• At the 1946 NCAA tournament, a basketball fan kept booing Referee Ike Craig, unaware that Mr. Craig’s wife and small son were sitting near him. At one point, the fan yelled, “That referee is a dope.” Mr. Craig’s small son responded, “That dope is my daddy.” The fan, out of respect for Mr. Craig’s small son, remained quiet for the rest of the game.
• The father of Anne McCaffrey, author of the Pern novels about telepathic dragons, was a military man. He taught his young children how to march in formation and do close-order drills, and when he called them using his parade-ground voice, the neighborhood for three blocks around could hear him.
• Comedian Stan Freberg was running late at the St. Louis airport, and he bought a big, beautiful sandwich, hoping to eat it before getting on the plane since he knew this was a no-meal flight. Unfortunately, because he was running late, he had no time to eat his sandwich. Not wanting to eat in front of the other people on the plane, he took one bite of the sandwich, then he left it, wrapped up, on an ashtray. However, the air conditioning was busted on the airplane, and all the passengers had to disembark. There on the ashtray was Mr. Freberg’s sandwich, just as he had left it. He was still hungry, so he picked the sandwich up. Behind him, he heard a little girl say, “Mommy! That man took a dirty old sandwich off the ashtray!” He then bit into the sandwich and made a show of enjoying it: “Mmmmmm, delicious!” The little girl said, “Eeeeyooo! Now he’s eating it!” Mr. Freberg got quite a bit of attention, but the sandwich was delicious.
• The wife of a newlywed husband made him a burrito. It was a horrible burrito, but he was a newlywed, so he ate it and asked for another, which he also ate. The next morning, the burritos began to disrupt his lower digestive system while he was on his way to work, so he left the subway early and started looking in desperation for a bathroom. He didn’t find one in time, soiled his pants, and hailed a taxi and paid the driver $100 to take him home — the extra money was for obvious reasons. At home, he took a shower, then turned on the TV — only to see footage of a plane that September 11th, 2001, crashing directly into his office at the World Trade Center.
• Always a comic, Zero Mostel entertained whenever a crowd was present — a crowd being defined as himself and one other person. Even when eating in restaurants, Mr. Mostel tried to make the other diners laugh. Amused by the pretentiousness of the waiters at Maxim’s in Paris, Mr. Mostel asked the sommelier for a Coke, then began an elaborate pantomime of tasting and sniffing the soft drink. Finally, he spit the drink back in the glass and told the sommelier to take it back because it was “too young.” In addition, at the end of the meal Mr. Mostel often glared at the waiter as he paid his bill, then said, “My lawyers will be here in the morning.”
• Ramones lead singer Joey Ramone was a nice guy. Early in his career, he would go to a New York deli and order two cups of coffee. Feeling bad because this was such a small order, he would also order two bottles of Evian water. He then would take the order back to his apartment and drink the coffee, but usually not drink the water. He also was a bachelor housekeeper who seldom cleaned his apartment. His friend Daniel Rey would visit Joey and see dozens of deli bags, dozens of empty coffee containers, and dozens of unopened bottles of Evian water. Joey would ask, “Hey, you want a water?”
• Hunger and poverty can and do exist in the United States. However, frugality and intelligence also exist. When Patt Morrison was growing up, her father had a job climbing electric lines. Her family had a garden and was frugal, but once in a while her family would have what her mother called “special treat” pancake suppers. The name made these suppers sound attractive, and to young Patt, they were special treats. However, when she was a lot older, she discovered that “special treat” pancakes were served on days when very little food was left in the house just before payday.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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