The Lesser Half — who knows me too well — has suggested that The Loser should review Trumbo, a recent biopic that plays fast and loose with the facts of the Hollywood Ten and their ostensible black-listed leader. For, truly, you’d think this pitcher, despite its lineup of A-list actors, such as Helen Mirren and somebody named Brian Cranston, ought to have made an obvious target for my underachieving rage. But I was unable to stick with it long enough to reach, let alone surpass, my ten-minute rule. Frankly, I think we may need a new Black List. “Have you now or will you ever write unbearable crap for the pitchers?”
So, no, I’m not going to review Trumbo, about which the best thing I can say is that it whisked me back to memory lane: the salesperson from whom I purchased my first cell phone — a three-pound Ericsson that looked as if it had been constructed from Bakelite walkie-talkie parts — bore on his AT&T lapel badge the words “Josh Trumbo, Sales Manager.” I gaped. Trumbo is just not a surname one comes across often in the outside world, or ever. I asked him, assuming he must get this question — and the requisite chuckling delivery — a hundred times a day, if he could possibly be related to Dalton Trumbo?
“You mean Dalton Trumbo the screenwriter?” He said this as if any of several Dalton Trumbos might be indicated, along with a wide range of plausible vocations. “Yeah, that’s my great grandfather. Was. He died when I was about two.”
I gaped again. Seriously impressed, I babbled something about Gun Crazy and Spartacus, then apologized for prying. “It must drive you nuts to deal with this fawning worship all day long.”
He didn’t seem offended, merely surprised. “Wow, you’ve heard of that stuff? Cool. No, never, nobody asks me about him. I think this is the first time.”
I skimmed through the fine print of my mobile contract — incomprehensible jargon about “roaming” and “roll-over minutes,” and various other threatening phrases that, in recent years, seem to have disappeared from ordinary language. As I signed my credit card receipt I mentioned that I was also very fond of the — in my opinion — rather underrated Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.
“Really? The Pere Ubu song? Awesome!”
NOTE: I’m told the Cranston guy’s first name is in fact spelled “B-r-y-a-n.” Really? With all those hyphens? And that he’s the world’s greatest actor, which for all I know may be true once nine minutes have elapsed.