David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 3 — Husbands and Wives

Husbands and Wives

• Famed film director Werner Herzog is also an actor, but he says that he is most convincing when he plays “debased, dysfunctional, and hostile characters.” For example, he played one of these characters in Harmony Korine’s film Julien Donkey Boy, where he was very convincing indeed. In fact, some friends of his wife saw the film, then they telephoned her to say, “You are married to this monster; we are only one flight away and can give you shelter if you need it.” (Such misunderstandings do occur. The writer of this book has friends who were watching a video of the film The Color Purple, which includes scenes of a man beating a woman. They wanted to hear some dialogue that was partially covered up by screams, so they kept turning up the sound and watching the scene over and over. Eventually, police officers knocked on their door — a neighbor had telephoned and told the officers that a man was beating his wife.)

• At one time, Hollywood producers thought about doing a biopic on the life of Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes, but decided that it would be popular in and around Ohio State University but not nationally because of a lack of sex. Harold Schecter, faculty representative for Ohio State, advised the Hollywood producers about Woody’s life. He told Woody’s wife, Anne, that the Hollywood producers had decided not to do the biopic because Woody’s life didn’t have “a damn bit of sex of it.” What did Mrs. Hayes say? According to Harold, “She agreed … completely!” Actually, Woody and his wife had a son named Steve. (Mrs. Hayes once said, “I have to fight 85 to 100 football players for attention, but that is better than one skinny blonde.”)

• Shuichi Amano decided to make changes in his life after his wife’s response to a comment surprised him. Several of the middle-aged friends he worked with were getting divorces, and he asked his wife if she thought that was strange. She commented, “I think you will be next.” He broke out in a cold sweat, then realized that he had been behaving badly: “I realized I had only communicated three things to my wife: furo, meshi, and neru, which mean ‘bath,’ ‘dinner,’ and ‘sleep.’ It is the typical way for a strong husband to communicate with his family.” He saved his marriage by doing such things as taking out the garbage and washing the dishes, and in 1999, Mr. Amano founded Japan’s National Chauvinistic Husbands Association, whose purpose is to teach husbands such things as how to tell a wife, “I love you.”

• Abigail Scott Duniway was an early feminist, and she founded a newspaper titled the New Northwest, which advocated women’s rights. One day, she was on a stagecoach with a man who opposed women’s rights. He told her, “Madam, you ought to be at home, enjoying yourself, like my wife is doing. I want to bear all the hardship of life myself, and let her sit by the fire, toasting her footsies.” After he said that, the stagecoach dropped him off at his house, and all the passengers in the stagecoach saw the man’s wife — chopping wood for the fireplace. Mrs. Duniway remarked, dryly, “I see, my friend, that your wife is toasting her footsies!” (By the way, the man acquired a new nickname that day: Old Footsie Toaster.)

• Country music superstar Garth Brooks met his first wife, Sandy Mahl, in a women’s restroom. He was working as a bouncer in an Oklahoma bar called Tumbleweeds. An incident happened in the women’s restroom, and he was called for assistance. There he found an attractive blonde woman who needed help to remove her fist from a hole she had made in the plywood wall. The blonde woman explained that she and another woman had been fighting over a man and “I missed.” That woman was Sandy, and she and Garth were married on May 24, 1986.

• When author Gary Paulsen first competed in the Iditarod, a 1,049-mile dog-sled race beginning in Anchorage, Alaska, he trained at night, when skunks are active. After a skunk sprayed Mr. Paulsen one night, his wife asked him to sleep in the kennel with the dogs. Mr. Paulsen thought that this was an excellent idea, as it would help him understand his dogs better for the race, and he started spending much time in his dog kennel.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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