My gifted and talented younger sister, Rita, greatly surprised me when she telephoned to say that she was taking me on a luxury Mediterranean cruise with land excursions to some of the most historic and beautiful sites in Europe.
Pat, my wife, was unfortunately not included obviously due to the huge added expense. It would be awkward to leave Pat behind, but how could I not accept this trip of a lifetime from my now beloved incredibly generous sister?
My mind immediately raced to the implications of the short-notice trip. The cruise wear from a dated Alaskan cruise was not suitable for May in Barcelona if it could even be found. Then, too, I’d need immediate airline reservations for the flight from Charlotte to Miami in order to meet Rita for the transatlantic flight. The grand tour was to begin in less than ten days!
Rita waited a few smiling seconds as my excitement peaked before she explained the crucial caveat. I would not be making the trip in person. I would be traveling as Flat Monty. Totally confused, I had to ask, “Who the hell is Flat Monty?”
Being technology challenged, I was unaware that photo cutouts of me could be creatively positioned in front of a camera phone so as to give the illusion that I was present at some remarkable place or circumstance.
The photos of Flat Monty that Rita later produced on her grand tour have been captioned for the sake of context, if not for cruelty. Perhaps she thinks that I will use them to impress strangers as I once did with an office wall full of celebrity photos falsely dedicated to me.
The framed photo of Albert Einstein, for example, was inscribed with thanks for my helping him with quantum physics. John Wayne wrote that he looked forward to working with me on his next movie. Several sexy female movie stars intimated that they loved our nights together. President FDR thanked me for my wartime service although I was only four years old in 1945.
The wall of phony photos behind my magazine editor’s desk was my social satire on similar displays that I had seen in the offices of politicians. Too bad the Flat Monty technology was not available to me then. I might have appeared in a New York Yankees baseball uniform standing beside my heroes Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.
Here then in the spirit of truth telling, if not a gesture toward sibling forgiveness, I hereby publish the fabulous travel adventures of Flat Monty. Trust me when I say, “I wish that I was there.”