August 15th, 1967
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just picked up my new girlfriend. She was quite a catch for me, I don’t think I ever had a girlfriend as beautiful. She was blond with a long ponytail.
Well, anyway, to get back to my story. The plan was to go to downtown Chicago, wander around, have lunch and maybe take in a movie. But we got caught up in a crowd at the Civic Center Plaza.
“ What’s up?” I asked a bystander.
“ They’re unveiling Picasso’s gift to Chicago.”
“ Oh, he’s the guy that paints those funny pictures.”
“ That’s right, but this is supposed to be a iron sculpture.”
“ I can’t wait to see what it looks like,” said my girlfriend.
“ Well, according to the papers, it will be a sculpture for people who like to laugh at the ridiculousness of the human condition.”
Up on the podium, were the Mayor and several men of the cloth, giving speeches. I thought that strange because Picasso was an atheist.
Then the Mayor pulled the ribbon and the covering fell away. My girlfriend and I stood there with a thousand other people with our mouths open. There was some applause but most of the audience were silent.
“ What is it?’ my girlfriend whispered.
“ I don’t know,” I stammered.
Before us stood a three-dimensional, cubist sculpture standing 50 feet tall.
“ It’s a big ugly metal thing,” someone shouted.
“ If Picasso did it, it must be wonderful,” someone else exclaimed.
“ Chicago now has culture,” someone said sarcastically.
My girlfriend and I walked around the metal thing to see it from different angles. Most of the people still there, a lot left, shaking their heads, were standing stiff completely blank-faced.
The eyes of the sculpture had a cold mean look. One man said it reminded him of Al Capone.
We were at the side of the sculpture, when I said, to my girlfriend.
“ It looks like you in profile with your long ponytail.”
She just stared at me.
The guy next to us said,” No, it looks like a baboon.”
My girlfriend walked off in a huff and got lost in the crowd. I never saw or heard from her again.