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On The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


I first read the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 8th grade. The story, written by James Thruber, first appeared in the New Yorker in 1939 and was made into a movie starring Danny Kaye-- perfect casting. It was also anthologized in a collection of Thurber's work, My World and Welcome to it. This in turn was made into a TV series starring William Windom that lasted a single season.

Walter Mitty is at once a comic figure and the epitomized dreamer downtrodden by modern society. The story opens with the pilot of a Navy plane whipping the confidence of his crew into shape and pressing on through a terrifying storm. His wife quickly shoots him down and curbs his speed. She hates it when he drives more than forty per.

After dropping off his wife, Dr. Mitty saves the day by repairing the new anesthetizer that was going pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. He then drives in the out lane of the parking lot. After further experiences, he meets his wife and prepares to return home. Lighting a cigarette, he forgoes the handkerchief and proudly and disdainfully turns to face the firing squad, unbowed.

Whenever I accelerate to pass a car on the road, I think of the Commander bravely revving her up to 8,500.