The Next Robert Benchley


Per your search for the next Robert Benchley, I would like to apply. I donít know what you did with the first one, though assuming you followed all appropriate environmental and regulatory standards, I donít care. As long as you arenít making the same plans for his replacement.


Like RB ó a distinguished gentleman needs a snappy moniker like ďRBĒ ó I am tall, lithe, and ruggedly handsome, unless of course he was short, fat, and ruggedly handsome, in which case I can slouch. Iíd be more precise about my striking resemblance ó no doubt you want precision in your Rob (or in striking anyone) ó but I canít find a photograph of him in his books. It shouldnít be hard to throw one in. His mug shots must be lying around somewhere. I suppose I could read Robbyís little ďhumorĒ pieces on the chance he described himself in one of them, but there are so many. (Did Bobbo ever get help with that work-ethic problem?) Anyway no one reads nowadays, and Iím sure youíre looking for a modern R-Bench, which iz me, 4 real, yo. Unless youíd like a classic Robert. If so, twenty-three skidoo, Iím your bees knees.


Speaking of animals, Mr. B sounds like the type who would have a dog, and by coincidence, so do I. Unfortunately he ó Olí Blue, not Olí Bench ó manifests a temporary corporeal absence from the old manse, but not to worry. There are plenty of mutts on leashes outside the local java den that could be him. Or her. Should you feel the need to verify, my cherished pet will likely be back soon. He ó dear Benchie, not dear doggie ó probably wore tweed too, smoked a pipe, and gardened. Iím also tweedy, smoky, and seedy.


I understand thereís a family: children, grandchildren, love children, etc. If necessary, Iíll adopt them, along with any pawnable goods and erotic scrimshaw. Though having a son older than me might be awkward, on the plus side, we can skip the birds-&-bees chat.


Iíd appreciate the cash prize in small, unmarked bills. (By the way, I donít mean to tell you your business ó unless being pushy was another endearing Roberto trait ó but you ought to make it clearer that you offer a cash prize. I couldnít find a single word about it in your material. I wouldnít even be applying except, oozing sophistication like Bobby-baby, I know that no one would be dim enough to hold a contest without a cash prize.) You can leave the scratch in a plaid valise by the curb. Iíll get it.


As a token of my appreciation to the wise, gifted, and undoubtedly lovely contest judge, please pass along the small envelope, attached with C-clamps. It merely contains an Ďumble note of thanks. Nothing else. No need to look inside. Just send it on.


Signed, R. Terhune Benchley. (The middle nameís a nice touch, isnít it? Iím confident that we, Terhune, would approve.)