On May 29, 1933, Harper’s Bazaar editor Art Samuels was awaiting a piece by the notoriously unreliable Robert Benchley when he received six successive telegrams:
AM TAKING CARE OF MY SICK MOTHER.
AM ACTING AS GUIDE FOR HUNTING PARTY.
AM INSPECTING NEW PACKARD ENGINES.
AM JUDGING ORANGE BLOSSOM CARNIVAL.
AM BEING INDUCTED INTO INDIAN TRIBE.
AM WORKING ON PICTURE WITH GRETA GARBO.
All bore the current date, but their origins were listed as Worcester, Massachusetts; Presque Isle, Maine; Detroit, Michigan; Miami Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Hollywood, California. Samuels wrote back GATHER YOU HAVEN’T DONE THE PIECE.
Benchley avoided another engagement by having his mother send this wire from Massachusetts:
SORRY I CAN’T ATTEND LUNCHEON TODAY BECAUSE I AM IN BOSTON. DON’T KNOW WHY I AM IN BOSTON BUT IT MUST BE IMPORTANT BECAUSE HERE I AM.