I first met Art Buchwald in Paris, when I was thirteen years old. Until I was twelve, I had never left California. Then my family started taking summers trips to Europe. We traveled by train from Los Angeles to New York and then by ship to Europe. Art Buchwald was an old friend of my father's, and he and my father had spent a lot of time hanging out together in their pre-fame days. Buchwald was an expert in everything Parisian. He knew all of Paris' overlooked highlights, from where to find the city's tastiest croissants to which café was the best for viewing pretty women.
When Mr. Buchwald discovered that I read his column regularly and that I liked humorous writing, he asked, "Have you ever heard of Ephraim Kishon, the Israeli humorist?" No, I had never heard of Ephraim Kishon. The next day, in the hotel bar, Mr. Buchwald handed me a copy of Look Back, Mrs. Lot, the first collection of Kishon's writings to be translated into English. I devoured the stories in the book. To this day, when I see Look Back, Mrs. Lot on my bookshelf, I smile. Fortunately, my favorite Kishon story, Jewish Poker, is available online.
I did not share Kishon's political views. Still, as a way of honoring Art Buchwald, I would also like to honor Ephraim Kishon, the man Buchwald called, "The second funniest humorist I know." Kishon died January 29, 2005.