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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 5 — Practical Jokes, Problem-Solving

David Bruce Anecdotes

Practical Jokes

• Humorist Mark Twain, author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, once stayed at the home of political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who first used the images of an elephant and a donkey to represent the Republican and the Democratic parties. During the night, Mr. Twain was bothered by the sounds of the Nast family’s clocks, so he got up and stopped all of them. The next morning, everyone overslept. Mr. Twain explained what had happened and stated that the clocks had been working too hard, so they should benefit from a good night’s rest.

• Actor David Garrick was good friends with artist William Hogarth, and he sat for many portraits with him. In fact, Mr. Garrick was such a good friend and such a good actor that after novelist Henry Fielding died, Mr. Garrick sat for Mr. Fielding’s portrait, excellently imitating his late friend. Of course, Mr. Garrick was not above teasing a friend. Once, Mr. Hogarth was painting Mr. Garrick’s portrait, but had to stop because Mr. Garrick kept using his acting ability to constantly change the expression on his face.

• While writing his multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, Carl Sandburg became completely engrossed in his subject. A couple of practical jokers decided to dress a tall man up as Lincoln and have him walk by the restaurant where Sandburg ate breakfast each morning. Mr. Sandburg noticed the tall man dressed as Lincoln, and without blinking or even slowing his stride, said, “Good morning, Mr. President,” then went into the restaurant for breakfast.

• Political cartoonist Thomas Nast used to go out on the lecture circuit and create drawings as he talked to his audience and answered questions. One of the most popular parts of his lecture occurred when he drew in front of the audience a picture that no one thought made any sense — until he turned it right side up and showed the audience that it was a picture of Niagara Falls!


• How bad do you want it, and what are you willing to do to get it? All of us have asked that question to ourselves, and many different answers result. As for being high school prom queen, Leslie Hall says, “I just wanted it really, really bad.” She did the usual things to get what she wanted: making posters and being nice to the members of the prom committee. She also did something unusual: In the homecoming parade, she wore a dress she had gotten from Goodwill, and she wore a neck brace. She ended up with her photograph on the front page of the local newspaper — and more. Ms. Hall says, “I went for ‘crippled, poor and innocent,’ and people loved it — they just ate it up. It’s amazing what a little creative campaigning can getcha.” What can it getcha? She answers, “The crown, actually. It can get you the crown.” More recently, Ms. Leslie is well known for her online collection of gem sweaters at < > and for her electro-rap videos on <>.

• On the frontier, unqualified people sometimes felt that they had been called to preach. In such cases, other religious people would try to find an unhurtful way to prevent these unqualified people from preaching. One such unqualified person had size 13 feet, so the examining committee denied him a license to preach because the Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings.” The unqualified person accepted this because he remembered that when he had heard the call to preach, he had been in bed and his feet were covered up, and so the spirit world must have made a mistake. In another case, a person saw a vision in which the flaming letters “G.P.C.” had appeared in the sky — letters that he interpreted as meaning, “Go Preach Christ.” However, an old deacon who felt that the applicant was unqualified to preach said that knowing the applicant as well as he did, he felt sure that the letters stood for “Go Pick Cotton.”

• A woman was bothered at work by men who kept trying to date her, even though she had already turned each of them down many times. She felt like telling them that she was a lesbian, but she didn’t want to make it seem like she was using her sexual orientation as a weapon against them to make them stop. Instead, she wanted to come out more naturally. Finally, she invited her lover to a company picnic. The men thought her lover was hot, and they tried to date her at first. However, at the picnic, she let her lover lay in her lap, she played with her lover’s hair, and finally the men got the idea that these two women were lovers. She says, “From then on I was not only left alone by them at work, but I swear I was completely respected. I was an out lesbian who didn’t threaten them and scream at them but just lived her life, and I think it got through.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Families, Volume 5 — Smashwords (Free Download)


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2 responses to “David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 5 — Practical Jokes, Problem-Solving”

  1. When I was a substitute teacher one of the parlor tricks I would employ to keep the kids paying attention was to do a cartoon of each one as the day went on. By the end of the day the board was full of little faces. I always knew Nast and I had something in common.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. R. L Stein, author of GOOSEBUMPS and FEAR STREET, used to have reading day each Friday. Kids could read anything as long as it was reading. His students let him read a lot of comic books he hadn’t read before.

      Liked by 1 person

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