The Book Thief?

Today’s prompt is What would you title the chapters of your autobiography?

Short answer: I wouldn’t write an autobiography.

Long answer:

In high school, there was a copy of Living it Up Or, They Still Love Me in Altoona by George Burns in our house. The book was published in 1976 when George Burns was 80.

One day I saw the hardcover book on the marble table in the living room. Another day I saw it on the dining room table. Another day I saw it on the radiator in the kitchen. Another day I saw it on the radiator by the front door. I’m not sure who was moving the book, but one day I grabbed it, read it and loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I brought it to college with me. (That’s my way of saying I stole the book.) After graduation, I brought “my” beloved book with me to Minneapolis where I carted it around for another 16 years to six different apartments.

A little about George Burns, in case you are young.

Besides being an author, George Burns was a famous comedian and actor with a Vaudeville background. He was one of those guys who seemed old even when he was young but he was so funny and charismatic that he appealed to all ages. Burns smoked cigars, had an invitingly scratchy voice and seemed to be perpetually squinting his eyes. At 5-foot-7, he was shorter than most men but had a personality that was so charismatic and commanding that he was cast as actual God in the 1977 film Oh, God!

Another important tidbit about Burns is that he worked well and equitably with his wife, Gracie Allen from the 1920s-1960s in radio, film and television.

A little about the 1920s-60s, in case you are young: Most women didn’t work back then, especially on the radio or on camera or with their spouse.

Moving on, Burns’ book is filled with stories and anecdotes about his professional and personal experiences including a whole chapter about his friend the comedy legend Jack Benny. Though it’s been decades since I read the book, Burns wrote that Benny was perpetually looking for a good cup of coffee. After Benny died, Burns said something about how he hoped his friend finally found a good cup of coffee in heaven. I’m paraphrasing. I can’t remember it verbatim but I will tell you the chapter left such an indelible impression on me that I think of Jack Benny and George Burns every single time I drink coffee. Every time! That’s good writing!

Only $36 USD! What a bargain!

Since reading Living it Up, or They Still Love Me in Altoona, I have read dozens of celebrity and political autobiographies and memoirs by people I respect (Barack Obama) and people I loathe (Ivanka Trump), and I’ve never been fulfilled by any of them! I first fell in political love with Barack Obama because he’s such a good writer but I still prefer the writing of George Burns over my favorite president. And if you must know, I’m straight up pissed at myself for reading Ivanka’s obnoxious Women Who Work – Rewriting the Rules of Success. But I cannot resist reading “guilty pleasures.” In other words, you can count on me to read Spare by Prince Harry.

But Burns’ book wasn’t (or isn’t) a guilty pleasure. It has old school class, wit and wisdom. It’s warm and unique. I’ll continue to read autobiographies and memoirs but I’ll never write one.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoying my coffee,


7 thoughts on “The Book Thief?”

      1. I suspect they are a novelty to you in the USA but here they still rule us and we contribute to their upkeep, their wealth. We even celebrate our national day as the day they claimed Australia. Bah humbug and roll on the republic!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

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