Comedian A. Whitney Brown said, “The saving grace of humor is, if you fail, at least you don’t have anyone laughing at you.” Take a break—here, for better or worse, are some favorite stories and jokes.
Equal pay for equal work
The motorcycle mechanic peers across the shop and recognizes a long-time customer—a renowned heart surgeon. Wiping the grease from his hands, he approaches the doctor and says, “I just pulled a state-of-the-art twin cam engine from that frame, tore it down, replaced a valve, put it back together, and fired it up. It works,” he explained proudly, “like the day it was driven off the showroom floor.”
“If we both do pretty much the same thing,” he continued, “how come you get paid fifty times what I do?” The surgeon smiled and replied, “Try doing it with the engine running.”
Here it is—straight from the Nestle Web site: “A study at Harvard University concluded that the feeding of Chew-eez strips did remove tartar build-up from dog’s teeth with no adverse health effects.” A few things before I get to my main point. First, I did a Google search and was shocked to find information about Chew-eez rawhide strips on the Nestle Web site. Nestle, if I remember correctly, is the manufacturer the stuff you make chocolate milk from aren’t they? I assume the dog stuff is not made anywhere near the chocolate milk stuff right? Check that out and get back with me will you?
Second, I’ve always thought of Harvard as the kinda poodle of colleges—so why the heck is Harvard studying chew strip tartar control? Can’t the community college folks wrestle that one to the ground? I mean is this what parents shell out big bucks for their kid to study? “Ashley’s going to attend the Graduate School of Canine Hygiene at Harvard… we couldn’t be prouder.”
Third, and perhaps most troubling, is the quote; “Chew-eez strips did remove tartar build-up from dog’s teeth.” Is that the best they could say? Jeez, a dog could chew on a stick and get tarter off his teeth, couldn’t she? If I’m investing real dollars in a study, I want a quote with words like “amazing” and “real shiny” —not “did.”
But all that is not the point. I wanted you to witness the chew-eez transformutation that took place after my dog Pico had finagled one of the aforementioned strips and anyone attempted to get within twelve feet of her (see the illustration). She absolutely lost it. One minute sweetness and light—next minute CUJO. Hey Harvard, study this!
A (supposedly) TRUE Story
A woman walks into an ice cream shop, steps up to the counter and orders a cone. After paying, she swings around and finds herself face to face with Paul Newman. He says hello and she nods, unable to speak. Moments later, as she makes her way down the street, she realizes she doesn’t have her ice cream cone. She returns to the shop and as she opens the door she again meets Newman who asks, “Are you looking for your ice cream cone?” “Yes,” she concedes. He smiles and motions, “You put it in your purse with your change.”
These are some of the folks who I find particularly funny. Hover over the picture and you’ll see a name, select the picture and you’ll see a scene from the time in their careers when they first appeared on my radar. I’m a big fan of standup and sketch comedy and have had the opportunity to see some of these and others work their magic to a live audience. They’ve brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces.
Wikipedia offers a rather comprehensive list of recognizable names.
Summer in New Hampshire
In nineteen sixty-whatever, I spent the summer with my Aunt Dot and Uncle Jack at Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. My most vivid memories of that summer include being pulled behind a sleek 427 inboard ski boat. (I was two feet below the surface of the water and had forgotten to let go.)
I also remember an encounter, while mowing the lawn, with a blacksnake which I promptly beat to death with a shovel. (Hey—in the suburbs “snake” means “bad”). And I’ll never forget my first brush with fame—I heard a new band called The Kingsmen play Louie Louie at a dancehall on the pier at Weir’s Beach. (Remember their other big hit?)
But I remember most fondly, a letter my Dad wrote me from home. It reads, in part:
We keep getting letters from you about clothes. We talked this over and finally figured out the problem.
Now that you have been away several weeks you have probably worn all of the clothes you took with you. Take a look under the bed, in the closet, etc. and you will find quite a pile. We purposely bought washable clothes (except the suit, have that dry cleaned) so that you could wear them again. Ask Aunt Dot about this. She has probably got a washer around the house and she knows about these things. You will find that all these clothes are usable several times before you have to get new ones…
Write soon. Don’t send any money now, we are getting along fairly well. Milk went up 2 cents a quart, but we’re still holding our own…
Needless to say, I survived the summer with the clothes I came with. I worked in my Aunt’s gift shop selling stuff like those little cedar signs that say “Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?” Somehow my parents suffered a month or two without me. Today, as he observes me frantically trying to steer my sons through the oncoming traffic of life, my dad has the grace and wisdom to fall on the floor and laugh his butt off.
The glamorous life of a design executive
What kind of pathetic loser would get himself into this situation (right)—cuffed, up against the wall, and a few precious inches from the steel teeth of a rabid biting machine? You guessed it—yours truly. The occasion was a photo shoot for a local police department—the photographer and I rode around with two officers for a day searching for suitable action—you know, like on Cops. Alas, we got to drive with the siren on but the day was short on genuine mayhem.
So the photographer said, “Hey Chuck, let’s fake a drug bust.” I, the lemming, agreed. There we were, on a well-traveled road in the midst of the big bust, when a lady in a minivan drives up, rolls down her window, and starts yelling greetings to her neighbor—the guy with the dog. What she was thinking will forever remain a mystery (“Gee, there’s Bob wrestling a mass murderer—I think I’ll pull over and say hi”).
As she was talking, I turned and wrenched my cuffed hands from around my back, waved and shouted “Hello!” Her jaw dropped. I like to think she went home that night to tell her family how lucky they were to be living in a town with such friendly felons.
Looking for a glamorous career as a designer? What the heck are you doing here?
A name is a name is a street
I was driving from there to here with my young son one day and noticed a sign for a new housing development called, and I’m not making this up, Rockstone. We got a chuckle out of it and came up with a few redundancies our own—like Forest Woods and Lawngrass—”Come play 18 holes at the beautiful Lawngrass Golf Course.”
It got me wondering about who makes up street names—and we came up with an idea or two of our own. Now aware of the name game, we continued home reading development signs and street names and found that there is some truly bizarre thinking going on. My favorite street name is in a development not far from our house, called Wild Tree Drive. What’s next? Crazy Bush Court?
After literally minutes of careful consideration and in-depth research, we devised The Ideabook.com Real Estate Naming Formula. If you’re a real estate developer, you’ll save big bucks by using it to name everything from your townhouse project to the community pool.
Simply choose one element from each column (and for a truly memorable name, add an adjective such as “Weeping” or “Soaring” to the beginning)…
A bird, flower, plant, tree, or critter
A geographical feature
The limo driver
A limo driver picks up the Pope at the airport. Traveling down the interstate, the Pope tells the driver “The only thing I miss about life before becoming Pope is that I don’t get to drive my own car anymore.” The accommodating driver replies, “Your Holiness, I’d be happy to switch with you—you come up here and drive—I’ll sit in the back.”
They pull to the side and change places. All goes well until the Pope sees flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror. He pulls to the side of the road and rolls down his window as the policeman approaches.
Startled by the world famous face, the officer turns on his heel and races back to his squad car. “Sergeant, you’re not going to believe this!” he blurts over the radio. “I just pulled over a limo and let me tell you, there’s someone very, very important inside.” “Who?!” asks the Sergeant. “I don’t know” replies the officer, “but the Pope is driving!”
A customer service tale
The president of an up-and-coming corporation is working late one evening when the phone rings. With no one left in the office, she picks it up and says, “Good evening, this is Sandra Bell.” The voice on the other end sounds frantic. “Sandra, my name is Bill Scott. I’m the CEO of Sampler Industries in Dallas. We bought your product last month and we’re having all kinds of problems with it. I have a group of foreign dignitaries due to tour our plant in 48 hours and your product is about to blow a 20 million dollar deal. I need to talk to someone tonight!”
“You’ve got the right person Mr. Scott,” answers Bell. “I’m the president of the company and I can assure you that we will have you up and running before your meeting. I know my products inside and out, so I think the best solution is for me to hop the next plane to Dallas and fix things myself. If I leave now, I should be there by early morning. Can you arrange for someone to let me into the plant after midnight?”
The CEO pauses for a second, thrilled to hear such a take-charge attitude. “Well yes,” he responds, “I’ll give you my home phone number and meet you there myself.”
“Excellent” says Bell, “I’ll call you when I arrive and we’ll have a look at that press.” “Press?” says the CEO, “I’m calling about the filtration system.” Confused, Bell says “Mr. Scott, this is the Margin Corporation, we manufacture die-cutting presses.” “My heavens” exclaims Scott, “is this 804-266-7000?” “No” answers Bell, “this is 266-8000!”
There was a long pause on the other end of the line, then Scott replies “Does this mean you’re not coming?”
About the rubber chicken illustration
This article is illustrated (top) with rubber chickens. As Wikipedia explains it: “The origin of the rubber chicken is obscure, but is possibly based on the use of pig bladders, which were inflated, attached to a stick and used as props or mock-weapons by jesters in the days before the development of plastic and latex. Chicken corpses were readily available; therefore jesters could employ them as variations of slapsticks.” Don’t you love Wikipedia?