“WITHOUT THE LAMPSHADE-How I Learned to Love my Brown Martini,” by Jack E. Dunning is testimony to some 25 years of rampant drinking resulting in episodes that would defy even a carnival atmosphere.
During the period covered in WITHOUT THE LAMPSHADE, my expectations were that I would not live past the age of fifty-five based on the amount of booze I drank and the number of cigarettes I smoked. When I shared this with friends and relatives, and they saw me in action, they agreed. Somehow I made it to eighty-four and decided I was meant to chronicle these hilarious years of inebriation. Here is some of the fun and games included in my memoir.
Did you ever wake up under a chicken coop covered with overnight droppings? I have. Have you ever barbecued yourself on a hot stove? I did. Have you ever come home smashed, ending up the unintended clown for your daughters’ sleepover? I did. Were you ever so hungover you forgot your own name? I was. I once went with my brother-in-law for a haircut, an excuse to go to a bar, and lost him for three days. I almost fell off the roof of the Peabody Hotel, smashed, looking for the famous ducks.
During book publicity campaigns there are entertaining interludes with Ronald Reagan, Eddie Cantor, Harold Lloyd and Ruth Waterbury, who wrote the Louella Parsons column in later years. While working in television, I gave Elvis Presley a tour of our studios; he was curious because he would be on the Ed Sullivan Show the next week. And I had a three-martini lunch with Dorothy Parker.
WITHOUT THE LAMPSHADE – How I Learned to Love my Brown Martini is my tale of boozing through roughly twenty-five years of my life, performing some hilarious antics that defy belief. In a quarter century I made it my job, a career, if you will, to pursue hard drinking in lieu of becoming the typical working stiff. It was more important to get to the bar for the first drink than work late for advancement. But I was still lucky, mostly finding people and companies that drank as much as I did. I was a happy drunk that has one hell of an adventure to relate.