Robert Benchley

When I was a kid I wanted to write something as brilliant as Robert Benchley’s wire from Venice: STREETS FULL OF WATER. ADVISE. Funniest thing ever, streets full of water, advise. If I had to pick one joke as the funniest joke ever, that’d be it. Streets full of water. Advise. Then the Western Union man goes the way of the pencil sharpener and emails don’t have quite the same zing. Certainly none of the drama, the show, the tipping: Streets full of water. Advise. *;) winking

And now email fades. What, then, now? Facebook would ruin it utterly–you’d be amazed at how funny all the comments are on Facebook–and I’d have to explain why the streets were full of water. Debate would ensue and somehow I’d wind up a fascist. I could try Twitter, though had Benchley and Twitter been contemporaneous, he’d be just another tweeting drunk. Me, I’m not much of a drinker, I just ate a brownie last night without asking first and was washing dishes at 6 am and making the glasses sing. I came to at noon with dishwater hands mumbling streets full of water, advise. Another smartassed dream. Most guys my age have dreams about their secretaries. Me, I tell jokes. Streets full of water, I say, advise. Everyone laughs and laughs. Then I wake up.

Maybe I’ll try Linked In.

Robert Benchley in "How to Start the Day" (1937).

Robert Benchley in “How to Start the Day” (1937).