David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — Husbands and Wives, Language, Mishaps

Husbands and Wives

• Benjamin Disraeli once complimented his wife by saying, “Why, my dear, you are more like a mistress than a wife.” She was pleased with the compliment.

• When Wilson Mizner sued his wife for divorce, he was asked on which grounds he wanted the divorce. He replied, “Marriage is sufficient.”

Language

• Martha, the daughter of Quaker humorist Tom Mullen, married a Japanese man and moved to Japan. She learned the language and adjusted to the differences in cultures well. When her parents, Tom and Nancy, visited, they tried to learn a few phrases of Japanese. However, Martha sometimes laughed at their attempts to speak the language, telling them that they had invited some people to eat lunch in the bathroom or had called someone a train station.

• When Panamanian salsa singer Rubén Blades married Lisa Lebenzon, an Anglo (a white American not of Spanish descent) non-Spanish speaker, he asked her to learn Spanish so he could speak his native language at home. She finished in only seven months a Spanish course that normally took three years.

Mishaps

• Arturo Toscanini loved music so much that if something went wrong at a concert, he would tear his dressing room apart—and sometimes the offending musicians. At a performance of La Bohème, the brasses entered a little too soon at the conclusion. Only a professional could tell, but Mr. Toscanini was a professional. After retiring to his dressing room and kicking it to pieces (despite the immense applause of the audience), he sent for the brasses, who were still waiting because they knew Mr. Toscanini would want to talk to them. The brasses walked into the Maestro’s dressing room with their heads hanging down. Mr. Toscanini inspected them, then said, “I hang my head in shame. After what happened tonight, my life is finished. For me it is impossible to look in the face of anybody. I can live no more.” Mr. Toscanini then focused on the main offender, the leader of the brasses: “But you—you will sleep with your wife tonight as if nothing happened. I know you.”

• Lady Georgina Coleridge had a Great-Aunt Christine who was very absent-minded. One day, Great-Aunt Christine and her son John were riding in a train when it suddenly came to an emergency stop—Great-Aunt Christine had somehow hooked her umbrella into the emergency cord and pulled it. There was a great commotion and her son John  ended up paying a fine. The train started again, and Great-Aunt Christine mulled over the incident. Finally, she said to her son, “Darling, I cannot understand why those men made such a fuss. All I did was this”—and she hooked her umbrella into the emergency cord and pulled it again. The result? Both Great-Aunt Christine and her son spent the night at a police station.

• When Ohio University student Nathaniel Sturgil was a child, an alarm clock caused a major panic in his family. The alarm was set very loud to allow the family to wake up to music, but one morning a radio drama was playing on the station. The radio drama was about a house fire, and the crackling of the flames could be heard very clearly. His mother ran screaming through the house, waking up her children and making them go outside until she realized her mistake.

• Lord Charles Beresford once enjoyed a visit to an English house in the country. That night, he made his way in the dark to what he thought was the door to his lover’s bedroom. Unfortunately, he had missed his way. Entering what he thought was the right bedroom, he cried “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” and jumped into bed—only to land in between the Bishop of Leicester and the Bishop’s wife.

• Many families have stories about how the parents met, fell in love, got engaged, then married, and started raising a family. For example, when the father of Ohio University student Emily Kresiak proposed to her mother, it was April Fool’s Day, although he didn’t realize that. It took a long time for her mother to realize that her father was serious in proposing to her.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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