A few words from HST, part 6

This passage, again from “The Temptations of Jean-Claude Killy” (1970), I’m posting just because it made me laugh out loud. We can always use that. It takes place at a car show in Chicago and features a cameo by O.J. Simpson, then an NFL rookie.

Jean-Claude makes his pitch for Chevrolet every two hours on the button: 1–3–5–7–9. The even numbered hours are reserved for O.J. Simpson.

Barker: “Tell me, O.J., are you faster than that car over there?”

O.J.: You mean that groovy Chevrolet? Naw, man, that’s the only thing I know that’s faster than me… ho, ho….”

Meanwhile, slumped in the folding chair near the Killy exhibit, smoking a pipe and brooding on the spooks in this place, I am suddenly confronted by three young boys wearing Bass Weejuns and Pendleton shirts, junior-high types, and one of them asks me: “Are you Jean-Claude Killy?”

“That’s right,” I said.

“What are you doing?” they asked.

Well, you goddamn silly little waterhead, what the hell does in look like I’m doing? But I didn’t say that. I gave the question some thought. “Well,” I said finally, “I’m just sitting here smoking marijuana.” I held up my pipe. “This is what makes me ski so fast.”

Their eyes swelled up like young grapefruits. They stared at me — waiting for a laugh, I think — then backed away. Five minutes later I looked up and found them still watching me, huddled about twenty feet away behind the sky-blue Z-28 Chevvy on its slow-moving turntable. I waved my pipe at them and smiled like Hubert Humphrey…but they didn’t wave back.

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