To call Jeremiah Teancrumpets, the British billionaire, irritable, short tempered and demanding would be like calling the Sahara a dry sandy desert in North Africa. His Excellency was known to a select few as “Jerry.” Everyone else called him “Sir Jeremiah,” or “M’Lord.”
At least to his face. But whether Jeremiah Teancrumpets was Jerry, or M’Lord to his face, many folks called him “that blankety-blank old blankety-blank,” behind his back.
Sir Jeremiah acquired his fortune the old fashioned way–he inherited it. His father, Lord Regis Teancrumpets acquired his piles of money in the same way. It’s difficult, but if you look deep enough into the roots of the aristocratic Teancrumpet family tree, you will find a gaggle of sharp-eared working-class ancestors.
These ancestors owned a dingy eatery where foreign entrepreneurs met clandestinely with the wealthy landed gentry to work out the details of very profitable overseas transactions. The clandestine proceedings were designed to keep the monarchy from demanding its cut of lucrative overseas deals. The Teancrumpet ancestors listened in on these business conversations. They opted for the low road with the information they garnered. They didn’t inform the crown as was their bounden duty. Instead the Teancrumpet ancestors took a cut of the action from the conspiring businessmen.
It was cheaper for the entrepreneurs to cut the eatery extorionists in on a small part of the profits than to risk losing their heads in the Tower of London. A couple of generations later, the lowly Teancrumpets were kissing the rest of the working class goodbye and moving on up to the the British aristocracy.
Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets inherited wealth, and, genetically speaking, he also inherited an irritable, short tempered, demanding personality, that almost cost him his life.
One of Sir J’s tirades precipitated a physical crisis that led to a transformation in his behavior. One morning in his dressing room Sir J’s trouser zipper stuck. He flew into a rage, and was going through his repertoire of obscenities and expletives at the top of his lungs when he suddenly coughed, gagged, and fell on the floor unconscious.
Tebbs, the butler, who was laying out Sir Jeremiah’s clothes, shouted to the upstairs maid and told her to phone for medical help. Then he began emergency CPR. Fortunately for Sir J, one of Britain’s leading research cardiologists owned the adjoining estate. Dr. Hanover came at once. He stabilized Sir Jeremiah, and then accompanied him in the ambulance to the hospital. It was Dr. Hanover who directed Sir J’s recovery and recuperation.
When it was clear that Sir Jeremiah was going to make a full recovery, Dr. Hanover told him: “Jerry if you fly into another one of those rages, you won’t survive it. If you want to live, you’re going to have to change your behavior. I can help you. In my research I have developed a simple, effective way for you to deal with your angry outbursts.”
An uncharacteristically subdued Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets inquired:
“What do I have to do?”
“Laugh,” said the doctor.
“LAUGH!” shouted Sir J.
“Out loud.” said Dr. Hanover quietly.
Sir Jeremiah’s left eye began twitching. Blood rose to his cheeks and his bald pate. Obscenities began to form. Sir Jeremiah was about to launch in to one of his classic anger fits.
“LAUGH, YOU MISERABLE BLIGHTER,” bellowed Dr. Hanover. “LAUGH OR YOU’LL BE DEAD IN TWO MINUTES!”
Rage and fear competed on the face of Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets. Fear won. The obscenities died in on his lips, and out of his mouth came a strangled gurgle, then a weak, lugubrious giggle.
“Good,” said the doctor. “Again. Laugh again, you old blister!”
For the next half hour Dr. Hanover insulted and cajoled Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets, and for the next half hour Sir J responded with increasingly fluent laughter.
There followed weeks of laugher therapy in Dr. Hanover’s clinic.
Thus it was that Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets learned to laugh his way back to good health–and increasing wealth. Soon Sir Jeremiah’s laugh was striking greater fear in the hearts of his adversaries than his rage ever had.
Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co