I don’t know why the sculpture of a bull was put up in Herrick Park. Is it to remind us of Wall Street, which also has one? Add a helicopter or a corporate jet while you’re at it. Better yet, and much more germane, a giant tick. A giant tick such as Peter Spacek, The Star’s cartoonist, draws from time to time, or one of Bill King’s angular aluminum sculptures that make fun of pretension.
One yearns at this time of year for the sun to set on pretension — the hype, the glitz, the frenzy with which summer here is cloyed. There was a time when “it” was over, really over, but now I don’t know. I remember some years ago the look an estivant gave me when I said that I lived in East Hampton. He hadn’t known, he said, that anyone actually lived there.
Yes, we’re here, and we have our squeezed-out tubes of Benadryl to show for it. But how can you follow Voltaire’s advice and cultivate your garden, as those wishing to lead a quiet life would do, when there are so many ticks? And, as Bob Schaeffer used to say, so much muchness. We must grin and bear it then, by which I mean we must tolerate the ever-growing madding crowd that seeks gilt by association.
Is the bull there because the village’s solons want to suck up to those with portfolios as big as the Ritz? I’ve always thought it was the other way around, that many of the well-heeled and celebrated actually yearned for authenticity, that they wanted to rub elbows with baymen. I haven’t forgotten in that regard the then-teenage Amy Frick’s recital of her family’s dietary habits to an inquirer from away in front of the East Hampton Cinema: “We have clam chowder on Mondays, clams casino on Tuesdays, clams Rockefeller on Wednesdays, clam pie on Thursdays, clams Posillipo on Fridays, clams oreganata on Saturdays, and baked clams on Sundays. All with Clamato, of course. And clam and cheese sandwiches for lunch.”
One of ours at a recent Zoom meeting said she often thought we plebes — some of us paper millionaires because of the real estate bubble, but plebes nevertheless — all worked, in one way or another, for the swell people, and that may be so — landscapers, tree men, carpenters, plumbers, masons, electricians, grocery clerks, hardware store clerks, bank tellers, exterminators, cleaning women, and weekly journalists.
But, as I was saying, it’s a two-way street. We’re all in this together, which is why I say that the sculpture of a tick, something to which we can all relate, something truly resonant of the human condition here, would be more fitting than a bull in Herrick Park.