Friday, August 15, 2008
R.I.P. -- L. RUST HILLS
As a teen dilettante during the sixties, I loved Esquire, the other men’s magazine, the you really did buy “for the articles” as boobs were not reliable parts of its editorial lineup. I vividlly recall turning the huge gorgeous pages of one issue and coming upon L. Rust Hills' quietly hilarious “How to Do Four Dumb Tricks with a Pack of Camels.” It was just perfectly funny, both measured and ridiculous. Then I started noticing Hills' pieces in other magazine and I have long cherished my hardback copy of his first collection, How to Do Things Right: The Revelations of a Fussy Man.
I didn't know before reading Hills' obituary that he nurtured and edited many of the terrific writers Esquire published in the 60's, but I still abide by a strategy he advanced in “How to Eat an Ice-Cream Cone:” When you're with a group of people who're getting ice cream cones, get chocolate chip. Chances are no one will ask you for a taste.