What do you do for a living? It’s a fairly innocuous question asked at parties (and tax time) that, for most of us, brings a straightforward response: “I’m a [blank].” But what if there’s no short answer — if you roam many fields and, out of megalomania and perversity, call yourself anything and everything under the sun? In short, what if you were Salvador Dalí?
Take a brief timeout from your own work to watch the shamelessly self-promotional proto-Warhol’s 1952 appearance on What’s My Line? — where blindfolded panelists try to unmask his identity. Dalí answers in the affirmative to nearly every question — yes, he writes books, does sports, and can be considered a leading man. As this unbounded self-definition draws howls of laughter from the studio audience, a frustrated Arlene Francis finally throws up the Hail Mary question: “Is there something quite unusual about our guest?” In the words of Groucho Marx: You bet your life.
This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.