“The What-Not Column”

Artifact Type Labor Newspapers, Sources
Publication Minneapolis Labor Review
Number X107
Page Number 4
Place Minneapolis
Publication Date July 27, 1928
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Headline: “The What-Not Column”

If I ever hear of a theater where the ushers chew tobacco, use profanity and keep in physical trim by blacking patrons’ eyes I am going to buy a season ticket and be a steady attendant. I am thoroughly fed up on the saluting, bowing, kotowing, salaaming, backward-walking, ultra-courteous young men who go through bending exercises and almost kiss the tips of my shoe strings every time my wife and I step inside a theater. Some day I am going to forget they are simply carrying out orders from some higher-up and strangle half a dozen of them.

Some people may like to have a big fuss made over them, but I don’t. The Minnesota-Publix is the worst place—it seems to be overrun [with] gorgeously clad Adonises who start prostrating themselves in front of a patron as soon as he enters the door. The first time I went to the Minnesota I thought the ushers had mistaken me for the Prince of Wales or some oriental potentate. I expected every second they were going to start addressing me as “Your Royal Highness” or throw themselves on their faces and cry out, “Have mercy, Most Noble King of the Age, Sublime Ruler of thy People’s Destiny, Chosen One of Allah, Powerful Prince of the Faithful, etc.”

One fellow in [particular], did everything except strew roses in my path. When he was leading me to a seat he stopped every few feet, executed a smart about-face, and bent himself in the shape of a right-angle. When he had found me a couple of seats and bowed himself away in the semi-darkness, his final gesture of courtliness led me to believe he had gone to notify the manager I was in the house and arrange to have the spotlight turned on me while the orchestra played “Hail to the Cheese” or whatever it is they play when some celebrity is present.

I am now rather accustomed to receiving usher-homage, but I still long for the good old days when the ushers were ex-prize fighters who frequently grabbed patrons by the slack of their pants and tossed them out on the cobble-stones.

Archive Labor Review Archive Project
Read In Context http://www.minneapolisunions.org/labor_review_archive_about.php
Citation “The What-Not Column,” Minneapolis Labor Review, July 27, 1928.
Location MinnesotaSaint Paul
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