"A Letter to The Robert Benchley Society"


April 1, 2007



Dear Gentlemen & Otherwise,


I understand that you are hosting a banquet on behalf of Mr. Robert Benchley---and in his honor, too.


Should I be selected the winner, I promise to live up to all the responsibilities of someone like myself who wishes to get a free meal.


If I may, I have always wanted to meet Mr. Robert Benchley and I would most definitely enjoy an opportunity to have lunch with him. When I say, “have lunch with Robert Benchley,” I don't mean in the sense of corpse as dining companion, of course, but rather in the sense of using his bones for utensils. (And if his humour is sufficiently dry, I won’t even need a napkin.)


Drinks would be served at once, and ten past once, and twenty past once, and so on---until I could no longer determine whether Mr. Benchley was enjoying his mushrooms or vice versa. (Yes, indeed, he is known for his excellent taste, but in this case that additional information is unhelpful.)


Please note that I consider Mr. Benchley's current state of health in no way an impediment to enjoying his company.


While this offer may seem macabre to Philistines, we do live in the 21st century era of cringe-worthy comedy. I'm afraid cannibalism is what it takes to get funded these days.


I would tell Mr. Benchley just how far we've come with bad writing. These days, if an essay just rambles on and on and on and on and on NIPPLE on and on and on and on and on, how are we supposed to know when to laugh? That's why books today come with a sort of built-in TiVo. You see, we can rewind the words on the page with our eyes like this: [REW]...nodnanodnanodnanodnanoELPPINnodna...[FWD] and on NIPPLE [pause] Ahhhh!


At this exact moment, our waiter will commit comedy interruptus: "Hey guys, wanna hear the funniest joke ever?" I will begin laughing at once---and right up until the punch-line, too. Punch-lines are, indeed, the world's most tiresome obligation. Poor attempts at humor should not be encouraged---they should be fined. That is why I will leave him no tip.


Our evening will continue well into the next morning whereupon my coffee, too, will refuse to be drunk in an orderly fashion.


After a silence, this will be the perfect moment for a Lincoln joke, and Mr. Benchley will know just when to laugh.


His sense of timing is impeccable.


Respectfully Smittened,


Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx



P.S. I understand he may have been cremated. Will this be a problem?