This is the 50th anniversary of the day I crossed paths with Pablo Picasso. It came about in a strange way. I had written a column showing how absurd some of my mail had become.One letter was from Philadelphia. It was written by a Temple University student named Harvey Brodsky. Harvey said he was in love with a girl named Gloria Segall, and he hoped to marry her someday. She claimed to be the greatest living fan of Picasso. The couple went to a Picasso exhibit and, to impress her, Harvey told Gloria that he could probably get the artist's autograph.Harvey's letter continued, "Since that incident, Gloria and I have stopped seeing each other. I did a stupid thing and she threw me out and told me she never wanted to see me again."I'm writing to you because I'm not giving up on Gloria. Could you get Picasso's autograph for me? If you could, I have a feeling Gloria and I could get back together. The futures of two young people depend on it. I know she is miserable without me and I without her. Everything depends on you."At the end of the letter, he said, "I, Harvey Brodsky, do solemnly swear that any item received by me from Art Buchwald (namely, Pablo Picasso's autograph) will never be sold or given to anyone except Miss Gloria Segall."I printed the letter in my column to show how ridiculous my mail was. When it appeared, David Duncan, a photographer, was with Picasso in Cannes and Duncan translated it for Picasso.Picasso was very moved, and he took out his crayons and drew a beautiful color sketch for Gloria Segall and signed it.Duncan called and told me the good news.I said, "The heck with Gloria Segall, what about me?"David explained this to Picasso and in crayons he drew a picture of the two of us together, holding a glass of wine, and wrote on the top, "Pour Art Buchwald."By this time, the Associated Press had picked up the story and followed through on the delivery of the picture to Gloria Segall. When it arrived special delivery in Philadelphia, Gloria took one look and said, "Harvey and I will always be good friends."If you're wondering how the story ends, Harvey married somebody else, and so did Gloria. The Picasso hangs in Gloria's living room.It was a story that caught the imagination of people all over the world. I received lots of letters after the column was published. My favorite came from an art dealer in New York, who wrote:"I can find you as many unhappy couples in New York City as you can get Picasso sketches. Two girls I know are on the verge of suicide if they don't hear from Picasso, and I know several couples in Greenwich Village who are in the initial stages of divorce. Please wire me how many you need. We both stand to make a fortune."Another letter, from Bud Grossman in London, said, "My wife threatens to leave me unless I can get her Khrushchev's autograph. She would like it signed on a Russian sable coat."
今天是我和帕勃洛•毕加索相遇的50周年纪念日。这件事发生得很是离奇。在那以前，我写过一篇专栏文章，让大家瞧瞧我收到的一些邮件有多荒唐。有一封寄自费城的信，是坦普尔大学一位名叫哈维•布洛德斯基的学生写的。哈维说他与一位叫格洛里亚•西格尔的姑娘坠入了爱河，希望有朝一日能娶她为妻。这位姑娘声称自己是活着的头号毕加索迷。这一对儿去参观了毕加索的一个画展，为了打动她，哈维告诉格洛里亚他很有可能弄到画家的签名。哈维的信继续往下写：“自从那件事后，格洛里亚不再和我见面。我干了件蠢事，她就甩了我，并告诉我她再也不想见我。“我写信给你是因为我不想放弃格洛里亚。你能给我弄到毕加索的签名吗？要是弄得到的话，我觉得格洛里亚和我还能再走到一块。两个年轻人的未来就取决于这个签名了。我知道，她没有了我很痛苦，我呢，没有了她心里不好受。一切都靠你的了。”在信的结尾，他写道：“我，哈维•布洛德斯基，庄严宣誓：任何阿尔特•布赫瓦尔德寄给我的东西（即毕加索的签名），我决不会卖掉或送给除了格洛里亚•西格尔以外的任何人。”我把这封信刊载在我的专栏里，让大家瞧瞧我收到的邮件有多可笑。信登出来时，摄影师戴维•邓肯正在戛纳和毕加索在一起，邓肯就把这封信翻译给毕加索听。毕加索很感动，他拿出有色粉笔，为格洛里亚•西格尔画了幅彩色速写，并签上了名。邓肯打电话告诉我这个好消息。我说：“见格洛里亚•西格尔个鬼，有我的份吗？”戴维把我的话向毕加索做了说明，他便用有色粉笔画了幅我们俩在一起手举酒杯的画，并在画的上方写道：“为阿尔特•布赫瓦尔德斟酒。”这个时候，美联社已嗅得了这个故事，并且一路追踪到将画交给格洛里亚•西格尔这一步。当画以邮件快递的方式到达费城时，格洛里亚看了一眼说：“哈维和我将永远是好朋友。”要是你想知道这个故事的结局，我可以告诉你。哈维娶了别人，格洛里亚也嫁了他人。毕加索的画现挂在格洛里亚家的起居室里。这个故事引发了世界各地人们的想象力。专栏文章发表后，我收到了许多信。我最喜欢的一封信来自纽约的一位画商，他这样写道：“你弄得到多少毕加索的画，我就能给你找到多少对不幸的人儿。有两个我认识的姑娘要是得不到毕加索的回音几乎就要自杀了。我还认识格林威治村几对正处于离婚初级阶段的夫妻。 请打电报告诉我你需要多少这样的人。我们俩也好赚一笔。”另一封信寄自伦敦的巴德•格罗斯曼，他说：“我妻子威胁说要离开我，除非我能给她搞到赫鲁晓夫的签名。她想让他把名字签在一件俄罗斯的紫貂皮大衣上。”*阿尔特•布赫瓦尔德（Art Buchwald, 1925—）美国幽默语言大师，美国艺术与文学院院士，曾获普例策奖。旧版的《大学英语》精读课本曾选用过他的“Ts There Life on Earth?”（邹红云，中国科学技术大学外语系）阿尔特•布赫瓦尔德