Words You Can’t Say in an Obituary

This is from the Washington Post obit of Norman Mailer:

After the war ended, he served with occupation forces in Japan, then returned to the United States in May 1946. He spent the rest of the year in a bungalow near Provincetown, Mass., transmuting his military experiences into “The Naked and the Dead.”

His publisher, Stanley Rinehart, insisted that he clean up the language in the book. Mailer complied by inventing the word “fug” as a substitute for an expletive that the publisher found offensive.

Now. . . .

Ain’t that just too fuckin’ strange?

The death of a celebrity seems, somehow, an opportune time to play the “degrees of separation” game. Because I spoke with Neil Gaiman once, six years and odd weeks ago, there’s only two hops between Mailer and me! (While this sort of thing might segue into self-aggrandizement, I hope that when I indulge, I keep myself confined to the “weirdness of life” genre.)