Columns » Bob Lancaster

Thinking it over

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TV commercials (eBay, J.C. Penney, Nike) got me thinking about it.

The thing about it is, you never know where it will lead.

For instance:

It can be a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A long way to Tipperary. A jungle out there. None of your business. Magic. A miracle. A boy. That time of the month. Crying time again. A mad mad mad mad world. A small world after all. A wonderful life. You, in a game of tag, if you get tagged. The real thing. The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Howdy Doody time. One two three strikes you’re out at the old ball game. A slow news day, obviously. Only a paper moon. Only make believe.

But it ain’t necessarily so. Over till it’s over. Over till the fat lady sings. Me babe. Rocket science. Easy being green.

If it ain’t broke, the rule is, don’t be trying to fix it.

But don’t let it bother you.

Cousin Itt (the added “t” was an affectation) of “The Addams Family” had an IQ of 320, but only when he had his shoes on.

It’s often hard to define, but you know it when you see it, as in this quotation from a Dominick Dunne article in the current issue of Vanity Fair: “I have to give it to her. What a great regal attitude, not one of arrogance but of sheer, beautiful strength. It takes you back to Scarlett O’Hara. … It’s not celebrity, it’s not wealth, it’s just … it.”

It beats all. Including a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

It can make you sick, make you proud, make you wanna shout, make your ass want a dip of snuff.

It turns out there’s a vast amount of room in that tiny space between the “i” and the “t.” The preceding sentence fits in it. The entire internet fits in it. With room left over for every investment you ever made and every penny of the interest you earned. And every known musical instrument. And all things innocent, indecent, and illicit. And an idiot. And by way of internment and interment, all of our convicts and all of our stiffs.

The complete introduction to each new episode of Monty Python”s Flying Circus was the announcer saying “It’s…”

Some of us oldtimers remember that Clara Bow was the It Girl, but few of us remember why, if we ever knew why. It wasn’t because she had it, or was it, or showed it off especially. It was because she was the star of an otherwise forgettable 1927 movie titled “It.” So the proper reference would be to the “It” Girl.

It was of the It Girl, incidentally, that it was said that the entire UCLA football team one time got some of It.

All that Bruin scoring supposedly happened on the same night, but the it of the movie “It Happened One Night” was some other kind of it.

It was one of the three main characters in a book titled “I and Thou,” by the religious thinker Martin Buber. I and Thou were the other two.

I’d share a quotation from it about It, having just reread it for that very purpose, but I’m either much dumber than back in my know-it-all undergrad heyday, or the thing is just gibberish. Reinhold Niebuhr hails it as a masterpiece in a cover blurb, so I guess the fault is mine. Anyhow: I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. I didn’t understand a word of it. (I might note that the two sentences preceding this one — and this one as well — are also contained in it.)

It’s what’s up front that counts referred to Winston cigarettes, at one time the only brand that to cool cats was certifiably it.

It’s the old man that’s snoring, but what is the it that’s raining and pouring? What is the it that rained all night the day I left when the weather it was dry?

What is the it that takes a thief to catch?

What is the it that takes a man to be a dad?

What are the two its that tangoing takes?

If it might as well be spring, would you say spring takes two to tango?

Witt had it in him but Jack didn’t.

It’s the soul of both brevity and wit.

If it’s all the same to you, when somebody says to you, Have a nice day, do you reply by saying it?

“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you.” I might, depending on what it was.

Prefatory shushing turns it to excrement, a notorious literary instance of which is Jonathan Swift’s rhyme admitting mortification at the thought of his sweet little childhood sugar-and-spice sweetheart going potty.

It’s not easy to lose it once you’ve got it, but if you do lose it by being so consistently obviously overmatched and finally unable to put on a believable act of even giving much of a damn, there’s very little chance of your getting any more than 30 percent of it back.

Anyhow, it’s something to think about — the elusiveness of it, the elasticity of it.

Let me think it over.

Maybe sleep on it.

That’s it.


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