(NOTE: If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember I got three pieces in the New Yorker in five months in 1998, then my editor Chris Knutsen, left, shortly thereafter, his boss Tina Brown. Outside of an ad for THE RINGER, June 1998 was the last time I was in the magazine. I tried many many times, but my stuff was suddenly “too broad” or “too edgy” or some other epithet that can mean everything and nothing. In mid 1999, I came up with what I thought was a beautiful premise, “James Brolin’s Thank You Notes,” written just after his wedding to Barbra Streisand. They passed. A month later, Tina Brown’s new glossy monthly, TALK, debuted. Steve Martin did the first back page humor essay, Christopher Buckley the second, and I had the third. By then, I had rejiggered the premise into “Ron Perelman’s Thank You Notes,” following his nuptials to Ellen Barkin. A year later, I finally met Tina Brown at an event I was writing on. I introduced myself and reminded her of my work under her at the New Yorker and the Ron Perlman essay. “I remember that piece,” she smiled, then sighed. “That’s the kind of piece I wanted to run in the magazine.” Of course, by then, TALK was in its second of three money-hemorrhaging, retooling years before it was shut down. I know people have their beefs with ina Brown, but she always got me. By the way, if you don’t get some of the references, it’s 15 years later, and neither do I.)
RON PERELMAN’S THANK YOU NOTES
Dear Mayor Dinkins,
This may not be appropriate for a thank-you note, but if you need a loan or a salary bump as a Revlon consultant, just ask.
Now that that awkwardness is out of the way, thanks for your incredibly thoughtful gift. Ellen can always use cigarettes.
Dear Mayor Giuliani,
Yankee uniforms! How did you know I didn’t have one, other than the fact that I’m over 50 and don’t want to look like an idiot when I go to a ballgame? One 50 percent polyester garment would have been plenty, but the road jersey was an unnecessarily extravagant touch.
And speaking of extravagant, thanks for your offer, but Ellen wanted to have our reception somewhere a little cosier than the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Dear Carl Icahn,
No offense, but I already have a couple of reconditioned Eastern 747s. And we all know what “reconditioned” means….
I’d be glad to answer both questions you raised in your “Spider Man says congratulations!” card now. No, your invitation did not get lost in the mail. And yes, you’re right, you weren’t invited because I was afraid you’d steal the centerpieces. Happy?
Dear Mr. President,
Thanks for the “Ambassadorship to Lapland.” Yeah, I get it.
Seriously, the Waterford crystal nut dish with the Dreamworks logo was inspired. Is VernonJordan still your personal shopper? He has a real knack. Maybe we’re under utilizing him here at Revlon. Which reminds me. Tell Ms. Reno to add a little more cosmetics experience on her resume if she wants to be the new “Charlie” girl. Vernon can help her make stuff up.
One more thing. Is it just me, or have you also had to beef up security since you stopped seeing Patricia Duff? Yeah, I’m sure it’s just me.
Once again, you’ve “Trumped” all the gift givers with your munificence. Would it be too much to ask for the receipt? Hope this isn’t a problem, but I would love to exchange the hand-tooled leather/platinum-clasped pre-nup folder for the titanium/lead-lined pre-up vault.
One more thing. You’re a bright guy. What is the deal with Al D’Amato? No job, one house on Long Island, and he’s getting nothing but premium tail. Can’t figure it out. Hey, if I could figure everything out, I’d have seized and leveraged Gillette by now.
Dear Steven Spielberg (and Kate),
Thanks, but really, what would I do with another island in the South Pacific? I’ll be honest, around all those palm trees, I feel short.
I’ve spoken with Ellen, and she’s going to pass on that role you so kindly offered. I guess at this point in her career, she’s looking for something a little more traditional than the mother who survives a concentration camp run by dinosaurs in outer space. I thought it was a lock. Guess I don’t understand show business, so I hope you’ll understand why I’ll have to pull my financing on that project. Have you tried hitting up Carl Icahn?
Dear Commissioner of Motor Vehicles,
I have received bounteous gifts from world leaders and dignitaries. I have had edifices austere and simple emblazoned with my name. I have bought, sold, rebought and resold the gross national product of several small countries in one day. I have banged more than my share of supermodels. But nothing, nothing comes close to the bottomless gratitude I feel when I look at my new drivers license and see my height “officially” listed at 5-9. I mean, 5-8 would have been the very essence of generosity, but 5-9? Ball players are 5-9!
If you heard I was crying during the ceremony, now you know why. God bless you! I’ve already won $50 million in bar bets.
To Bruno Magras, Mayori, St. Barts:
Thank you for clearing the entire population to the east side of the island last month. I don’t remember ever asking you to do this, but I admire your benevolent ruthlessness. Let me know if the French government is giving you any trouble. I’d be happy to move the entire fashion industry to Mexico and start making some real dinero.
In the future, please keep in mind that Ellen and I prefer to face South. She feels it’s her best side and I find that angle of the sun slimming.
Dear Michael Milken,
Junk Bond King? How about Gag Gift King! The minoxydyl roll-on – hysterical. The recipe for viagra chili – I’m on the floor. But the idea to break up Revlon, keep a billion for myself and use the rest to rebuild the infrastructure of East Hampton – let me catch my breath!
Thanks for the Waterford crystal nut dish. I didn’t know they let you make these in prison.
P.S. Gettin’ any? If not, let me know. I’ll have Dennis Stein put together a shiksa goody bag for you.
Dear Martha Stewart,
Thank you for so graciously supervising the catering. I don’t recall asking you to do it,but thanks anyway.
Two small things. First, I thought I made it clear I wanted to downgrade from Beluga to lumpfish. You lose $10 billion in a day, you make adjustments. I’m funny that way. Second, I really wish you had checked with me before you decided to break with tradition and, instead of rice, have the guests throw shredded Revlon stock options. I ‘d prefer not to go off on a honeymoon with hypertension. Again, I’m funny that way.
Dear Rabbi Shemtov,
Thank you thank you for the two blenders and two microwave ovens. And harvest gold! The same color as the two dishwashers you gave me when I married Claudia. Your sense of history knows no U.N.-enforced boundaries.
Your spiritual guidance and pious voyeurism of my sex life has been an unending source of strength over the years. I never thought I would marry again until the day you advised me to treat Ellen’s body double in “Sea of Love” as traif.
You are a great, learned and tolerant light among mere men. I’m glad you understood about not trying to valet park the Mikva-mobile.
Let’s have a shvitz before Sukkot.
Nice try, but I have checked with my attorneys and Rabbi Shemtov, so I am well within my rights to say, no, I would not like telephone tap logs and surveillance photos of Ellen and Puff Daddy as a wedding present. And besides that, the man’s name is Puffy, you out-of-the-loop harridan.
And no, I did not, as you filed in your last complaint, rig your cable box to play “Kramer vs. Kramer” four times in one day. TNT just does that. Speaking of which, why don’t you get the Fairfield cops to start harassing Ted Turner? He could use it. He seems happy.
And no, I did not name a Colorstay lipstick after you. Can I help it if someone in the creative department independently came up with a shade called Frisk Me Pink?
By the way, thanks for staying at least 500 feet away from the reception.