David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 —Baseball, Bathrooms, Children

Baseball

• Fans of baseball understand the words “Tinker to Evers to Chance.” They were a famed team of Chicago Cubs infielders who made many double plays when shortstop Joe Tinker stopped the ball, then threw it to second baseman Johnny Evers, who then threw it to first baseman Frank Chance. Fans of baseball include entire families, of course. When sportswriter Steve Jacobson was growing up, and his father passed the potatoes to him, and he then passed them to his mother, his mother would say, “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Bathrooms

• When children’s book writer Tomie dePaola was in the second grade, he often got a ride home after school with the father of Jeannie, a friend at school. However, often Tomie dawdled and missed his ride and had to walk home. When this happened, he sometimes needed to go to the bathroom, so he would knock at the door of the home of another friend, Carol, whose mother would let him use their bathroom. One day, Carol’s mother was not at home, so young Tomie wet his pants and walked home with wet, uncomfortable corduroy pants. His mother simply cleaned him up when he got home, but Buddy, his older brother, laughed and told him, “Just go in the bushes.”

• Maureen Stapleton was afraid of flying, and on a cross-country trip she sat next to friend and fellow actor Eli Wallach and held his hand. At one point he told her that he had to go to the restroom, and she told him, “All right. Let’s go.” She held his hand as she walked with him to the restroom, then waited outside. When he left the restroom, she held his hand and walked with him back to their seats. She then told him, “Buckle up — and no more bathroom privileges for you.”

• Some children are very honest and direct in what they say, and some children know anatomical words to use when speaking honestly and directly. When Constance Ledlow’s daughter was in the second grade, she raised her hand to ask permission to go to the bathroom. The teacher asked what she needed to do: number one or number two? Ms. Ledlow’s daughter replied, “Neither, my vagina itches and I need to scratch it, then wash my hands.” (She probably meant to say “vulva.”)

Children

• Quaker humorist Tom Mullen once took his family to Old Town, a section of Chicago that he knew as an artists’ hangout, but that unfortunately had been invaded by strip clubs, porno theaters, prostitutes, pimps, and johns. His seven-year-old daughter, Ruthie, was all eyes, staring through the car window and asking embarrassing questions such as “Why isn’t that woman wearing any underwear?” and “What does ‘l-u-s-t’ mean?” Eventually, she asked, “How come all those men are going into that place?” Mr. Mullen replied, “Ask your mother, dear” — a reply that he admits may possibly be grounds for divorce. However, his wife gave an honest answer: “Those men are buying tickets to see someone’s bare bottom.” Ruthie asked, “Why would anyone pay money to see somebody’s bare bottom?” Indeed. An advertisement asks, “What kind of man reads Playboy?” Mr. Mullen answers that question: “Witty, sophisticated types who pay to see somebody’s bare bottom.”

• Grover Dale started out poor, but became a millionaire through dance; however, he became involved in dance through accident. A neighbor wanted her son to have a companion in his tap-dance class, so she offered to pay for nine-year-old Grover’s lessons if he would attend the class with her son. Mr. Dale says, “If that woman had not come to my house that day, I don’t think I would have ever stepped foot inside a dance studio.” Another woman who greatly helped him was Lillian Jasper, the dance teacher. He enjoyed dancing and had obvious talent for it, but when the other kids started teasing him by calling him Mr. Tap Toe, he was ready to quit dancing. Fortunately, Ms. Jaspers told him, “Don’t quit! I’ll pay you to assist me.” She paid him $9 a week, and if not for that money, he would have given up dance. Of course, Mr. Dale became a dancer on Broadway and later published and edited L.A. Dance and Fitness.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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