Life After Simon & Garfunkel: Exchanging a Christmas Present

Art Garfunkel uses his considerable celebrity to exchange a Christmas gift.

Oh, hello there. I’m actor and singing legend Art Garfunkel, and I would like to return this sweater. See, it’s a bit short in the sleeves, and—Sorry, what’s that? Yeah, that’s right, an actor, too. Well, did you ever see Carnal Knowledge? I was in that one. Yeah, it did have a great cast. Ann-Margaret. Jack Nicholson. No, I was there, too. Yep. I was center-left on the poster.

Right, Simon and Garfunkel! Yeah, the tall one. Uh huh, right, “the sou-unds of silence.” Very good. Yeah, no, Paul Simon wrote that. Yeah. No, I don’t talk to Paul that much these days. No, I don’t think I sent him a Christmas card this year. Sure, if I do send him one, I’ll tell him how much you like the song.

No, so, the sweater is a little short in the sleeves, as I was saying. Well, when you’re a man of my stature, you tend to be rather particular about what you wear. Did you get the pun there? Stature as an artist, and physical stature?

Right, as an artist. No, I tended to contribute in other ways. The high harmonies, for one. Lots of the high harmonies. Arranging the high harmonies. Singing the high harmonies. Have you ever heard “Homeward Bound”? No, Paul wrote that one, too, sure, but the har—the creative process is a murky one, is my point.

No, I just received this sweater for Christmas. I have the gift receipt right here. No, actually, it’s not my first time in the store. No, I’m actually pretty familiar with Manhattan department stores, as a matter of fact. Saks. Bloomingdale’s. Gimbels. Oh. I thought Gimbels was still in business. What a shame.

No, this wasn’t a gift from Paul. Sorry, no, I’m afraid Paul and I haven’t exchanged presents in quite some time. Paul doesn’t tend to be a very giving guy, no.

Well, I wouldn’t exactly call “Bridge Over Troubled Water” a “gift” from Paul, no. Well, I’ve heard some people say he didn’t quite have the voice for it. Yeah, some people say that.

No, this was a gift from my niece, as a matter of fact. Right, as I said, the sleeves are just a bit short. Well, no, I don’t think it is the style these days. Well, take a look for yourself. No, the sleeves are a bit short for my height.

Actually, to be frank, my height is a bit of a blessing and a curse, being world famous. That’s right, world famous. Many parts of the world, yeah. Well, the U.S., for one. England. France. Denmark. Many of my solo records did quite well in Denmark. Solo records, yes. No, right, without Paul Simon. Uh huh. My album, Breakaway, for example? No, right, it wasn’t a Simon and Garfunkel record. Number 9 hit record album, Breakaway?

No, “Mrs. Robinson” wasn’t on it. No, yes, Paul wrote that. Right, that is a catchy song. No, I think he’s aware that a lot of people like it. Yeah, I believe he does still get royalties from writing the song. Yes, that is exciting. Yes, Paul could shop at a place like this, with the royalties. As could I, I might point out. No, with money from other sources. Well, we don’t all need to write “Mrs. Robinson.”

No, I don’t think Paul comes to the big department stores that often. No, he’s sort of out of touch with the common man. Well, success can make some people isolated and prone to petty resentments, sadly. Yeah, and it can be rather hard to find things in your size when you’re significantly below-average in height, as he is.

Yes, the sweater is very soft. I own a lot of cashmere sweaters, in fact. No, that I bought for myself. If I could simply exchange this one for another in my size, that’d be great. Well, no, this is too short in the sleeves, as I’ve said before. Well, sure, feel free to use a measuring tape, if you think it’ll help. Sure, I’ll stand up straight.

Do you need me to keep my arms up like this? Okay, yeah, no problem. Sorry? No, Graceland was a popular album, yeah. It got you through your first breakup? No, I’m sure Paul would be interested to hear that. No, as I mentioned, I don’t usually exchange Christmas cards with Paul. Well, yeah, I could mention it if there’s room on the card. Actually, you have to remember that Graceland was really a repackaging of South African musical traditions that had existed for centur—Listen, can I put my arms down now?

“Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes?” Sorry, I can’t say that I’m familiar with the individual songs on Graceland.

So you’re all set? Good, and you wrote down the sleeve length? Yeah, they need to be longer. Right, the sleeves on this sweater are too short. Well, no, store credit isn’t ideal. Actually, I’d prefer to exchange—oh, I see. You don’t have it in my size. No, I guess there aren’t many men with my proportions—Oh, really? No, I understand, you sell out of “larges” around this time of year. Well, I guess if you can special order one from New Jersey, I can come back. No, I doubt that Paul will come with me. Right, and if I do send him that card. Sure.