a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A dinner party, Amanda style

“He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh," Koran

By: Amanda Gillooly

The question: If you could invite five people – alive or dead – to
dinner, who would you choose? is such an icebreaker constant, that
it’s almost cliché. Despite its overuse in “getting to know you”
situations, I’m still interested to know who would get the invite.

In my experience, most people ponder for a moment before naming Jesus to their list of guests. After that, they generally choose an intellectual like Shakespeare or Hemingway.

Huh? Not me, man. I plan on kicking it with Jesus one day, but I
wouldn’t invite him to dinner. And for as much impact as Shakespeare and Hemingway have had on literature, I just don’t think either gentleman would think my dinner party was worth their time.

Because the beer would be flowing like water and above all things,
there would be laughter. Lots of laughter.

Don’t get me wrong, I read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays and find the man profoundly inspiring. But compared to, say Conan O’Brien, he might seem a bit dull sitting around my table. I just can’t see Emerson chugging a Blue Moon or asking if anyone wants more potato salad.

And as much as “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke teaches me something new about life everyday, I just don’t think he’d be able to get me to snort some sort of liquid out of my nose.

Maybe I’m shallow, but I want people around my table who are
intrinsically funny. I’d like to eat a nice steak with people who can
tell a good story. Hey, it’s just me.

So here are my picks, in no particular order:

1. Conan O’Brien. He’s a longtime comedic hero, and one of those rare people you can just tell was born to make people laugh. And I don’t think I’ve seen anyone able to break someone out of his or her shell with his efficiency.

2. Chris Farley. Do I need to say more?

3. Stephen King. While others call his work “bubblegum fiction,” I
wholeheartedly disagree. I think the true measure of a writer may be
his ability to create characters you grow attached to, and to tell the
kind of story that draws you into its world and keeps you there for a
while. And after reading his part-autobiography, part-writing how-to
book “On Writing” I’m sure he’d provide enough colorful tales.

4. Neil Young. I have to meet the living legend that he is. I’m not

5. My grandmother, Peg Crowe. She would round out the five, because I think it would be funny to see her make all those guys blush with her, um, colorful stories.

So I guess the question is, who would you want to spend the night with around a dining room table?


Scott Beveridge said...

1. My friend Mary
2. Jimmy Carter
3. Mohammad Ali
4. Joan of Arc
5. Ho Chi Minh

Brant said...

Groucho Marx
H.L. Mencken
Elvis Costello
Thomas Jefferson
P.G. Wodehouse

Monique Ringling said...
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