Author Archives: Linda Jones

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

May 9, 1955

 

Post # 66

 

Howdy ma’am,

     Wonder why anybody ever
went to the trouble of hyphenating “madam” into “ma’am”.  It’s much harder to write a “’” than it
is a “d”, especially on a typewriter where you have to stop, hit the shift key
and then look for the “’” which is never where I expect it to be.  Seems to me it should be where the % is
or maybe the _ or even the (.  Not
the right ( but the left (.  The
right ( actually looks like this: ). 
Know that this # is?  It’s a
tic-tac-toe graph for small insects like cockroaches.  If you ever want to please a cockroach leave a few of these
around on a blank sheet of paper. 
In the morning you will find several tiny completed games of tic-tac-toe.

     I just talked to Dottie
at home.  She said that your grades
were there, which indicated that you were still alive and that they were
excellent, which indicated that even if you were deceased that your last days
were remarkably successful. I said that I was sure that you were not dead; that
all those letters you had written in the last few days had been improperly
addressed and had ended up in the dead-letter box at the post office.  I assured her that dead letters in no
wise indicated dead daughter.  She
hastened to say that she hadn’t been concerned, only curious, she said the year
she graduated from college she hadn’t written her folks in seven weeks and I
mustn’t be too hard on you, there were eight million things to do the last
couple of months in school and that we mustn’t expect any thing from you but
bad news.  I said that it would be
better if we never heard from you at all, wouldn’t it then?  (What a beautiful sentence—shows what
you can do just by thinking beautiful thoughts).  She said “Hell no, that isn’t what I meant at all!  Stop twisting my words.  Of course I would be delighted to hear
from her.  She’s already written I
know.  Stop picking on her was all
I said.”  I replied civilly enough
that I wasn’t picking on you.  She
said I was, too.  So I’m picking on
you.

     They are actually at
work on the new studio!  I saw it
with my own eyes.  Holes being dug
in the earth!  Cement being poured
into the holes!  Unbelievable!
Perhaps by this time next week they will be digging holes in our new lot and
pouring cement there-in.  What a
fantastic age we are living in. 
Imagine!  Pouring cement
into holes in the ground!  Cain’t
believe it now.

     Nobody said nothin’
really about you not attending Shirley’s gathering of adobe girls.  What was intended was that your driving
that highway without more current driving experience comes under the heading of
foolish risk.  Calculated risks,
O.K.  Foolish risks, no.  Confidence and basic ability is not the
point.  Long distance driving is
safe only when you drive by reflex. 
When you have not been driving a lot it is necessary to approach each
driving crisis, large or small, as a separate problem and in a hundred or so
miles the mind is exhausted and driving becomes very dangerous indeed.  That is why this is a foolish
risk.  The train is not very
expensive and is considered fairly safe. 
Why not?  I am sure you
would have just as much fun while there.

     Now why did I use the
back of the paper?  Surely I have
no interest in saving Warner Bros.such a picayune sum.  Friend of mine once visited William
Randolph Hearst at that gigantic castle at San Simeon.  The thing that impressed him most,
aside from almost running over a camel, was that on the table at dinner was an
exquisite solid gold spray vase, emblazoned with lovely scroll work in shell
design and studded with precious stones. 
It dated from the fifteenth century and may have been the work of
Benvenuto Cellini.  Well, what do you
think was in that priceless object? 
Paper napkins.

 

I must leave you
now and traipse me way to art class. 
Wish me luck.

 

I love you
emphatically.

 

Daddy

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

Friday,
April 28, 1955

Post
# 65

Dearest
Linda,

 

Boy,
if I ever have to go through the paper work again you have to go through to
build a house, I’ll live in a dog kennel first.  I’ve signed my name to every thing from an escrow paper to a
guarantee assuring the Bank of America that I don’t have mange.  Every time I sign my name I always feel
that it may eventually show up on a demand note for a million dollars.  My life has always been so serene.  It’s like having babies, there must be
an easier way, it just hasn’t been discovered.

 

I
am very happy about your making Scripps [Women’s College].  It seems so satisfactory in so many
ways.  I am sure you will be happy
there, will get a fine education and will meet many other fine men and women.  Of course we are proud of you, very
proud.

  

We
hoe to be well into the house by the end of school, if all this paper doesn’t
get tangled we should be starting in a week or two.  Kernie [contractor/builder] thinks he can finish within
sixty days, which would make it early in July.  I realize that things seldom go that smoothly so we won’t
depend on that date, but it will be thrilling just to get started.

 

The
new studio was Okayed by jack Warner yesterday; work will start Monday to be
finished early in September. 
So.  A nice clean new place
to live and a nice new clean place to work, a nice fresh new college girl in
the family, all in one year.  Seems
pretty wonderful to me.

 

See
you in only four weeks or sooner if possible.

 

All
my love,

 

Daddy

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

April
15, 1955

 

Post
#64

 

Dearest
Linda,

 

Today
is the Ides of April for many people, TAX DAY.    Fortunately I chose this year to get my return
in early.  What a wonderful
feeling.  Why didn’t I ever do it
before?

 

Three
men were dining in a Chinese restaurant and eating those little Chinese cookies
that are folded over and enclose a printed fortune.  The first one said something about meeting a tall dark
blonde, the second insisted today was a great day for financial investments,
but the third one said, “HELP, I AM BEING HELD PRISONER IN A CHINESE BAKERY”

 

We
had a wonderful time this trip and of course it is always nice to enjoy
vicariously the pleasure a new person obtains on first visiting the
school.  Judy [my cousin, my age]
was completely enchanted, both by the environment and the warm friendly
reception she received from everybody. 
She said she was completely relaxed, more relaxed in fact in a few hours
at the ranch than she had been in several years at [her boarding school].  I think she meant this was a difference
in the general characteristics of the two schools and not just a personal
reaction.  Whatever the faults may
be of the [your] school, this is certainly one of the attributes and a major
one at that, I think students learn the art of easy conversation and getting
along with others to a much greater extent than they do at most schools.  I realize of course that by and large
we see the student body on their best behaviour but I make this appraisal with
this in mind and it still seems true to me.  I have never met a group of young people under any
conditions in which courtesy; good manners and easy friendliness were more
prevalent.

 

I
deeply hope that your affairs are in reasonable order.  If they are not and you need me, I am
enclosing a note to [the headmaster] to be used if and when you need it.

 

It
is very difficult, I know, to have your emotions so whipped about at a time in
your scholastic career when stability is so damned important.  It is unfortunate, but it is not
insurmountable.  I think a mark of
womanhood (or manhood) is the ability of the individual to do what she must do
in spite of vagaries of outrageous fortune (to paraphrase some unfortunate
poet).  I know that you have a
great and fine friend in F…. [maie friend] and this is something that many
people never enjoy.  I am not
speaking in this particular sentence for you, but for myself, but I love that
boy.  Not because of his accomplishments,
perhaps in spite of them, but because he is a man and a gentleman.  It is hard to know where the feeling of
true rapport originates between men and I have spoken few words to F…., yet I
would trust him in any way and be proud to have the opportunity to do so.  I know it is a hackneyed phrase, but if
I had had a son of my own, my hopes would have been that he could grow up to be
as F…. is.  Yes, you are fortunate
for I know he has a deep affection for you.  Another mark of adult-hood is the willingness to acknowledge
the need, at times, for help and love from another.  If you are still in the emotional jungle, there are two men
who may be of assistance to you at any time: F…. is one and I am the other.

 

All
things being equal, we should be starting to build [our new house] in the next
two or three weeks.  Keep all
fingers crossed.  There has been so
little of the kind of irritations and conflict supposed to accompany planning
and building that I’m beginning to wonder what kind of concentrated turmoil is
in store for us.

 

You,
personally, are wonderful, I love you…

 

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

March 31, 1955

 

Post #63

 

Dearest Linda,

 

Hey, before I
forget it do you think Ed Lowry would let me pitch a sleeping bag on his floor
Saturday night before Easter?  If
so, could I borrow your sleeping bag? 
Or somebody’s?  Hm?  I’ll let Dottie shift for herself; if
necessary we can roll her up and stick her in the back of the car.

 

I’m not a bit hot
on the Colorado Women’s college deal. 
I believe in junior colleges all right, but mainly for those who are
interested in business careers or just aren’t able to get in any place
else.  I suppose you are a little
afraid that you might fall into the latter category but I’m pretty sure you won’t.  I also have checked and found that the
usual application time for California state colleges is anytime before
August.  By residents of the state
of course, which includes you.  I
am referring to California at Berkeley. 
I have talked to a number of people lately, grads, students and parents
of students and they all appear to be of one mind:  Cal is a fine school with superb facilities and a great
faculty, but they also seem to agree in the main that a student is far better
off in avoiding the sorority pitch, for scholastic reasons and, surprisingly
enough, for social reasons, too. 
It seems that if you join a sorority your social life is immediately
narrowed to the channels prescribed by that sorority; you are expected only to
date boys approved by the sorority; you become very, very select.  My informants tell me that this
automatically shuts you off from some of the best fun and nicest people on the
campus.  Sour grapes from people
who failed to make the grade into the Greek houses?  That occurred to me, too, but I found that this was not
so.  Some of these people were the
children of parents who had been prominent in the sororities and fraternities
at Cal before them, which almost insured their acceptance.  No, they just looked the situation over
and decided where their best interests lay.

 

I’m not touting
you off on Cal and I’m not as stubborn on the sorority thing as Dottie is
likely to be.  I still think you
will make Scripps [Women’s College, Claremont] and I hope you do and that you
want to go there.  Nothing,
however, is set or nailed down. 
Even if you are accepted at Scripps and do not truly believe that you
will be happy there, there is no big club hanging over your head to force you.

 

I’ve got to get
busy on a birthday card for Dottie, so I must end this now.

 

All my love—well,
nearly all—to you, and all…

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

March
18, 1955

 

Post
# 62

 

Dearest
Linda,

 

Your
last letter sounded like you were at that time immersed in spring fever, a
malaise inducing acute ennui, madness, and I-don’t-give-a-damn-it is.  I know it too well and yet it probably
is far worse in a climate where spring really means something.  When the first tree makes its tentative
budding, yet winter is still everywhere else, it must arouse a dreadful
impatience and a longing to be quit of cold and to repose warmly in the sun in
green grass and bright blossoms. 
God!  I’m getting spring
fever myself, just talking about it.

 

One
thing is, Spring Fever is cured by Spring.  When it comes.  If
it ever comes.

 

We
will be over to see you in three weeks. 
It seems a long time.  You
will be graduating in only ten weeks. 
That doesn’t seem so long. 
It has been ten weeks since we have seen you, though, and that seems an
eternity.  I really miss you this
time.  It seems like you may grow
up, become a woman, get married, have fifteen children, and pioneer the
transmutation of the baser metals in the time you have been away.  I miss you indeed, yet I know that
these years in this environment have been productive happy ones for you and I
do not begrudge them in any fashion. 
Your conduct this year particularly pleases me.  You took several very nasty bumps, of
one kind and another, in 1954 and your recovery from them all has been
admirable in all ways.  If Dottie’s
promptness and faithfulness in writing has brought happiness to you, I want you
to know that everything you have done this year: your grades, your letters,
your attitude, and every other aspect of your personality, has brought great
happiness to her.  And to me, of
course.

 

Nana
has mastered the TV set to the point that she can watch a program, manufacture
a doll, entertain guests, brew and drink coffee, smoke a cigarette, read a
letter, write a letter, and keep an eye on all neighborhood dogs and children
simultaneously.  Pretty good for a
growing girl.  She even saw a large
whitish whale cavorting a couple of hundred yards off her house the other
day.  Smart whale, knowing where to
elicit an appreciative audience.  
Mother is an amazing woman. 
It is fantastic to visit her and observe the coterie that attends her.  That a woman of her age, 67 this year,
can attract so many friends and draw them to her with real magnetism, after all
nothing forces them to drop in on her, is a glorious and wonderful thing.  I hope that many people love me at that
age.  Or at this age, for that
matter.

 

Tonight
we go to the Irelands where I am to stand-in for [your headmaster] and talk
about the [school].  Tell [him] I
have one advantage: I can say nice things about him, but he can’t say nice
things about him.

 

Love,
love, love

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

March
17, 1955

Post
# 61

Dearest
Linda,

 

What’s
this I hear about you having a cold? 
Thought I gave you explicit instructions:  No more colds. 
Is this any way to be the servile, fawning child that I expect you to
be?  When I say no more colds, I
mean no more colds.

 

Had
a long letter from [brother] Dick. 
He seems to fit snugly and correctly into his new environment.  It is as though his whole background
and training had been designed to fit him for this position.  And it carries a large share of
recognition with it, a very important thing to Dick and, indeed, to a certain
degree, to all of us.  I am very
happy for him, for [wife] Frances, and for [daughter] Vicki, who apparently was
a latent Mexican child all along, just waiting for the Mexican sun to bring her
out.  They live in Patzcuaro in
Michoacan, high mountain country about two hundred miles west of Mexico City,
on the second largest lake in Mexico. 
It must be very beautiful and picturesque and invigorating.  They have two servants, at eight
dollars a month apiece, so you can see that inflation has not exactly struck
the area.

 

We
were swimming at Donn and Ione’s Sunday. 
You would have been proud of me. 
I swam at least a hundred lengths during the day without tiring
particularly (about 4500 feet) and even managed to increase my speed slightly
without losing breath.  Donn’s and
my stroke are almost precisely the same now and we swim in tandem, almost like
we were hooked together: a delightfully friendly and pleasant experience.  I feel so good after swimming; it seems
to tone me as no other exercise, the possible exception of walking.

 


Did I tell you we were doing “Sherlock
Holmes” with Daffy as Holmes and Porky as Doctor Watson?  We are being very true to the Holmsian
tradition; the backgrounds are being designed with loving care so that the
London fog, gaslights, pubs and 22 Baker Street come through with
believability.  I am coming more
and more to the way of thinking that mood is incredibly important, even in an
animated cartoon.  That comedy
plays best against a credible background. 
The UPA things are excellent, yet except for the Magoos they are what I
call objective humor.  Your
understanding of the character comes usually from an outside source: a narrator
or storey-teller, thus Gerald McBoing-Boing or Madeline can walk through a
film, against charming backgrounds, without needing to change expressions or
indeed to act at all.  This is
different from, let us say, Thumper or Jiminy Cricket or Daffy or Bugs.  Your understanding of them grows
through their actions.  In feature
films this difference is exemplified in the documentary and theatrical
picture.  One (the former) employs
ordinary people and obtains its dramatic effects by camera, color, music and
narration.  The other depends
ultimately on acting.  Without
taking sides, they are both legitimate and important aspects of
filmmaking.  I find myself on the
side of the actor.  I find my
greatest fun is breathing life into a drawing and setting it loose against a
gently caricatured background.

 

How
stands it with you?  Have you plans
for this summer that we might enhance or abet?  Do you have any suggestions, short of a month on the Cote d’Azure?  I would like to make this a happy
summer for us all.  It is a big one
for us all and particularly for you. 
If you have any incredible desires, please let me know and I will move
whatever parts of Heaven and earth available to me.

 

Love/./


Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

 

February..no, no
dammit.. March 4th, 1955

 

Post #60

 

Hello,
you handsome young witch, Como if you’ll pardon the expression esta usted? 

 

I
just returned from recording a new picture:  BARBARY COAST BUNNY. 
I used a new actor, name of Daws Butler, in the role of the heavy.  He’s a very clever guy, hard working,
intelligent and refreshing.  He’s
the one who worked with Stan Freberg on all those records, they wrote and acted
in them together.

 

I
must say that I learned a great deal from him.  He gave a splendid and new angle to this character, a sort
of Marlon Brandoish mushy-mouthed delivery that seemed very funny to me.  In Streetcar Named Desire Brando was a
troglodyte but with his speech dotted with completely incongruous
delicacies.  This effort to attain
elegance was what gave the character its odd twist, like an orangutan in an
evening gown.  So we rewrote the
dialogue a little to fit this new conception and, as I say, it came off
beautifully.

 

Another
thing I noticed is that Mel Blanc, who was there to record the rabbit, was well
aware that he has some competition from Daws.  He really worked today.  I have never seen him evidence more interest in his work.  I think I shall hire a sort of stand-by
talent on recording days if this is what the goad of rivalry does for Mel.  Like others, I suppose, he is likely to
get a trifle smug occasionally. 
All in all, a good day.

 

I
am on the backstretch of another story I think you will like.  The one about the year when Mars
approached so close to the earth that it affected a cosmic mix-up and a Martian
baby was diverted to the earth while the Earth baby went by mistake to
Mars.  At any rate a pleasant
average young married couple find themselves with an odd lightish green highly
intellectual baby with a disconcerting knack of talking to bees.  Before the babies are traded back we
have quite a time for ourselves.  I’m
using a wholly new drawing technique for me, like the enclosed drawings, they’re
rough but I think you can get the idea.

 

Today
is another of those resurgent days when everything seems completely
worthwhile.  What is it about
certain days that you feel as though you had had a Benzedrine salad for
lunch?  I guess it is too much to
ask but wouldn’t it be nice if there were more of them?  I have been walking about four feet off
the ground today and I don’t know why or feel like asking why.  Just fortunate I think.

 

Report
on Dottie:  Spirits high.  Health seemingly excellent.  Wrestling match with cigarettes, not
too successful but I think she quit again yesterday.  Someday, if she really wants to quit she will realize that
there is no such thing as partly smoking for an addict.  It’s all or it’s nothing.  Physically she looks better than she
has in years, color lovely, weight superb, just nicely filled out at about 127.  Her hair is at its best, too.  Her cooking has never been better and
her reading, both in quality and volume astonishes me.  General report:  excellent.  I think she is getting enough to eat. 

 

Russell
just in to collect discarded papers. 
He sends you his affectionate regards.  As do I.

 


Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

February 24th, 1955

Post # 59

Dearest Linda,

    Enclosed find a check for ten dollars ($10.00) to cover my contribution to the dance.  If you need more do not hesitate to ask (I will not hesitate to refuse).

Answer to your question:  I think pink is a superb over-all color.  I think you will all look very lovely indeed swirling about in the moonlight and I believe “voluminous” is an excellent word.

I guess what I was really trying to establish in my heavy-handed way was that letters of this kind could be more informal and relaxed, but this is no excuse to force you to swim through a tar pit of jocularity.  So, I’m sorry.

MAKE YOUR FORTUNE COLLECTING ALLIGATORS!  Follow these simple rules:  Purchase one pair hip boots; one pair binoculars; one small glass jar; one pair tweezers; proceed to alligator infested swamp.  Don hip boots.  Wade in.  Approach alligator.  Reverse binoculars.  Look through big end at alligator.  Reach over with tweezers.  Pick up alligator.  Drop in small jar.

It looks like we are at long last going to get our new studio.  It has actually reached the blueprint stage and apparently will be built this year.  It will be on the far side of the main lot, towards Disney, not connected directly, thank God, but with a separate entrance on a nice tree-shaded street, a fine location.  It will be new, clean, air-conditioned and I think, very attractive.  A place you will not feel reluctant to bring your friends.

I am truly bowled over by your grades.  You have in all ways lived up to your pledges this year.  You have made me a very happy and proud parent.

The usual thing at this time is to say, “Keep up the good work.”

Keep up the good work.

Love,

Chuck 

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

February 4, 1955

Post # 58

Dearest Linda,

What do I think of the China situation and the President’s War Powers bill?  I wish that I could venture a simple opinion on the terrifyingly complex problem.  If only the principle of the Good Guys and the Bad Guys prevailed, how simple it all would be, yet there are intelligent people today who remember Chiang as a despot and a keen and ruthless enemy of the spirit of what [your history teacher] might call The American Way of Life.  These people might also remember that for ten years the same people who now compose RED CHINA were those who, with primitive weapons, formed FASCIST JAPAN.

I think I hate chicanery of words and ideas more than any other thing, for it traps man’s mind and reduces him to a fool and an idiot.  If it is to the best interest of the United States and/or United Nations to defend Formosa then we must do so.  But let us understand several things in so doing.  If we attempt to put this on the Moral Good for Mankind basis we must be prepared to explain why communism is despicable to us in China and acceptable to us in Yugoslavia, why we choke over Malenkov and swallow Franco and other minor league dictators.  The truth of the matter seems to be that we love those who hate our enemies regardless of their political beliefs or practices.

I can think of nothing greater or nobler for America than to stand as a paragon of the defender of the down-trodden, as the courageous detective who spot-lights injustice and abrogation of civil-liberties wherever they occur … in our own household, in those of our enemies or those who hate our enemies.

Let us understand something else, lest we become smug in our rather loose use of the term “American Way of Life”.  The roots of democracy extend into history much farther than Plato.  The father of our sacred documents was the Magna Carta, signed in England over three hundred years before Columbus blundered into the West Indies.  Thousands of brave and zealous men died for what they believed to be the ethical rights of man.  The history of man is indeed a great quest for free soil where the intellect could prosper and the spirit could stand unfearing and upright.

The greatness of America stems from the fact that Democracy was planted on the richest landmass in the world.  It is almost certain that this land would have become a world power under any form of government but the wonder is that by and large it has grown ethically as it grew agriculturally and industrially.  America grew and became the hope, the epitome, the beacon for the hopeless and the downtrodden, the dreamer and the thinker.  We were proud and brave people and we had ample reason to be so.

Are we that today?

If we are not, if we are looked at with suspicion, fear and sometimes hate is it because others are envious of our wealth, our intelligence, or our general well-being or is it because we have failed to keep our banner unsullied, because the “American Way of Life” may mean government of opportunism rather than idealism, power politics rather than power for universal freedom, encouragement of individualism giving way to subordination of individualism?

The answer to all this may perhaps be found in the following:  There is no clear answer on the Formosa question, even when the most rabid of Senator Knowland’s followers seem unable to explain why they do follow him or where he wants to lead us.  There is obviously no clear moral issue here.  The second thing that becomes increasingly clear is that most people are afraid to venture an opinion on a controversial subject without screening it to see if it coincides with popular opinion.  This is the most dangerous aspect of our society today, I believe.

All right.  I say this.  I do not believe in “The American Way of Life” because it is a catch-all phrase bandied by McCarthy, Coughlin, McCormick, Hearst and every other two-bit chauvinist in this country, it is a panacea and a foolish one at that, for it means anything anyone wants it to.  It can mean segregation, capital punishment, the right to starve without government interference.

My faith, my love and my desire to defend democracy as it was etched in America’s beginnings I will yield to no man, but the democratic ideal is universal in concept and must be defended so, democracy cannot function long on an island.  I believe in justice for mankind, believing this the surest way to protect his rights, moral and otherwise.

I believe that the rights of the individual must be always the true guide in social behaviour, for if the individual is always assured of justice no ultimate harm can accrue to mankind.

I love you very much and I loved your letter too.

 

Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

January 1955 (?)

Post #  57
My dearest darling;

I hope this letter is one of two that will come to you in the mail this morning.  I hope almost as much as you do, I think, because I cannot bear to have you suffer and I know how dreadful waiting can be.  If he has written this morning then this letter is unnecessary and I know it can be of very little help in any case, but I guess I felt it would help me to write it, relieve my tension a little anyway.  So please read it knowing that you are helping me by doing so.

I always thought when you were a little girl, and you were a honey of a little girl, that when you were in your mid-teens and had any problems that I, in my middle aged wisdom, could instantly resolve them.  I was sure that in that remote future (now) I would be so wise and so old that no problem would present any but the most cursory obstacles to my knowing mind.  I would accomplish these miracles with deftness always larded with gentle wit.  I would be known as the sage of Sagebrush Lane (or whatever street we happened to be living on) and your friends would sit at my feet and bring me iced drinks and revere my silvery hair and golden mind.  This is the way I saw the future and it seemed completely reasonable and rational and natural, too.  I now realize that as I imagined it the solutions were so simple because I always thought them up first and then tacked the problem on the front, so that when I saw you approaching, problem clutched in trembling hand, I knew what you were going to present and instantly solved it for you to your wonder and delight.

Fantasy and fact—how widely they are separate.  I, who was so nimble in my dreams, find myself wordless and inept when you need help so.  I know now that there are problems with but one solution and that beyond my reach.  I cannot relieve your hurt, even standing by and saying, “I understand, darling, and I sympathise for I remember, too” there is only one answer and we both know what that is.

Very well, you know how very deeply I love you and you know I’m sure that if there was anything I could do I would do it and very quickly, too.  This is part of life, I suppose, whatever that means and being alive often has its disadvantages, but you are conducting yourself like a gentleman.  A curious compliment?  I do not think so, it can be said about so few people.

I know.  I know, darling, and I do understand.

And I love you.