Picasso fiasco

I was trying to keep it a secret, but it’s hard with all the nieces and nephews Twittering, Facebooking and blogging, so I guess it was going to come out sooner or later. I was the guy who bought that Picasso for $106.5 million. I don’t know what I was thinking, I was just caught up in the moment, I guess. I was going to stop at $50 million but some fool on the phone kept bidding it up. He didn’t even have the courtesy to show up at the auction! I was there, and that should count for something. It’s like if the clerk down at the department store were taking an order from a phone customer as I stood in the store, tapping my foot. It’s just rude.

So I decided that I was going to buy it, even though it’s not really my taste. It’s kind of blue and gray and green. I’m more of a yellow, red and brown kind of guy. And it’s a picture of a big naked woman. My mother in-law won’t like that, which was another reason I wanted it.



“I don’t care who painted it,” she’ll say, “It’s pornography. Why don’t you just hang a portrait of Satan on the wall, since you’re so fond of his works. And you with small children in the house.”

Since it was, like, $106.49 million over my credit card limit, I never really thought they’d give it to me, because I knew it would be declined and that would be the end of that. It was just my bad luck that the computers were down right when I went to pay. So they hand me this thing, and it’s really big, like 5 feet by 4 feet, and do they wrap it up or put it in a bag? No, they just hand it to me and walk away. I guess my servants were supposed to take if from there. Luckily, I had some bungee cords in the trunk of my car, so I strapped it to the roof and went home. It was embarrassing, here I am with a $106.5-million-dollar painting on the roof of my car and people are looking at me like I’m Jed Clampett pulling into Beverly Hills for the first time.

So I get the thing into the house and I figure I’ll surprise Sue with it. It’s just the right size to cover up that big crack on the wall in the laundry room that she’s been after me to fix for the last two years. A hammer and a couple of nails and voila! Crack fixed. The next day she says, “That’s not what I call fixing a crack. I could have hung a picture there.”

“Not that picture,” I said.

“Yeah, thanks. It doesn’t even have a frame. Where did you find this thing, in the half-off bin?”

It was about then that the auction gallery people showed up and wanted their painting back.

“Take it,” I said, “It doesn’t go with the sofa. Next time, I’ll remember to bring a fabric swatch.”

“Next time,” said the auctioneer said, “You’d better bring bail.”

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2010, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

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