Dan Rattiner's Stories

Mr. Boldface: Some of Us Are Boldface and Others Not So Much

My wacko friend is more of an italics guy.

The South O’ the Highway columns in Dan’s Papers and on DansPapers.com consists of short items about Hamptonites with boldface names. You might learn that Paul Simon made a surprise appearance at a fundraiser at the Montauk Lighthouse, or that Joy Behar from The View read the winning entries to the audience at the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction awards ceremony, or that Georgina Bloomberg won the Opening Day Grand Prix $30,000 Boar’s Head Jumper aboard her steed Paola 233.

I have often wondered why we give out just boldface names. There are some people who are just not boldface. Certainly, the steed Paola 233 is not boldface.

A good friend of mine, a really wacko guy I know who is hilariously funny when he wants to be, should have his name in italics.

And there are other people.

I want to break in here to note that practically all fundraisers—where the boldface go on Saturday evenings, always on Saturday evening—are almost exactly the same. There’s a big white tent. Someone at a table sees you are on the list. You get a wristband. You get your picture taken for the magazines that feature boldface people. You enter the tent, where there are cocktails and mingling and hors d’oeuvres.

There are tables set up under the tent to let you bid on auction items shown there. A baseball signed by a boldface name. Dinner with a boldface name. A condo in a warm climate you could stay at for a week, donated by a boldface name. A piece of jewelry worn by a boldface person. A painting made by somebody boldface.

After a while, somebody makes an announcement that the buffet is open. Then there are speeches given by a master of ceremonies who is a boldface name who introduces another boldface name who does a short performance. Then there is the appeal for money and an explanation of why you should give, an auction with paddles conducted by a boldface wannabe auctioneer and then dancing on a dance floor to the music of a loud band. Then everybody shakes hands or hugs everybody else and goes home with a goodie bag.

They’re all the same, same, same. They should be different. Let’s start with the boldface names.

There are people I know who are really shy and might only want themselves mentioned in a light grey.

There are people I know who are very self-absorbed and who should have themselves mentioned in CAPITAL LETTERS. And you shouldn’t even ask them if you should do it. They will have expected you to do it.

There are people who ought to have their names in red, most of them women with plunging necklines or men with a four-day growth of beard.

There are people who are complicated and should have their names in click-on-me-blue. Do it and it takes you to vast biographies and lists of honors and accomplishments.

There are people who are environmentalists and should have their names in green.

And there are people who are so filthy rich and proud of it that their names should be in gold.

There are lots of other opportunities here. There are some people who deserve to be in chalkboard or gothic or braggadocio fonts.

And some who ought to be highlighted.

You know who you are.

Once we’ve got this solved we can go onto the task of figuring out new kinds of fundraisers. I can see pole dancers, or mud wrestlers. I can see go-cart racers and roller derby ladies. I can see horses in brown. Baseball mascots in Big Bird costumes.

Good for you, Paola. Nice going.

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