Issue 142, Spring 1997
Mr. Beckett is dead. So, then, is Paris, too. I’m told that he died last Friday night. So, then, all of my heroes are dead, since last Friday night.
Life clung to Samuel Beckett, irritatingly, for 83 and 3/4 years. When he told me he’d lost his teeth, I mumbled an inanity: “It could be worse.”
Without pause, he struck back: “There’s nothing so bad that it can’t grow worse. There’s no limit to how bad things can be!” And we laughed ourselves sick.
Mr. Beckett knew his way around a dirty joke. When he first met my wife. Gill, he ordered a double whiskey. “I need a stiff drink. Nothing else is stiff, these days!”
In the early 1970s, I was staying in Paris, with my friend Jean-Paul Delamotte, a romancier manqué. Lindon (in the magazine Minuit) had just brought out Beckett’s newest texts, in French, called Foirade, Foirade I, Foirade II. As I was having a drink with Beckett later that night, I asked Jean-Paul what the word foirade meant, exactly.
Jean-Paul hemmed and hawed, uncharacter…