David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — People with Handicaps, Physicians, Prejudice

People With Handicaps

• Clement Freud, who was later a Member of Parliament, remembers his most embarrassing moment. When he was young, he went to a cocktail party, where he went up to a young couple and asked if he could get them some drinks. The young woman made a few movements with her hands, then said, “No, thank you.” So Mr. Freud asked if he could get them some canapés. Once again, the woman made a few movements with her hands, then said, “No, thank you very much.” Mr. Freud then asked if she had ever tried this, and he beat out a pat-a-cake rhythm on the table, then stuck his fingers in his ears. The woman replied, “Actually, my husband is deaf and I was explaining your questions to him.”

• “Tiger” Jim Sewell became blind as a result of an injury suffered on the carrier USS Hornet during World War II. He immediately sent a telegram to his fiancé to call off the wedding, but she caught the next plane to his hometown and said to him, “You are not going to get out of marrying me because you’re blind.” They were married three days later. Mr. Sewell, who became a Texas legislator, believed, “A blind person has to work at making sighted people around him comfortable.” Frequently, he complimented women he couldn’t see: “You look so nice today.” Also, he would sometimes comment to his friends, “Just look at that sunset. Isn’t it pretty?”

• Nicole suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which reduces her ability to walk, run, and play physical games. However, her friends included her in their games anyway. In games that require running, Nicole served as referee. When her friends had skating parties, they invited Nicole, who played arcade games while the others skated. Once her friends finished skating, they played arcade games with Nicole.

• Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li’l Abner, had a wooden leg, a fact which his children and later his grandchildren took in stride. When his children were young, they would rise early to get their father’s “broken leg” out so that he could use it. In addition, Mr. Capp used to pleasantly shock his children and grandchildren with his method of keeping his sock up on his wooden leg—he used tacks.

Physicians

• A three-year-old boy named Tommy Hess broke his foot, and his physician explained that he would have to wear a cast on it. The physician also explained that getting the cast put on could be painful. Little Tommy extended his foot, the physician put the cast on it, and after the 45-minute procedure was over, the physician discovered that little Tommy had extended the foot that was not broken.

• Dr. Cyril Solomon of New York once received a telephone call from a man who asked him to help his wife, who had a case of appendicitis. Dr. Solomon said, “Nonsense. I took your wife’s appendix out five years ago. Nobody can have appendicitis again after their appendix has been removed.” The man replied, “Maybe so, but a man can get divorced, then remarried, can’t he?”

Prejudice

• Bette Midler says, “Group conformity scares the pants off me because it’s so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn’t want to—or can’t—join the Big Parade.” She has good reason to believe this. Back in her sophomore year in high school, she knew a boy named Angel Wong of Puerto Rican and Chinese parentage. Unfortunately for him, he was skinny, weighed little, had crossed eyes, and walked with a limp. He also played a bass fiddle that was larger than he was. This combination, of course, made him a favorite target of the group conformists. One day, some group conformists locked him in his empty bass fiddle case, and left him there until a teacher asked where he was. That night, Angel didn’t go home, and the next morning his parents went to the school to ask what had happened to him. A week later, his corpse was found dangling from a tree 10 miles outside of town. He had left a suicide note: “I’M TIRED OF BEING THE PUNCH LINE.”

Note: Most of the anecdotes in this book are funny, but some are thought provoking rather than funny.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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