David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Parents, Physicians, Practical Jokes, Prejudice


• Trevor Mark Sage-EL is a bi-racial child growing up in New Jersey. His father is black, and his mother is white. When people ask Trevor what he is, he replies, “Human.” And when he thinks it is necessary, he asks, “What are you? Alien?”


• Leila Denmark, born 1898, was still practicing pediatric medicine at age 100. Her advice often drew on her long experience in life. Once, a mother called Dr. Denmark after her two children had gotten pinworm. Dr. Denmark told her that it wasn’t anything to worry about and to bring the children to her clinic on Monday. Then Dr. Denmark asked why the mother was crying. After learning that she was crying because her husband was blaming her for the children’s contracting pinworm, Dr. Denmark made a prescription: “You go gather the family up, and everybody go on a picnic today.”

• A man was doing minor repairs around the house, and he decided to revarnish the toilet seat. Unfortunately, he forgot to tell his wife, and a short time later, he heard her calling from the bathroom, “I’m stuck!” Unable to free his wife, the man unbolted the toilet seat and carried both her and it to the bedroom, where he placed her face down on the bed, then called their physician. The physician arrived, surveyed the situation, then said, “I agree that it’s very pretty, but why did you decide to frame it?”

Practical Jokes

• When Al Gore was appearing on the TV program Larry King Live, his wife, Tipper, phoned in and, disguising her voice, said, “I just had to tell you — you’re the most handsome man I’ve ever seen.” Still disguising her voice, she asked him for a date. Mr. Gore didn’t recognize her voice, so he was embarrassed as he tried to stammer out an answer. Finally, Mr. King pointed out that Mr. Gore was a married man and so of course he wouldn’t be willing to make a date. Using her own voice, Mrs. Gore then asked, “Not even with his wife?”

• Comedian Robin Williams’ mother had a sense of humor. She once attended an invitational dance at the Lake Forest — Lake Bluff (Illinois) Bath and Tennis Club. She dressed extremely well, but she also blacked out her front teeth, making herself appear toothless. All around her, people were saying, “You’d think someone who could afford clothes like that could afford to get her teeth fixed.”

• Beatrice Kaufman once asked Alexander Woollcott to write a reference letter so her daughter could attend a certain school. As a joke, Mr. Woollcott sent to Mrs. Kaufman what she took to be a carbon copy of his reference letter, which began: “I implore you to accept this unfortunate child and remove her from her shocking environment.”


• As a bi-racial child, Trevor Mark Sage-EL is aware of racism. His father is black, and his mother is white. When his parents needed a loan to buy a house, they went together to a bank, where their loan application was turned down. So the next time his mother went alone to the bank, and this time their loan application was accepted. Trevor also is aware that his family is treated differently when he is alone with his father than when he is alone with his mother. Once, a woman thought that his father, who was eating a hamburger, was going to steal her purse. That kind of thing doesn’t happen when Trevor is alone with his mother.

• Families change. Two parents discovered that their young son was gay, and they took the news so badly that their son ran away for a year. They were overwhelmed with remorse and did their best to track their son down. Eventually, they discovered that he was in Portland, Oregon, so they went to the police there for help, but the woman police officer the father first contacted immediately told him that homosexuality is wrong. The father told her, “I don’t give a d*mn how you feel about it. This is my son and I need to find him — he’s 15 years old.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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