In Love With Everyone and No-One

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 30, 2012

Berkeley, Ca


It can be tearfully lonely to love everyone, but that is my unfortunate lot. In fact, I’m used to it — probably couldn’t change.

Is it cool to be in love with everyone?

Ask Eddie Bracken, the 1930’s actor for Preston Sturges’ stock company of characters. He starred in two of Sturges’ most successful films, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) and Hail the Conquering Hero (1944).

I met Bracken twenty years later, at the Traverse City Playhouse, one of those star-circuit summer playhouses, like the tented Chicago theater-in-the-round where he had last performed. He was probably in his forties, but looked more than a decade younger. He had great wavy hair. Mine was thinning, at going-on 21 that summer.

I was the press agent for the theater that summer. Bracken was doing a romantic farce for us, “Who Was That Lady?” based on a story that also was made into a film, starring Tony Curtis.

The owner of the theater, who took the title, producer, was Ruth Bailey, a former radio-star, who played on the vastly popular 1930s radio soap, Helen Trent. As a press agent, I found it easier to just call her Helen Trent, rather than to get into biographical research.

As I walked into her fake paneled office (it was just a trailer, but she did have her own)…as I walked into her office, I was smacked in the puss with her panties. I’d like to say I recall the smell. That would be a good touch. I could say, a dank smell.

I could almost recall her pulling them off and wondering what was happening.

There they were, though, the panties, sliding off my face.

The late 1950’s weren’t like that, except possibly the theater. In the summer of 1960 (I turned 21 that summer, and celebrated in a german bier-pub with Munchner and stuffed dear heads), women just didn’t throw their panties at me.

There was the case of the driven-mad Smith college volunteer stage-hand, who’s boy-friend’s confessional that he was in love with a guy named Ed caused her to have a breakdown — and a hasty hiatus.

I had two gay roommates, and didn’t have a clue. That’s how it was.


Eddie wanted me to drive him around the Grand Traverse Bay, and it was a magnificent ride, with the the white-canvas convertible top-down, and my blue-white tuck-in-row leather seats. The Chevy was ’55 and two-tone, white on blue. If only I had known how dear that car was.

I wish I had driven to Canada in that car to evade the draft, but instead I lost the car and went meekly into the navy. The year was 1963.

Eddie had just appeared in Chicago, in Finnian’s Rainbow. The 1947 Broadway production ran for 725 performances. Now he was next to me, eschewing the seat belt.

Eddie was not one for restraints. He said he was building a space-ship in his back yard in Hollywood, and I believed him, and decided he was just your typical Hollywood kook.

He sang all this: from Loving the Girl I’m Near, Finnian’s Rainbow

“Oh my heart is beating wildly
And it’s all because you’re here.
When I’m not near the girl I love,
I love the girl I’m near.
Ev’ry femme that flutters by me
Is a flame that must be fanned.
When I can’t fondle the hand I’m fond of,
I fondle the hand at hand.
My heart’s in a pickle,
It’s constantly fickle
And not too partickle, I fear.
When I’m not near the girl I love,
I love the girl I’m near.

I’m confessing a confession
And I hope I’m not verbose
When I’m not close to the kiss that I cling to,
I cling to the kiss that’s close
As I’m more and more a mortal
I am more and more a case.
When I’m not facing the face that I fancy.
I fancy the face I face.
For Sharon I’m carin’,
But Susan I’m choosin’
I’m faithful to whos’n is here.
When I’m not near the girl I love,
I love the girl I’m near.”

He sang all this convincingly, and I had to say he was right. I missed my girlfriend, but I was open to the moment. The moment didn’t come that summer. I missed an opportunity to judge the Miss Traverse City contest at the county fair.

I missed a lot that summer, but I caught the Eddie Bracken show, a personal appearance.


She was only 47 (I’m 73), and she was interviewing me for green-card potential. Could I sponsor her?

She quickly sized me up as one of those guys “who love everyone.” She’s heard it before, but it comes down to — unavailable, unable to commit; it’s my life, leave me alone. That’s when my recent love-life flashed by, in re-runs.

I was probably stoned.

I saw the scenes from my past six crushes. One was a belly-dancer, who gave me her card. She was really sexy.

Another was my dentist. I love her, and put her up at Urban Dictionary as Dentamatrix, someone who so hurts you that you fall in love.

Then there was the folk-singer. What an angel. Alas she’s taken, but won’t talk to me anyway because I used a word inappropriately.

Here’s the giveaway. I’m in love with all the workers at my dental clinic, and everyone at my health clinic. That’s because I’m old. I love a trip to the doctors.

I love men, too, only not in the same way, and the difference is trivial.

i’m a walking love machine, only I’m alone.

Small price to pay for loving everyone.

What! What can I say? I’m vulnerable, man.

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