David Bruce Anecdotes
• If you become a soldier, you will be issued ID tags, aka dog tags. Their purpose is to help identify your corpse if you are killed in such a way that your features are not recognizable or if your corpse is not buried right away and so your features become unrecognizable. ID tags are a wonderful invention because they allow your family to know that you are dead instead of wondering and wondering whether you are alive or dead — a fate even worse than knowing that you are dead. During World War I, the Germans were fighting the French during the spring offensive of 1916. Some German soldiers in Melchior Baptist’s platoon discovered two French soldiers who had been lying unburied for two or three months due to the fighting and due to their hidden location. The Germans pitied the families of the dead French soldiers, so they took the ID tags from the soldiers’ corpses before burying them. At the time, the German and the French lines were very close together, and sometimes only 10 yards separated them. The Germans threw the ID tags to the French line. Later, the French threw back a thank-you note.
• In her book Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays, children’s book author Peg Kehret tells the story of Ivan, a dog adopted from an animal shelter by Taj Brumleve, who is legally deaf and who wanted to train her own hearing-aid dog to do such things as let her know when the telephone or the doorbell was ringing. It’s a good thing she adopted Ivan to take care of her and Alexandra, her hearing-impaired daughter. One day after she had put Alexandra to bed, Taj lay on the couch to take a nap. She woke up when Ivan — a big dog that weighed 60 pounds — climbed on her chest. When she woke up, she discovered that the room was filled with smoke. As soon as Taj woke up, Ivan went upstairs, woke up Alexandra, took her shirtsleeve in his mouth, and led her downstairs. Taj, Alexandra, and Ivan all got out of the house safely, a neighbor called 911, and fire fighters put out the fire. The American Red Cross gave Ivan an award, and at the award ceremony Ivan wore a vest and a bow tie. At the award ceremony, Taj said, “The lesson that should come out of this is that if you love your animals, they will love you.”
• When Albert Schweitzer was a youth, he was very good at hitting targets with a stone thrown from a slingshot. One day, a boy in a group of his friends told him to hit one of the birds that were in a tree nearby. However, immediately a church bell began to ring and the birds flew away. As an adult, Mr. Schweitzer wrote, “The music drove the commandment into my heart, ‘Thou shalt not kill!’ It was one of the great experiences of my childhood and life.” This led to his reverence for life. His wife greatly loved him. When he met Helene Breslau, he had already the ambition of going to Africa and opening a hospital, which would involve great hardships. He told Helene of these hardships, but she said merely, “I will take a training course in nursing, and then you won’t be able to go without me.” The two, physician and nurse in addition to being husband and wife, did go to Africa, and they opened a hospital.
• Back when Tucson Weekly columnist Tom Danehy was in high school, he and some other guys played a Halloween trick on a friend. All together, they decided to dress in costumes on Halloween for school. But after the friend left, they decided not to. The next day, the friend showed up dressed as a pirate, while Tom and the other guys were dressed normally. The following year, they got together and decided again to get dressed up in costumes on Halloween for school. The friend didn’t want to be fooled again, so he showed up for school in normal clothing. Of course, Tom and the other guys were dressed in costumes. As Tom says, “There’s nothing like squeezing two gotchas out of the same gag.” And one Halloween while he was in college Tom told a friend with a beard to spray the beard with Right Guard deodorant so he could go to a costume party as an armpit. By the way, one Halloween his wife made a very inventive costume for their son. She cut a rectangular area out of the front of a cardboard box that fit over their son’s head. She then covered the rectangular area with gauze, and she put a glow stick in the cardboard box so it looked like a glowing computer screen. Next, she attached a realistic-looking keyboard to the cardboard box. Finally, she gave their son a toy ax, completing his outfit as a computer hacker.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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