Despair: Mine and Roy Lichtenstein’s


December 20, 1991

I went to the Empire Diner on 10th and 22nd with Lucy for a holiday turkey dinner. Golly, she sure is pretty. We picked up her friend, Lynn, along the way who’s even prettier than Lucy. I was the meat in a hot, wealthy girl sandwich. Lynn is a self-described spoiled rich girl. Her parents have been divorced for a long time. Her father is an executive who confuses love with money. She knowingly manipulates him. She said all she has to do is turn on the tears and he’ll throw $500 at her.

Despite this, I found her charming and engaging with more self-awareness than most New Yorkers I meet. She’d never get involved with someone who wasn’t wealthy but I still thought she had a certain lack of pretense. She has a boyfriend in London but chases boys here in New York. Why not? She’s only 23, looks like, and is worth, a million bucks. Why settle down?

She asked me—a total stranger—what she could do to improve herself. I said read a book and she gave me a puzzled look. I didn’t understand until later but she was referring to cosmetic surgery. I think she was fishing for compliments or looking for me to validate the fact that her body and face are perfect and can’t be improved upon. They are and they can’t be.

She knew I was smitten and was toying with me. After dinner, while walking down 23rd street, she took my arm, told me her birthday was next week and playfully asked what I was going to buy for her. I asked what she wanted and she said, “Something expensive. Something from Chanel.” She’s like a living, breathing cliché. She’s a perfect physical specimen.

I got a surprise Christmas card in the mail this morning. The last time I heard from Sheila was back in October at the George Michael concert. We saw his “Cover to Cover” show at the Garden. He sang Fame better than Bowie. I liked Papa Was a Rolling Stone, too.

After the concert she turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said, “What do you want?” Asked it twice and made it sound like an accusation. I sat there in stupid silence and felt foolish. There’s no answer because I don’t think she has anything to offer. I didn’t call her after that. I hate confrontation and will do pretty much anything to avoid it. Her Christmas card said to keep in touch. It was kind of upsetting, to tell you the truth.

Klinger and I saw Denis Leary’s “No Cure for Cancer” at the Actor’s Playhouse. I had comps. He and I are a couple of sad sacks. We have no idea what to do with our lives. He has a little more direction than I do, but not much more. I asked how his investor’s party went and he said it amounted to a cast party with some bums that wandered in off the street, but no investors. He didn’t ask me for money, thank God. I told him I had to work and couldn’t attend out of fear he’d ask me to a contribution. I let it slip that I went out that night and had to scramble to come up with a plausible lie to cover my tracks. It was a cold, rainy evening. Blue Christmas.


Roy Lichtenstein
Est: $1,500,000-2,500,000
Sold for: $1,927,500


I didn’t see the arm and hand until quite some time after I stared at this. It wasn’t so obvious in person.




55 thoughts on “Despair: Mine and Roy Lichtenstein’s

  1. The picture in the post is rendered at lower resolution (300×225 pixels) to speed up the display of the post.

    Are the journal entries sequential. I seem to remember Lucy (or version of her) when you were tiring of her mannerisms – then again it could be my imagination.

    • I thought that pic was high res? I’ll have to go back and check. Thanks, very much, for your input. These journal entries are not sequential. I probably should’ve started out that way but I didn’t think I’d ever post more than one or two of them. Lucy tormented me for quite some time. As did many of them.

  2. I know this is 25 years too late, but you could have responded to Klinger’s request for money with “Come on, I can’t even afford to buy a birthday present for a girl I like”.

  3. Lynn sounds like an airhead and a prickteaser. She teased the hell out of your one I can see! Did she know you couldn’t afford an expensive present?

    Clever of you to put the sunset picture below the work of art. I know which one I prefer.

    • Of course, she knew I was broke-assed. Lynn was just playful is all. I don’t have any ill will towards her. I distinctly remember her pressing her breast into my arm. On purpose. You can hardly beer angry with that!

  4. I didn’t chuckle at all through this one. Seemed sad and true. Right on. Not chuckling does not mean not good. Thought this was really good and poignant. I really liked this, but didn’t find it funny. Just good and true.

    • Thanks, tons. I read them now with an amused detachment. My memory is so poor that I don’t remember much of this. If I hadn’t typed it out myself I would’ve said these were the musings of a total stranger. At least I was out there doing stuff instead of sitting at home every night. That counts for something.

  5. Ah the Lucy’s of the world, we should all suffer such first world problems!! she was the Human Lottery Ticket, you knew had no chance of winning the damn thing but you can’t win if you don’t play, so you played… i would have too…

    This entry is from exactly 2 weeks before my parents announced they were getting a divorce, Jan. 3, 1992 at 7:04pm… i attempted to watch a movie at the cheap theater at Southland with my girlfriend just to get out of the house, she drove me home and rode me in the back of her Mercury Cougar in my driveway while i stared blankly out the backseat window… there’s an old post on the lounge about it somewhere…

    • She was the Human Lottery Ticket and KNEW IT. It made her happy. It empowered her. She wasn’t unpleasant or bitchy. Quite the opposite. But she was super-high maintenance. I’ll bet she’s making some poor SOB miserable today.

      I lived walking distance from that theater. The Mercury. The circles aren’t so big after all, are they? They flattened it and my sister took one of the bricks.

  6. Do you have any idea what ever became of Lynn, Shelia and, Klinger? You really did meet some interesting people. It seems so strange to me how “forward” that’s putting in kindly, for brazen, women were/are in NYC. I never saw any of that in my small town waaay back when. But then, where I’m from is like Hicksville. I am fascinated and astounded by some of the people you write about. It’s like reading a book that’s on the verge of being salacious. I hope I used that word properly -haven’t written that word in a very long time. 🙂

    • If you spend a length of time in New York City you’re bound to meet some fun characters. Sadly, I don’t know where any of them are. I wish I did. That was such a long time ago. Sheila was a genuine southern debutante from New Orleans. She was another one who was looking for someone who could take care of her. I didn’t fit the bill. Maybe I dodged a bullet. Who knows? She kissed me and it was nice.

  7. Regarding the Lichtenstein, the first thing my eyes saw was the arm and hand. It reminds me of a Picasso but more disciplined and rigid like grid work. That’s what I like about Art, everyone sees something a little different. It shows how our minds are so complexed with making decisions.
    Regarding the journal, it reminds me of what guys go through to get some sex. We are all holding a numbered ticket, waiting for some girl to say, you’re the next lucky winner. Some fortunate guys ticket says “Complimentary Admission Always “. This is why prostitution should be legal. For guys who have no chance of winning.
    What a great sunset picture! Suitable for framing. I estimate $50,000-$75,000.

    • A disciplined Picasso is an excellent way to describe this piece. If you stretch your imagination a little more you can tell what Picasso was trying to achieve.

      The chase between men and women is the oldest one in the books. The rules are much different now because of social media but the endgame is still the same. It always will be.

      Thanks for your kind words about the photo. That was taken from my office.

  8. Women are psychologists par excellence and know they can wrap us weaklings round their little fingers, dangling the sex prize, and perhaps, something more in terms of a relationship. Why is it so monumentally difficult for men and women to get together? It’s so difficult.

    Erm…or maybe that’s just me 🙂

    • I think they inherit from their mothers the same way we inherit our predatory behavior from our fathers. The difficulty is that women want something in return and they are entitled to it. I certainly wouldn’t want my daughters giving it away carelessly.

      • Did you see those fuckers have banned looby? fucking asshole internet censors are curbing free speech!! i say we get Free Looby t-shirts, horribly inappropriate ones at that!!

      • What are you talking about?! What do you mean banned?? No offense to you or any other blog I follow but his was the one I made a point of reading as soon as he posted. Best writing/stories out there.

    • When i went to his site yesterday i got a message saying something about malicious activity and now it’s saying to email the site.

  9. “I was the meat in a hot, wealthy girl sandwich” HA! You really have had some fun liaisons, M…

    I quite like despair – it’s interesting but I wouldn’t hang it on my wall.

    Great shot of NY and the Chrysler building. Love that. I’d hang that up.

    • True, it was fun. But I could think of a scenario that would’ve been much more fun and memorable and made for a better post, to boot.

      Actually, I would hang Dispair on my wall. I find it easy to take and it doesn’t drag me down.

  10. I like how action progresses with each sentence. It is also “funny” that Despair is not the image we think of when we think of Lichtenstein.

    • Hello and welcome! You’re new. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated.

      Lichtenstein used bright and happy colors but his subject matter wasn’t always so. Ones of his most famous works is ‘Drowning Girl.’

  11. I love that you told her to read a book, it shows, somehow, that the you we know existed in that desperate boy.

    Don’t all artists steel? I like Lichtenstein, but not enough to have him on my wall.

      • You would, I’m sure, but you’re not naturally slimy. I’ve met hundreds of men who’d have answered her: ‘There is nothing that could improve on the perfection I see before me.’ Or words to that effect.

        URL is: but to get the blog you have to click on ‘Journal’ in the menu because I don’t seem to have set up the blog in the normal way and can’t work out how to.

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