When the Committee Calls

by Jay Nordlinger

Here is an item from today’s Impromptus:

An American scientist, Jeffrey C. Hall, shared in a Nobel prize. When the committee called to give him the news, he said, “Is this a prank?”

(Story here.)

That is a common reaction. I always enjoy hearing about it.

Since writing that, I read about this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, given to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, whose executive director is Beatrice Fihn:

She said that she “worried that it was a prank” after getting a phone call just minutes before the official Peace Prize announcement was made. Fihn said she didn’t believe it until she heard the name of the group proclaimed on television.

I’ll have more to say about this award in due course.

Meanwhile, I thought of a story I heard long ago. Google tells me I wrote about it in an Impromptus of October 2002:

One of the funniest men I know is Farouk Dhondy, the London-based writer, documentary producer, etc. Several years ago, he attended an academic conference in Stockholm, with Salman Rushdie and some others. He tells of receiving the invitation: His phone rang, and someone said, “Hello, this is Dr. Eriksson of the Swedish Academy.” Farouk said, “Say no more: I accept.” The man — sportingly — said, “Uh, not yet, Mr. Dhondy. Perhaps later.”

Still waiting …

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