Old New Orleans tonight somewhat less than stimulating . . . ."

"The Zazarac Room. And how could you imply that it was dull with Fernanda Montel purring those provocative chansons your way?"

"Mile. Montel may be internationally famed for her glamor as they claim, but she repelled me because of the thick coat of glistening oil with which she greased her body and I could not understand her songs because they were in French and I didn't think she rated a $3 cover charge. Neither did I think the oysters Rockefeller were worth $2.25 or the lamb chops $4.50 or the cocktails $2 each."

"Come, come, my engaging friend, it is not like you to concern yourself with price. And remember, this is my birthday anniversary and you wanted me to enjoy this festive occasion which after all cannot be repeated too many times more, and I found my escargots Bourguignonne tasty even if they did cost $2.25 and my pompano en papillotte good even at $4 and the crepe Suzette satisfactorily flamboyantly aflame for $2. Count your blessings: we could have eaten Carre d'Agneau at $11 or Chateaubriand Maison at $12."

"All right, so it was a nice evening and I enjoyed being your host on your birthday. But now I'd like to enjoy what's left of the night in the rejuvenating repose of sleep."

"You are so right. But when I think of that solipsist under the guilded dome breathing fire like Typhon, piling Ossa upon Pelion, I am impelled to set down my thoughts on paper lest by morning they elude me."

"That what's-ist doing what?"

"Solipsist. You know, Mein Meynheer Meyner with the vanity of Narcissus, certain he is the only truly conscious being in the whole world, that he governest this universe by mandate eternal."

"He certainly brings out the classicist in you."

"He brings out the disgust in me. Here is a small-town political hack with a mind to match, beaten for the legislature in his own rural Democratic county after one dismal, non-productive term, who unexpectedly finds himself in a big job by the flick of fate and the dictation of a letter, and he thinks he's to the manor born. He fancies himself one of the ancient Roman censors, with power to weigh others' actions and mete out punishment by his captious, capricious likes and dislikes."

"Patience; the days of his rule are numbered."

"Even if I had the patience of Rusticus . . . ."

"Of who'sticus?"

"The philosopher Rusticus. You remember old Rusty. He was put to death by Domitian for his attacks upon the despot Nero. Even had I his patience I couldn't sit silently while Meynheer Meyner dissembles his misused power, perpetrating the grossest impostures and impositions in the blindness of preconceived notion while his sycophants fawn upon him and devise new refinements of adulation which he embraces greedily, so overpowering is his ego."

"Whew! But what does it get you to let him molest your sleeping hours?"

"Alas, I have no pitch-pipe like Licinius to serve as an antidote to my distemper and lull me into soothing slumber, even though I know this peevish, petty regime will dry up and perish with the want of wit. What was it St. Augustine wrote: 'Fools dwelling in darkness, wise in their own conceit and puffed up with vain knowledge, going round and round, staggering to and fro like blind men led by the blind.' "

"Is that what he wrote? But you can't say he was incited to it by Meyner; he didn't even know the guy."

"No, and had he, he'd have done better. Indeed, Bacon might very well have known Meyner when he observed 'this very littleness of spirit comes with a certain air of arrogance and superiority.'

"To what low estate has our chief magistracy fallen! Shades of Al Driscoll, of Walter Edge. Wandering and straying as they do with no settled course, Meyner & Co. fetch a wide circuit and meet with many matters, but make little progress. Instead, they plant new standards in the immeasurable circumambient realm of nothingness and night, looking fearfully towards all the thirty-two points of the compass. Such is the melancholy condition which prevails."

Genteelly jarring sounds from the plush pallet across the wide room told me I was talking to myself.

From the radio came the soft strains of "Let Me Go, Lover." I switched on the television and there soon intruded into the background Muzak the bouncy rhythms of Georgia Gibbs' energetic record being spun by the disc jockey on Channel 9.

"Tweedle-de-dum, tweedle-de-dee," cadenced Her Nibs into my tympanum, and somehow it came out of my pencil "Eenie, Meenie, Meyner Mo."

I'm afraid there was a beatific grin on my face, sadist that I am, when finally I dropped the pencil and switched off the light and drifted off into somnolence.

A few hours later while I was drooling over my much-loved kippers and Leon was trying to keep his eyes averted from the unappetizing sight and on his pullet-sperm, I read him my nocturnal odinic ode.

"Remind me," he said, "never to pick a fight with you."

"I cannot help my outspoken forthrightness," I protested. "Blame it on the stars. Bing Crosby explained it all Friday night."

"Bing Crosby?"

"Yes, I listened to his radio program and he was talking about history's greatest stirrer-upper, that creator of controversy and inherent revolutionary, the essayist Tom Paine, whose stubborn sense of outraged justice and vitriolic pen had him exiled from his native England, imprisoned in the America he helped free, sentenced to the guillotine in the France he helped to arise. We Aquarians who are born on the 29th day of January just can't help being that way, it would seem."

"You could try, couldn't you? Must you speak your mind on everything?"

"Alas, I fear 'tis so. You, Friend Todd, may be my Callimachus and paraphrase the epitaph he wrote for Timon:

Timon, the misanthrope, am I below; 
Go, and revile me, traveler, only go.