It's All In The Game
by A. Charles Corotis


It's All In The Game: A selected Collection of Gay Essays
on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Mnemosyne,
Assayed from the Provocative Pages of
New Jersey's Literate Review Weekly, The Argus

By A. Charles Corotis


Thoughts While Waiting for a Bellboy at the Traymore

The restless sea 
Rolls into shore, 
Cascades its spume 
Upon the beach, 
Retreats, leaves eddied 
Pools, ridged flumes

Leaves too the floss
Of shell and sherd: 
Wave-born debris, 
Molluscan casts, 
Minutiae tossed 
Onto land

Sandpipers snatch 
While glistening Inedibles:  
flotsam lie 
Wetly still

Grim flight for life: 
Dislodged, distraught 
Scurry in search 
Of haven, burrow 

No pity shows 
Old Pontius; 
He knows one thing, 
One only: ride 
Unceasingly those 
Frothy swells

To mundane cares,
Scornful of strife,
The surging sea
Pursues its own fixed

Prance by, brown steed 
On hard-pressed sands; 
Trudge slowly, man; 
Four-footed, two; 
Weighty, light matters 
Not at all

Aloof the sea; 
The elements 
Distract it not, 
Nor lure it from
Its resoluteness
Of purpose

Apollo's heat? 
Rain's beat? Alike;
Gulls' scolding cry, 
The whine of winds;
The sea spurns all 

Constant the sea,
Its foam-flecked spray
Kisses the strand
In soft caressing

Years come and go,
Life starts, life ends;
Disdaining all,
The sea rolls on, wave
After wave

Bow, puny man, 
Before the might 
Of Triton's main; 
Fume, rant, command, 
The sea "vet rolls; it 
Ever will.

On The Boardwalk

Through that whole week's sojourn in Atlantic City in early December I was in a poetic mood. Hesoid's memorable marriage of Uranus and Gaea never seemed more estimable. Caelion and Mundus seemed to join in a mammoth, color­ful, surpassingly beautiful extravaganza to delight the senses even of those less susceptible to sentience than I.

Often at eventide I sat in my beachfront room high up in the ornate Traymore, watching the Celestials parade their chromoscopic wares across the heavens: blues and golds, pinks and purples, every shade and nuance of all the primary colors reflecting in the vast dimpled reaches of the sea, smooth and calm as a softly painted pond except along the shoreline where it came surging onto land, row after lacy row.

Soon came the handiwork of mere mortals to embellish the twilight masterpiece of the gods. The curving line of amethysts along the boardwalk's edge vied with the majesty of Hyperion himself. Downshore the multi-chromatic curv-ings of the domed Marlborough, the white-lighted cupola of the Shelburne, in the distance the red Ritz-Carlton tower challenged the pale loveliness of Cytherea and Diana.

The resort's new blue sodium boardwalk lights had just been turned on, simultaneously with the brightly sparkling Christmas trees, and the blue and silver simulated light­houses erected to promote Atlantic City's centennial winked on and off coquettishly from alternate light standards.

They never had it so pretty down there.

The clime was balmy as late Spring. Saturday afternoon, after my responsibilities of running the realtor convention press room were discharged, Hazel and I sauntered out onto the boards and turned right around to return our coats to our room. It was shirtsleeve weather.

Trunks-clad men did calisthenics on the beach, one or two even ventured into the surf. Jauntily erect, eyes straight ahead, a bearded character who might have been a disciple of Bernarr McFadden paraded the Walk in shorts.

Later, lazing in a roller rickshaw, we window-shopped from that moving—and safe—vantage. So delightful was the day that even natives came out: an interesting foursome com­prised Max Malamut, owner of the luxurious Shelburne; his son Lewis; Joe Hitzel, the hotel's manager; and Sammy Schor, my newspaper pal who is living there. We enjoyed very much our brief chat with them.

A night or two before we had been at the Shelburne, guests of Fidelity Union Trust Co. of Newark at a glossy little reception and dinner they hosted in the lush Mirror Room of that plush hostelry, and it was one of the social high spots of the convention. There is no better food or more elegant setting for it anywhere than Max's hotel, and Fidelity V-P Ben Leonard, George Johnson and Fred Berry did it up right.

Conventions, of course, are highly social affairs anyway. Par for our course is about six cocktail parties and room soirees a night. Then, in addition to the Fidelity dinner, we had the past presidents' dinner-dance, with huge silvery cornucopiae pouring festive foodstuffs onto the buffet tables —I stuffed myself into stuffiness—and the gala banquet with its dramatic notes heightened by Ronco's flaming Cherries Jubilee and the lighted march of the waiters in the darkened American Room, and our own clubby little press dinner featuring lobster Newburgh and baked Alaska, so that few evenings were left for visits to famed shore restaurants like Hackney's and Starn's, Bishop's and Phillips'.

One of my rare ventures from home base was to the air­port with Art Van Winkle to meet Fritz Burns, the fabulous developer recently profiled by Life, who planed in from Los Angeles to report on the realtors' Build America Better program which he heads. Art didn't know Fritz, wanted some­one along who did.

This is one convention that goes in strongly for speakers-more than a score of topnotchers, ranging from Elmer "Siz­zle" Wheeler to Georgia's fiery Congressman Bill Wheeler, from FHA Commissioner Guy Hollyday to Governor-elect Bob Meyner, addressed the 1953 edition.

Before returning home Sunday, we ran down to Wild-wood for the testimonial dinner given Lou Gould by Beth Judah Temple for twenty-eight years of devoted service as secretary. Lou took the job in 1925 when his late father was Temple president, has been at it ever since.

Some men seem never too busy to give unsparingly of their time and vitality. Lou also is secretary of the Wildwood-Cape May County realtors, vice-president of the state asso­ciation, active in many capacities in addition to running a big and highly successful real estate business, with assists from his lovely wife Yetta and their handsome son Phil, youngest ever to receive a salesman's license in New Jersey.

It was a gay affair graced by the presence of several from Lou's and Yetta's families, including her father Joseph Balasny, one of the Temple's founders who was given a similar fete some time ago. Here truly is a remarkable man, eighty-five and as sharp and full of life as one half his age.

Hazel expressed what was in both our hearts as we drove home. "There are so many wonderful folks in this world," she said.

There are indeed.

Noel in New York

The Big Town was at its splendrous best this holiday sea­son, and so was Newark, the golden web spun across Broad Street putting to shame such relatively tawdry exhibitions as Camden's.

Manhattan's magnum opus, of course, was the five-ton Norway spruce, bedecked in sixty-five hundred sparkling electric lights and as many twirling dazzling aluminum icicles, rising seventy-five feet skyward from the skating rink and sunken gardens of Rockefeller Center.

Up Park Avenue from 34th to 96th marched scores of bright, stately sentinels: memorial Christmas trees honor­ing for the ninth year America's war dead. The shop win­dows on Fifth Avenue seemed more elaborate this year, too, paced by Lord & Taylor's cloud-billowy angelic realm.

Gentle music vied with the glittering lights. No fewer than ten choral groups sent their harmonic gems caroling through the vast marble and buff-pillared reaches of Grand Central Station, the terminal-temple in French Renaissance that encircles Park Avenue. It was quite an experience to walk off 42d Street through the monumental triumphal arch surmounted by forty-eight-feet-high symbolic statuary into this goliathic structure, to be met by a crescendo of vocal and organ music, seasonally sweet, swelling past the light-shafted, dome-like windows all the way up to the star-stud­ded vaulted ceiling, lights shining softly through the con­stellations.

The Savoy Room of the Savoy Plaza offered seven church choirs for dinner music during the Christmas season, and out on Fifth Avenue, Wallach's coach drawn by two prize white steeds braved Gotham's omnipresent congestion to add a Pickwickian touch to the festive fortnight.

Enchanting, fabulous, Babylonish Baghdad on the Battery.

Success Story

The big fellow with the portable mike came to the table at Weinman's in Trenton where Herm Ringle and I were having lunch. It was during the 1949 gubernatorial cam­paign, and in the course of the interview he asked me who my favorite client was.

"Governor Driscoll," I shot back without a moment's hesitation, and went on to use the opportunity to throw an election pitch for friend Alfred.

What gave me a particular charge out of the incident was that Trenton station WTTM, which was broadcasting the program, then was owned by Elmer Wene, Driscoll's opponent in the campaign. I thought of all that the other Tues­day as I watched the antics of Ernie Kovacs on my telescreen, coming through the mighty CBS TV network. My interview­er that day in 1949 was Ernie Kovacs.

Battle of the Sexes

Ross at eight is having woman trouble. His special problem is Ann, one of the Gibson girls behind us on Maple Avenue.

I couldn't help overhearing, one recent evening just be­fore dinner, this conversation:

"Ross, you hurt me. You're always hurting me."

"I'll keep hurting you as long as you keep kissing me."

That's my boy—I mean, is that my boy?

"You hurt me in the store today. You threw me down."

"I told you a dozen times if you didn't stop kissing me I'd do something you wouldn't like."

"You don't hurt Barbara."

"She doesn't kiss me."

Wait'll I show him this—ten years from now!

"You like Barbie better—you sat next to her riding home from the store."

"I sat next to you going to the store."

"Why wouldn't you sit with me coming back?"

"Because you tried to kiss me."

This amazing dialogue—amazing to one who certainly never had to strike or shove girls to keep them away from his lips—had an epigrammatic epilogue a few minutes later.

Ann slipped up behind the chair where Bruce was clean­ing his shotgun, put her chubby little arms around his neck and planted a resounding buss on his cheek.

"Look, Ross," she said, "I'm kissing your brother instead of you."

If she thought that little bit of coquetry would arouse

Ross' jealousy, she miscalculated the depth of his juvenile and-I   trust- temporary misogyny.   Without looking up from Michael Gorham's Real Book About Indians, he snorted: "Let's keep it that way." Such troubles I should have.