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A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907.[1][2][3]. Credit: A.F. Bradley,

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Mark Twain was once impressed by the tale of an industrious young man who had been offered a job after he was observed collecting pins which had been dropped on a sidewalk outside a company's offices.

Some time later, Twain, intent on working for a certain firm, was seen ostentatiously collecting pins (which he himself had earlier dropped) on the sidewalk facing its windows. Sure enough, having collected several pins, Twain was interrupted by a clerk from the firm.

"The boss asked me to tell you to move along," the man explained. "Your idiotic behavior is distracting people working in the office."

[Among Twain's patented inventions: an automatically self-adjusting vest strap and a self-pasting scrapbook.]

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