Talk. From just
about everyone at the U.S. Open this year—discussion, argument, appraisal—with
any number of topics to supply the palaver: the shift from grass to Har-Tru
composition surface; the dominance of the moonball players; the collapse of the
Australians, especially the sad eclipse of Rod Laver; the travails of Arthur
Ashe; the court behavior of Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase. Just about the only
silent witness to all this was Mr. Peanut, the tall papier-m�ch� representation
of a peanut shell, who ambulated quietly across the grounds of the West Side
Tennis Club, turning slowly because of his height, his big top hat rearing
above the crowd. If one got close, the face of the man inside was vaguely
visible through a mesh square in the front.
Mr. Peanut had
watched some of the early matches; at least he appeared to be doing so. At
courtside, his head turned almost imperceptibly as the balls went back and
forth. Surely, like everyone else, he had some impressions to offer. The
reporter phoned the company. A public-relations man came on and said that he
was very sorry but Mr. Peanut did not talk. It was against company policy to
have Mr. Peanut say anything about anything. He was, in fact, a peanut.
The reporter was
someone in there. Surely...."
is an amorphic representation—a company image. He is not human."
does not have impressions."
public-relations man was sympathetic. "I'm really sorry about this. But
you're barking up the wrong tree with Mr. Peanut. I don't understand why you
have to talk with him about tennis. Isn't there someone else out
Dick Savitt, the
ground-stroke artist of the 1950s, the Wimbledon champion in 1951, was watching
the Arthur Ashe-Zjelko Franulovic match from a box in the first row of stadium
seats. It had rained hard in the early morning, the rainwater collecting in the
bucket seats in the boxes. A newcomer settling himself into a seat unaware,
being entranced with the action below, let out an involuntary yell.