Tag Archives: Kindness

April the Fool and the Psychic©

Back in April, 2015 I wrote a humor column titled “April the Fool.”
The column dealt with April Van Planton and his onery mother Lavida. Lavida and her husband had had six children and didn’t want any more. She went to the doctor for a pain in her stomach. When she was told she was pregnant, Lavida called the physician a “stupid old sawbones,” and smacked him in the head with her purse.
After the doctor’s diagnosis, Lavida made an appointment for a second opinion. This time she called the studio of Swami Samantha, a young psychic who just opened a practice in Letongaloosa.
“You’re not pregnant,” said the psychic.
“Then why do I have this pain?”
` “Do you drink orange juice?”
“Sure, every day for breakfast .”
“Switch to cranberry juice, and the pain will go away.”
Lavida switched to cranberry juice, and she did feel a lot better.
But nine months later she delivered a nine-pound baby boy.
The birth made Lavida so angry that she named the baby April. She chose that sissy name because she wanted April to be teased. She hoped he’d develop a mean streak, when he grew up. She wanted him to get into fistfights with his tormentors.
But April didn’t grow up to have a mean streak He grew up to be bright, kind and friendly. Everybody in town doted on him.
That drove Lavida nuts.
“You’re a fool, April,” she’d say.
“Yes, ma’am,” he’d say.
That drove Lavida even more nuts.
“You’re a stupid, no good, worthless bum,” she’d yell.
“I’m sorry, Momma,” he’d say. “I’ll try to be better.”
April studied hard. He got top grades even though Lavida insisted that he work long hours after school and on weekends.
When that failed to break April’s spirit, his mother gave up trying to ruin his life. Lavida died not long after that, a bitter and disillusioned woman.
In high school April aced the ACT and SAT exams. Top universities offered him four-year full-ride scholarships. April attended Harvard and graduated with a degree in business. He became CEO of a large company by the age of 30. After a successful career April retired and became an acclaimed motivational speaker.
One day Ted Palmer, president of the Letongaloosa Chamber of Commerce, saw April’s picture on the cover of a top flight business magazine. Ted had been one grade behind April in high school. On a whim Ted called the firm that booked April’s appearances and asked how much it would cost to have April speak at the chamber’s annual banquet.
“Mr. Van Planton’s fee for one speech is $50,000, unless you are a charitable organization,” said the person on the phone, “in which case it’s free. But he’s booked for charitable speeches through October, 2020”
Ted Palmer thanked her and hung up. The phone rang a few minutes later. It was April himself.
“Ted, I’d love to speak at your banquet for free,” he said.
Interest was so high that the Chamber of Commerce invited the public to attend April’s speech, and booked the largest auditorium in Letongaloosa for the event. April told Ted he wanted to approach to the microphone without introduction.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, “I’m April, the Fool.”
He got a standing ovation before he could even begin his speech—and, of course, another standing ovation after he’d finished.
April stayed in town after the speech. He wanted to meet the psychic who had had such an impact on his life. April had his executive assistant call in the appointment. The assistant requested a “back door, back room” psychic reading for an out-of-town visitor named Thomas Forman. The psychic’s reputation was wide spread, and she frequently did readings for out of town clients.
Wearing a hat and a raincoat with the collar turned up, April rapped on the back door of the psychic’s studio.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Forman, I’m Swami Samantha,” said the psychic.
“And I’m April the Fool.”
There was a long silence.
Then April said, “If you are free, I’d like to take you to dinner to thank you for all you did for me.”
-30-

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

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Eloise and the “Kindness” Phenomenon©

Longtime readers of this column will remember Eloise Simplekins in “Eloise Calls the Robo Callers,” and in “Packin Light Heat”. For those who haven’t met Eloise, following is an introduction to her from previous columns:

“Eloise Simpelkins grew up in Letongaloosa and worked as a cleaning lady. Later Eloise made a pile of money. She founded a company that serviced a fastidious segment of the nation’s wealthy homemakers. Eloises’s company sent pre-cleaning ladies to certain homes. The homemakers didn’t want the regular cleaning ladies to see all the mess and paid Eloise handsomely for her discrete pre-cleaning services.”
Eloise has learned from recent scientific studies that being kind to others has highly beneficial effects on the do-gooder’s own health and wellbeing. Naturally she wants to spread the good news nationwide. So Eloise contacts her friend Hadley “Cyberman” Wilkins. Hadley the brilliant electronic engineer who helped develop cell phone technology.
“Hadley,” said Eloise. “How goes it?”
“Busily, my philanthropic friend, how goes it with you?”
“I’m well. Listen. I want to disseminate some good information to a nationwide audience.”
“That’s a laudable goal. What’s the message?”
“I saw a survey that says people who are kind to others become healthier and live longer themselves.”
“Good information. That would people an incentive to be nice to each other.”
“I need a way to disseminate the information nationwide quickly and anonymously.
“How much information?”
“It’s just six short phrases. Thirty-five words or so.”
“That much info would fit on one screen of everybody’s cell phone.”
“How many cell phones is that?”
“Millions, just in the U.S.”
“Can you hack millions of cell phones simultaneously and not get caught?”
` “With the right algorithm .”
“Who has one?”
“I’d need to create one.”
“Can you?”
“For such a good cause I’ll sure try. Give me the list.”
Eloise sent Hadley the list of benefits for being kind to people.
A. Kindness is heart-healthy.
B. Kindness relieves stress
C. Being kind cuts down on illness
D. Being kind helps make your hormones healthy
E. Being kind can lengthen your life.
Weeks went by while Hadley wrestled with one of the hardest problems he’d ever worked on.
Finally Eloise received a one-word message: “Eureka!”
Then a day or two later came another message: “When do you want to do it?”
“How about Valentine’s Day?”
“Excellent idea.”
Around 9 a.m. on Valentine’s Day Hadley got a two-word order: “Do it.”
He pressed a button on a huge electronic console. Simultaneously millions of U.S. users got a “ding” on their cell phones. When they checked their screens, the kindness list beamed up at them.
That touch of a button caused a worldwide sensation. Communication networks crashed temporarily from the volume of messages, then righted themselves and got busy transmitting the reactions.
Investigations began everywhere. The official agencies of the U.S. government, and similar agencies worldwide, searched in vain for the source of what became known in a myriad of language as the “kindness” transmission.
Legislators opined, news organizations reported, editorial writers and columnists pontificated. “Kindness” discussions flourished in bar rooms from Helsinki to Perth.
Bridge club members quit bidding, and poker chips stopped hitting velvet tables while people talked about the Kindness list. Domino games in the Caribbean and Cricket matches in the Indian subcontinent were interrupted.
In the U.S. as Valentine’s Day approached, employment at greeting card factories doubled and tripled. The card makers ran three shifts a day. The U.S. Postal Service and private mail and package delivery companies took on hundreds of extra workers. The kindness phenomenon helped economy.
Predictably, opinions about the Kindness List varied wildly, but for a little while, the world became a kinder, gentler place.
Eloise and Hadley were shocked and amazed by the furor they had caused. At first they were frightened. But then they realized that the electronic firewall they had created was working. They remaining safe and anonymous.
They got together to chat on a super secure telephone connection.
“Wow!” said Eloise, “That was really something.”
“Whew!” said Hadley, “You bet it was.”
“So, said Eloise, what shall we do next year?”
-30-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

 

 

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