Thursday, February 22, 2007

Groucho's Father

The most verbal of the Marx Brothers once wrote in McCalls about their father:

"The notion that Pop was a tailor was an opinion held only by him. He refused to use a tape measure, which he insisted was pure swank and utter nonsense. It might be all right for an undertaker, but not for a tailor with the unerring eye of an eagle.

"He boasted he could size up a man by just looking at him. The results were about as accurate as Al Capone's tax returns.

"Our neighborhood was full of Pop's customers, easily recognizable by one trouser leg shorter than the other or coat collars undecided where to rest.

"My father never had the same customer twice, which meant being constantly on the prowl for new business. As our neighborhood became populated with men in misfit clothing, he had to find locations where his reputation had not preceded him.

"He was forced to go further and further to snare new victims. Many weeks his carfare was larger than his income."

Luckily for us, Groucho's raw material was words, not cloth, and his lopsided creations were intentional, to our great benefit.

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