Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gatsby Week, Day 4: Getting Personal

It amuses me that more people than you would think arrive at this blog by googling the phrase “I’ll be the man on the corner smoking two cigarettes.” This, of course, is spoken by Daisy before the group heads off to the Plaza Hotel, but I never thought of it as one of the famous Gatsby quotations. Why is everyone searching for that phrase?

I just googled “man standing on the corner smoking two cigarettes” and my site came up second, after a post comparing Leonard Cohen to a guy in the X Files.

Here’s my original post with the quote:

“Shortly after I first met my current husband, we were making arrangements to meet somewhere, and he said, “I’ll be the man on the corner smoking two cigarettes,” and I said, “Huh?” He said, “That’s from Gatsby.” I was pleased that he alluded to The Great Gatsby, of course, but showing my know-it-all tendencies that perhaps should have warned him away, I said, “No it’s not. Who said that? Where?” and so on. Within half an hour, he faxed an excerpt to me complete with citation: Page 132, during the discussion that leads the group to ending up at the Plaza Hotel on that fateful day, Daisy jokes, “We’ll meet you on some corner. I’ll be the man smoking two cigarettes.”

“I never doubted him again…about Gatsby, at least, and together we’ve since watched the movie many times, watched various TV specials, forwarded links about Fitzgerald, examined Trimalchio—the published early draft of The Great Gatsby, driven to Rockville to look at Fitzgerald’s grave, stood in front of Fitzgerald’s childhood home in St. Paul, asked a friend to read the section where Nick talks about traveling through Chicago at our Chicago wedding, and, of course, endlessly debated and discussed the book, which we both read every year or so. Honestly, about the only thing we haven’t done is buy him a pink suit like Gatsby’s! But that might be a little obsessive.”

And just to make sure that from now on, my site beats out Leonard Cohen: man standing on the corner smoking two cigarettes, man standing on the corner smoking two cigarettes, man standing on the corner smoking two cigarettes. (No offense, Leonard!)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.