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Well I Couldn't Help It


by Chris Okum


Stan Laurel stood in the corner of his living room and looked at all of the people who had come to drink his liquor and eat his hors d'oeuvres and said, "Not that any of you care, but I'm about to go into the bathroom and pluck out all of my pubic hairs one by one with this old pair of tweezers Myrna Loy gave me." Peter Sellers, who was busy chatting up Oja Kodar, Orson Welles' companion (Orson was in the kitchen making a four-cheese fondue [gruyere, fontina, havarti and Swiss], as Laurel's food offerings [deviled ham on white bread, potato chips, and dill pickles] were a little too de-classe for Welles' gourmand tastes) looked at Stan and did his best Stan Laurel impersonation, whimpering and boo-hooing and saying, "Well I couldn't help it," with such precision that it immediately cracked up all in attendance. It had been years since Stan himself had garnered a laugh so loud, especially with one of his trademark bits, and so he immediately became resentful of Sellers, even going so far as to silently wish Sellers' heart to give out, and the sooner the better. "I miss Myrna Loy," said Stan to the room, but no one was listening. Sellers was back to chatting up Kodar (he even placed his hand on Kodar's bare thigh to punctuate something he was saying about the differences between a Rolls-Royce and an Aston Martin and, how, when you drove both for a significant amount of time, as he had, you came to realize that the differences were basically negligent) and Welles was waddling around the room, offering freshly made fondue to the likes of Terry Southern, Betty Friedan, Melvin Belli, Paul Anka and Moshe Dayan (who declined to sample the fondue, citing an ancient Jewish custom he made up on the spot). Laurel stepped into the bathroom and locked the door. He grabbed the tweezers, pulled down his pants, and got to work plucking his nether regions. It was after the first pluck that Laurel remembered that it wasn't Myrna Loy who had given him the tweezers, but Clara Bow. "I miss Clara Bow," said Laurel. Then the toilet flushed and Laurel turned to see Charlie Chaplin zipping up his pants. "I miss her too, old chap," said Chaplin, "but there's no need to be so bloody dramatic about it."
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