The Pick-Up Artist

     This year when a portrait of Pablo Picasso’s lover, Marie-Therese Walter, sold at a Christie’s auction for over $21 million, the story of how the famous artist met the woman who was the subject of many of his paintings was retold. In later life Walter recalled that on a day in 1927 while coming out of the Metro “He simply grabbed me by the arm and said, ‘I’m Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together.’”

     What a memorable pick-up line: a brassy declaration appealing to the spirit of adventure and intrigue with nary a hint of impropriety that might suggest to a girl of 17 that this man of 45 harbored treacherous or lecherous intent. More significantly, Picasso made good on his prediction.

     Let us now praise other famous men who very likely could have delivered quotable opening lines to ladies fair.

     “I’m Houdini. Let’s plan our escape.”

     “I’m Neil Diamond. Get in the boat that I row and you’ll be forever in blue jeans.”

     “I’m Marshall Field. Wait till you see what I’ve got in store for you.”

     “I’m Andrew Carnegie. Let’s steal away.”

     “I’m Sam Cunard. Shape up with me and we’ll ship out.”

     “I’m Degas and I’ll keep you on your toes.”

     “I’m Wright all the time. Come watch me build our world around me.”

     “I’m Henry Ford. Let’s move on down the line together.”

     “I’m the Will Kellogg that will put some snap, crackle, and pop in your life.”

     “I’m Howard Johnson. Stay with me and you’ll never go hungry.”

     “I’m Alex Bell. Let me give you a ring.”

     “I’m Seurat and I get to the point quickly: Life with me is a walk in the park.”

     “I’m Conrad Hilton. There’ll always be room for us.”

     “I’m Disney. Let’s duck out of here.”

     “I’m J.P. Morgan. I’m like money in the bank.”

     “I’m Cousteau. Dive in with me and I’ll get you in over your head.”

     “I’m Giacometti. Model for me and we’ll live off the thin of my hand.”

     “I’m Bill Procter. Come clean with me, baby, and I’ll never give you the brush.”

     “I’m Will Wrigley. Stick with me and I’ll double your pleasure.”

     “I’m Rube Goldberg. You strike my fancy so I’ll give you a whirl to turn your head that will fill the bill so we can tie the knot.”

     What responses these invitations received is not known just as Marie-Therese’s rejoinder to Pablo’s bold assertion is unrecorded. We can only assume they were similar to the reply Dale Evans undoubtedly gave to the proposal of Roy Rogers to view life’s happy trails with him: “I’ll go along for the ride.”

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