To-do list

“While he was washing his hands, I eased my way over to the desk and stealthily turned over an envelope lying on top of the pile of manuscript to steal a look at the notations typed on the back of it. Mr. Kaufman’s appointments and reminders to himself, which he typed out daily and later stuck in his breast pocket, always fascinated me, and whenever I could, I would shamelessly rubberneck, for they invariably listed meetings with a number of people whose juxtaposition on the same day never ceased to tickle my fancy. The list for tomorrow, freshly and neatly typed, with three dots between appointments, said in part: ‘Francis Fox… Scalp Treatment’; ‘Aunt Sidonia… Gloria Swanson.’ The jump from Aunt Sidonia to Gloria Swanson was just the kind of unlikely contiguity that delighted me, and there was an even more satisfying conjunction farther down on the envelope, for later in the day, which read: ‘Inlay… Croquet mallet… Norma Shearer.’ Satisfied that Mr. Kaufman’s day would be as piquant and provocative as I had hoped it would, I turned the envelope over again…”

-Moss Hart on George Kaufman in Hart’s memoir Act One

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