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Hey, I'm Doris Day
by Karma Waltonen

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This is the face I make when I'm frightened!

This is the face I make when I'm frightened!
Dear Diary,

As I can hold nothing back from you, I hope you understand that spoilers inevitably follow.

1 April 1958. Clark Gable came into my journalism classroom last week pretending to be a student. If only I'd known he was actually the grizzled newspaperman who'd earlier refused to guest lecture—who'd called me an egghead and declared that teaching journalism was pointless! I never would have asked him to do a special assignment for me after seeing his first piece. (The special assignment was excellent, but now I know he had one of his newspapermen do it.) I certainly wouldn't have allowed him to join the table when I was out with my friend on his birthday after he kissed me in my office. (It's a good thing it's not a half-century from now, when I could be the one who got in trouble, even though he kissed me and even though I didn't know he'd be at the nightclub.) I was not brought up that way.

I probably shouldn't have let him kiss me again in the cab home, even though I have to admit I wanted him to. But the next day, I discovered who he really was when I went to the newspaper to try to get some of my TEACHER'S PET's work published. What a fool I was! It wasn't until I went over to work on my book with my co-author that I realized I'd been hasty. He has a PhD in psychology and he explained that it wasn't me personally that Clark was fooling—he was just trying to cover his insecurity about not having a high school education. If Clark hadn't made me realize that I shouldn't
It's really best to keep away from this guy, even if I get chalk on myself.

It's really best to keep away from this guy, even if I get chalk on myself.
have a shrine to my father and if he hadn't been forced to admit that I have good ideas, too, we wouldn't have gotten together.

This has really made me think about anti-intellectualism, the newspaper business, and the fact that it's really lucky that Clark wasn't my student after all, what with all the kissing and drinking. It's also made me feel damn gullible. Must make sure to be more careful in the future; I am, after all, America's sweetheart.

7 October 1959. I'm sure you'll remember how I was complaining about that rude man on my party line. (If this were Karma's diary, she would drop a footnote, but this, of course, is Doris Day speaking. Anyway, party lines are common in 1959—I share my phone line with a few other people. When I pick up my phone, someone else may be having his or her conversation.) This horrible womanizer was always playing the same song for every woman he seduced and telling each of them it was written for them. I wouldn't have minded hearing his PILLOW TALK so much, but he kept talking during my half hour. And when I sent someone from the phone company around, he just seduced her, too!

Then I met the nicest Texan man—unassuming, inexperienced, and so handsome! The womanizer on the phone kept telling me that this Texan was going to try to take advantage of me, but he didn't. After falling in love, I agreed to go off to the country with my Texan friend. Imagine my surprise when I find, at the piano, the very music that womanizer played! That womanizer
a party line

a party line
(Rock Hudson) and my lovely Texan were one and the same. Except that womanizer was never unassuming or inexperienced. Handsome, though.

If he hadn't come to my apartment and dragged me out of bed (still in my respectable looking nightclothes) and forcibly taken me to his bachelor apartment before proposing. . . I'm still kind of upset that the policeman wouldn't help me, even though I told him I was being kidnapped, but now that I know the womanizer only wants this woman . . .

Still, I have to learn to be more careful. That man was able to completely fool me—he even got me to be suspicious of his Texan identity—the better to show me the fake part of him wasn't faking. Wait, that's confusing. He made me wary of the Texan and it didn't even occur to me to be wary that the Texan wasn't a Texan. Can I really be in love with someone I've never really met (out of character, anyway), who, when I did talk to the real him, was a jerk?

I just hope that when we redecorate, we can get rid of the party line. I can't have him accidentally talking to the neighbors—still can't trust him completely.

3 March 1962. What does VIP cause? A hangover and an unplanned pregnancy. Oh, where to begin . . . Rock Hudson was my competitor in the advertising world. I knew he was violating our sacred code of ethics (even though I hadn't met him, I heard so many things . . .) and I heard about this VIP product. When I found the scientist working on VIP, he was so sweet, so adorable, so familiar, and
If he weren't so cute, I wouldn't be so crazy to keep falling for it.

If he weren't so cute, I wouldn't be so crazy to keep falling for it.
rugged. I knew I had to keep him safe from that awful ad guy.

And what happened? It's like I never learn—Rock was the ad guy AND the scientist! He was fooling me the whole time! And when I tried to show the advertising board, we had VIP and got inebriated and I woke up married to the mean lug. Nine months later, my LOVER [HAD] COME BACK. I'm just glad I don't have to raise this child alone; it takes two parents to make sure kids aren't eating the daisies.

I have the inkling that Rock is a bit of a hypochondriac, so I'm asking him to send me no flowers, which he tends to do when feeling fatalistic.

Is it my platinum blonde hair that makes me completely foolish, while I'm a target for every man who likes my figure in these cool 50s and 60s clothes? Why is it romantic for slimy men to give up their stewardesses for the woman who hates them? Why can't I learn from my mistakes?

At least I got away from Rex Harrison when we were married and he tried to kill me. Rock may impersonate other people from time to time, but he's not prone to violence.

2 October 1985. Rock is dead. I never knew he was gay, even though I knew him for decades. Still, I don't feel as betrayed as Karma's grandmother at the secrecy. Now that I think about it, it makes all those times he pretended to be someone else rather ironic . . .

16 May 2003. Just saw DOWN WITH LOVE. Loved it—I could really relate to it, but I just can't see how Renee Zellweger didn't see through Ewan McGregor's act sooner. What a chump!

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Mar 25, 2009 10:52 AM
[X] delete
Wicked column. It's nice to see some appreciation for the older films!! I absolutely adore TEACHER'S PET. I also love THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. Haven't seen PILLOW TALK though, sounds interesting!
Nice stylistic technique, btw. Columns like this are fun to read as long as it's not repeated over and over.
Mar 25, 2009 1:18 PM
[X] delete
PILLOW TALK is a must!
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is one of the greats; I agree.

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Comedies with Dr. Karma
Every other Wednesday

Dr. Karma discusses all things comic, from the classics to what may become classics. Laugh with, but not at, her, please.

Other Columns
Other columns by Karma Waltonen:

Goodbye -- Dr. Karma

The Dictator and Dark Shadows

Pirates and Whedon Movies: In Theatres Now!

A Touch of Cult

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Karma Waltonen
Dr. Karma is a silly, nerdy know-it-all, but in a good way. She brings all her overeducation to discuss that which truly matters: comedy. As some famous guy once said: “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” Or something like that.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Karma Waltonen by clicking here.

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