David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — Prejudice, Profanity

Prejudice

• In 1969, the Civil Rights movement was going full blast in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Blacks boycotted most white-owned stores, but they continued to buy groceries from a store owned by Deacon Patenotte, a white member of the NAACP. Some of the few whites who continued to buy groceries from that store were country comedian Jerry Clower and his family. Once, another white man forcefully told Mr. Clower that he should not be buying his groceries there. Mr. Clower replied, “Go ahead, call [newscaster] Walter Cronkite on the telephone. Go down there, and as I come out the front door of the store, shoot me. And let Walter focus that camera on the blood and say, ‘War veteran, father of four, shot down in a free country trying to buy groceries at the store of his choice.”

• When lesbian humorist Ellen Orleans stopped in Ann Arbor, Michigan, during a book tour, a bookstore named Once Upon a Time mightily impressed her with its gay and lesbian merchandise—not just books, but also such materials as mouse pads with gay themes, greeting cards with gay themes, and rainbow jogging shorts. At first, she assumed the people from the university were good customers there, but she was mistaken. A worker explained why the college crowd was afraid to come there: “This is farm country. Conservative farm country. Gay people lose jobs.”

• Female hockey player Cammi Granato sometimes ran into prejudice because of her gender. When she was a kid playing on a boys’ hockey team, an opposing player hit her, knocked her out briefly, and gave her a concussion. After the game, the boy apologized, saying, “I’m really sorry I hit you—my dad made me do it.” In 1998, she won an Olympic gold medal as a member of the United States women’s hockey team.

• Martin Luther King, Jr.’s first experience with prejudice came early in his life. Before he was old enough to go to school, he played with two white boys who lived across the street. Unfortunately, as soon as Martin and the other boys were old enough to go to school, Martin went to the school for African Americans and his white friends went to the school for whites. When Martin went across the street to play with the white boys, their mother told him that they couldn’t play with him anymore.

• Occasionally, lesbian comedian Judy Carter hears a bigot say something like, “Homosexuals have an abominable lifestyle. People who care about traditional family values must not encourage the open expression of this sexual depravity.” When this happens, she tells the bigot, “The family values we homosexuals uphold are support, love, understanding, and respect.”

Profanity

• In the excellent family book Mama’s Bank Account (and excellent family movie I Remember Mama), Uncle Chris teaches a couple of Norwegian cuss words to a young boy who is in pain after an operation. One cuss word is to be used when the pain is great, and the other, even worse cuss word is to be used when the pain is very great. According to the young boy, using the cuss words helps. (Remember: Cuss words will not help if you use them casually, so save them for when you need them—and before having an operation, learn some cuss words in a foreign language so you don’t shock the Candystripers.)

• Ky Laffoon was known to get very angry occasionally on the golf course, and when he got angry, he was known to engage in profanity that profoundly embarrassed his wife, who left whenever she heard him using such language. Once, after promising his wife that he would not cuss because of his golf game, Mr. Laffoon made a mighty effort, but under great duress due to hitting his ball into a bed of honeysuckle, he let fly with some awful language. As usual, his wife started to walk away, but Mr. Laffoon ran after her and explained, “It wasn’t anything to do with the golf—I just don’t like honeysuckle.”

• As a youngster, Dominique Moceanu began her training in gymnastics with some other girls. They disliked one particular coach, so Dominique taught the other young gymnasts some Romanian words to say to him. Fellow gymnast Shelly Cavaliere guesses that they were “bad words.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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