My Face Robert Benchley Essays

My Face Robert Benchley Essays-77
Humor, and especially Benchley's humor, has no commonly accepted high point.

Humor, and especially Benchley's humor, has no commonly accepted high point.

I am also a supporter of strawberries, especially when dipped in dark chocolate.

I have found that dipping almost anything in dark chocolate makes it better, even marginally edible things such as cardboard, foam rubber and gravel.

Oddly enough it is quite unnecessary to know anything about Benchley the Man.

Perhaps some might delve into his life and find that his children were all either congenital idiots or monsters.

Anyone can pick the stories he likes best, and usually does. She also needed a good swift clout on the side of the face." Or there's "Christmas afternoon, done in the manner, if not the spirit of Dickens." And there are the horrible little Benchley children in such selections as "Kiddie-Kar Travel" and "The Stranger Within Our Gates." Shakespeare, the opera, and the French language get theirs, in bitter doses.

And the good part about it is that nobody ever gets too excited about someone, else's opinion of Benchley; that is how he wrote, and that is why a hundred years from now people will still be saying, "Good old Benchley, they don't write like him these days." The one called "Family Life in America" is a satisfying parody of the American naturalistic school: "The street was covered with slimy mud. Bernice didn't work in the laundry but she wished that she did so the hot air would kill her. Sometimes a line stands out alone, like the crafty nostalgia of "It was April, long before Spring had really understood what was expected of her." Or the smooth unexpectedness of, "One evening I had been working late in my laboratory fooling round with some gin and other chemicals." A reviewer is tempted to say that here is some of the best of Benchley-ana, if he were not afraid that the master would descend from among the happier angels, and write off a little piece called "--Anas, Their Use and Function." The comprehensive resource for navigating the job search, composing strong resumes and cover letters, performing at interviews, using Harvard’s Campus Interview Program, and profiles from alumni in different industries.

From that tender age through, oh, about thirty, I sported an impressive array of scabs that prompted strangers to approach and say, “May I have your autograph, Mr. ” In elementary school, I was a reporter for the mimeographed student newspaper and wrote a column called, “Room News.” At least, I recall writing one of them, and I suspect it was not about a room but about the achievements of the students in that room.

None of those achievements come to mind today except that I wrote the column, so perhaps it started like this: “Nothing of interest is going on here in room 113 with the notable exception of my writing this column to report it.” Writing about anything—a brick, a shoe, a bag of lemons—somehow elevates it to a curious level of importance and even celebrity above that of the lowly common brick, shoe or bag of lemons.

My writing credits are varied—essays, books of fiction and non-fiction, stage plays, screenplays, stand-up and sketch comedy, news and features, poetry, music, cartoons, speeches, advertising and unusually literate grocery lists.

I can say that listening to improvised bedtime stories and reading a humorous autobiographical essay all by my very creative father when I was a boy, and later an essay called “My Face” by the great humorist Robert Benchley, were the sparks that made me want to become a writer.

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