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Squid #19
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Ask The Giant Squid: On Fashion & Panic
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Can I wear flats (mary janes) with a calf-length shiny skirt? I'm shooting for the Saucy Young Intellectual About Town look, and I think I'm wearing enough black, but I simply could not bring myself to wear even a chunky heel with opaque stockings and a skirt this length. Many men of my acquaintance recommend knee-high black leather boots, but I suspect that's just a remnant of high-school erotic fantasies. Help me, Squid. You are wise in all things.

Ann Arbor

Well, my dear, there are many things that could be said on this topic. I have experienced many things these past few weeks, things which have disturbed me, and things which have allowed me an opportunity to reflect upon my life and my place in the world. I have progressed in a kind of information digestion which could be equated to your monkey tendency to "read." It has been a startling and sobering time and I have considered many things. And now I am back here, culling the questions and reviewing my circumstances and I believe that, though you may not realize it, this question has brought to the surface an opportunity for revelation and perhaps a renewed focus on what I believe to be important.

You see, your question has reminded me of something that Gloria Vanderbilt told me many years ago.

It was a simpler time, surely, and the age of Squidly subjugation had not fallen upon the world. My time in Hollywood had been brief, and I was living for a time in Daryl Zanuck's indoor swimming pool (often he and his portly daughter would flail in one end late at night as I slept and I would awake to think, for but a moment, that I was being attacked by Beluga Whales . . . there is a reason of course that you have never read about Zanuck's eldest, most rotund daughter. Quite tasty, for a Jew . . . HA HA HA).

Anyway, after Daryl and I made up I decided that it would be best for everyone if I moved on and found my own place. Seeing as how I was adamant about staying out of the valley, Daryl's personal assistant Ari put me in touch with Rock Hudson's people. It seemed that Rock had lost yet another butler to "personal disagreements" and that a position had opened. If I had been able, I would have jumped at the opportunity. Rather, I flopped a quickly drying tentacle into the air in approval and Rock's people were put in touch with my people and a meeting was arranged. With the help of Edward Teller and Leo Szilard's nephew, I successfully conceived and constructed an superaquatic-pressurized-velocitator. Essentially the contraption was composed of a steel and glass sphere which rested upon the chassis of a '53 Buick Century. With levers for manipulation inside the sphere and a prototype cold fusion engine designed by Dr. Teller and later bought by GM, I was able to easily make my 9:30pm dinner date with Rock at the Sands.

Frank was there, and Sammy, and Deano and they all eyed Rock with narrowed eyes. I was hurt that Sammy didn't wave, but what are you going to do? And then we discussed the position and I was excited. Rock was excited. He went so far as to run a heavy hand along the length of one of my hunting tentacles, and my skin was alive with colors as powerful as any to be seen on the strip that evening.

As we drank martinis and sucked on our onion slices, Gloria came up and sat at our table. We conversed about a wide number of subjects, including the possibility that Senator Kennedy might, through some amazing subterfuge, be attempting to procreate with a female other than his wife. I was shocked, and said so . . . pointedly I wondered aloud at the courage of the Senator to so lightly toy with the deadly wrath of his mate. Gloria laughed and patted my cephalitic sack cheerfully . . . I wonder what she made of the ultimate reprisal the Senator would receive some years later when his wife shot him dead in the back seat of their limousine-car as it traversed Dallas?

Finally, however, our conversation turned, as it might often in Hollywood, to fashion. Rock spoke at length on the woeful state of men's wear in the latter half of the Eisenhower administration. He mourned over the death of casual elegance and flair, and for a time stared sullenly at the narrow black tie that encircled his neck as a silk noose. But Gloria mocked him for his obsession with the surface of fashion. By way of explanation she told this anecdote regarding her thoughts on style itself.

"When I was younger I heard tell," Gloria said (forgive me, but this is a re-creation of the anecdote as best as I can remember it . . . Ms. Vanderbilt's peculiar wit and charm, I am sure, shall be lost at least partially through the filter of years), "of how the female-monkey stage-liar Jean Eagles would frequently come to the set of her newest cinematograph filming wearing a very particular and plain black jersey dress. Ruth Gordon, another such Hollywood regular, at one time visited Ms. Eagles at her domicile. Eagles came to the shelter-hole sheathed again in that very dress. Believing the situation to be fraudulent, Ms. Gordon queried: 'Do you not own any other dress?' Eagles replied: 'Come, see the hole in which I maintain my collections of textile-skins.' And they went up the stairs, deeper inside of the domicile and indeed Ms. Gordon was schooled: therein was an entire rack of dresses, all the same."

Rock leaned back and let loose a heartfelt laugh, a windy disturbance of the mouth and glottis. Gloria too opened her food-hole and exhaled uproariously. They both clawed at my tentacles, their teeth bared, their heads swaying to and fro as deadly kelp in a strong current, and in a panic I devoured them both. Dr. Teller and I worked very hard on the replicas that we later released the next day, but they were never quite as good as the friends I had lost to a moment's fear.

So, my dear Sarah, I say that you must control your body and your passions. And remember the lessons of dear old Jean Eagles: find something simple, comfortable, elegant . . . and then stick with it.

Yours truly,


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