Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Gawd We Truss

From Robert Craft's (often hilarious) journals about the aging Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky, in Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship (Nashville TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1994), p. 188—

I.S., telephoning the G. Wittenberg Surgical Appliances Company: "This is Mr. Stravinsky, S-T-R-A-…" He spells it loudly and deliberately, as he does when dictating a telegram. "Two years ago you fitted me with a truss. I want an appointment to have it repaired." He has dialed a wrong number, however, and the other party has apparently had to hear the entire speech without finding an opportunity to interrupt. I.S., ill-humoredly cradles the receiver, then carefully dials again. "This is Mr. Stravinsky, S-T-… You made a…" The same party answers, very annoyed. Annoyed now himself, I.S. double-checks the number in his address book, finds it correct, still believes he has misdialed, tries again. "This is Mr…" This time the man on the other end,no doubt believing himself the victim of a raving lunatic, slams down the receiver. At this point V. [Vera, Stravinsky's wife] discovers from the telephone directory that I.S. has miscopied the number.