Tag Archives: Life

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.”
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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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A Twist On Some Sports Clichés

The Sports Cliché :                                The Twist:

“It was a slam dunk”………. Right into his coffee mug.

“It’s gut-check time”………Dude, you’ve gained 14 inches.

“Keep your eye on the ball”….Someone stole the last one.

“That was a hole in one”….No, that was the two ball in the side pocket.

“They didn’t pull any punches”….instead they pulled out their lunchboxes.

“They always step up to the plate”…..when Mom serves spaghetti and meatballs.

“They talk a good game”…but they don’t known a pawn from a bishop.

“Their in a league of their own”….and they play a mean game of tic-tac-toe.

“They want to play hard ball’….but the tennis racket always breaks.

“The ball is in your court”…..and we object your Honor.

“They answered the bell”…..as soon as the pizza arrived.

“Take one for the team”……..and two for the locker room attendant.

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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The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle, Christmas Edition ©

Looking at the pages of the Tuesday edition of The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle, managing editor, Isabella Frost knew it was going to be a long night.  Ever since she was a young, bright-eyed copy editor, ignoring the clock on the wall had been a tradition. There was a lot to do and she had a “to-do” list a mile long to prove it.

After nearly 40 years in the newsroom, that was one thing that never changed. Isabella was used to working late. To be honest, she enjoyed the time it took and the excitement of putting out a newspaper, especially during the holiday season. She liked seeing all of the brilliant colors of pictures and the heart-warming stories of the town coming together splashed all over the pages.  After all these years, they always filled her heart with joy.

Isabella closed her eyes, took a deep breath and remembered she needed to make room for the full-page ad that would accompany the feature for Dexter Dolby’s new movie, Attack of the 50-Foot Reindeer. She also needed to include milk to her list of things to pick up on her way home before she continued gazing at the words and pictures intermingling across tomorrow’s layout.  She was content with her life and the work she had done.  Then something peculiar caught her attention—she couldn’t look away.

Every story seemed to be in a “Top 10 List” format. As she clicked through each section, there were lists after lists scattered all throughout the pages. In the age of social media, Isabella knows that lists are a quick and effective way to tell a story. She, herself, has used them and keeps countless lists stored in her phone: “to-do” lists, lists for potential articles she wants to write, even her grocery list on her refrigerator is synced to her phone so even if she forgets to write milk to her shopping list, it’s not a big deal. Isabella can just send the list that is on her refrigerator to her phone and call it a day.

There is “Top 10”lists for everything nowadays. Every newspaper, magazine and media outlet around the globe seems to gravitate towards using them, not as just an element to a story, but as the primary way to relay information to the masses.

And Isabella saw that The Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle is definitely keeping up with current trends. The headlines staring back at her were: Top 10 Best Christmas Gifts for Chefs, The 10 Best Christmas Yodeling Albums of 2017, Merry Duggins’ List of the 10 Best Christmas Movies to name just a few.

Thankfully, the piece on Dexter’s new movie premiere would add an element of tradition to the paper. He was a longtime friend of Isabella’s and a beloved movie legend of Letongaloosa. His premiere film, Attack of the 50-Foot Turkey, lead him to head to job at a film production company on the Pacific Coast. He was home for the holidays to showcase his sophomore film, Attack of the 50-Foot Reindeer.  It was only fitting that Dexter come back to where his first began and it was only right that Isabella conduct his homecoming interview.

Excited, seeing Dexter and writing about his newest movie was an article that Isabella had looked forward to writing. Dexter was a student at Letongaloosa Community College where Isabella taught a writing course. She supervised his internship here at the paper and had been following his career ever since. She made sure Dexter’s story would be front and center highlight of the Lifestyle section.

After giving the Tuesday edition a final glance, she checked some final things off of her “to-do” list and headed off to the grocery store. It had been a long day. She was happy to go home, close her eyes and relax.

 

As Isabella woke the next morning, she reached for her phone to check her schedule for the day. It was going to be another long day. Making her way to into the newsroom, she grabbed a paper and flipped to the Lifestyle section and saw Dexter Dolby’s big smile, sparkling eyes and his “Top 10 Favorite Scifi Movies” staring back at her. She was filled with joy!!

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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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10 Ways to be A Really Annoying Travel Companion

I was inspired to add my own travel experiences to a wonderful piece I found on Smarter Travel.   I can attest that what they say definitely is true and have shared my own stories to prove it!! Please enjoy my thoughts on these all too true tips and advice.
Through my travels as a foreign correspondent or a wide-eyed explorer on a family vacation, I’ve been to almost every state in the U.S. By sea or by air, I’ve every country in Latin America and the Caribbean—including Cuba. I’ve been to Botswana and Khartoum (where the Blue Nile and the White Nile converge). I’ve been to Tokyo, Topeka and Tonganoxie. I’ve been to Manchester, England and Manhattan …Kansas. So you can imagine that I have had countless travel companions.
1. To annoy, when you do go somewhere without your travel companion, come back acting glum and say, “Oh it was okay,” and don’t say any more.
Decades ago a usually talkative friend and I were on a U.S. government sponsored assignment to the Caribbean. At one point the schedule called for us to go or separate ways and then link back up. When we got back together I briefed him fully on my assignments. He reported: “Oh it worked out all right.” Not another word from him on the topic.

Advice: Adjust to your companion’s traveling style.

 

2. To annoy, your traveling companion likes to sightsee, you say, “I’d rather hang out here in the room.”
On a flight from the U.S. to Santiago, Chile, our flight was diverted to Antofagasta, Peru (in the middle of the Atacama Desert). The pilot told the passengers that buses would be available to take us into town for a couple of hours while until the flight got an all-clear from Santiago. I said, “I’ve never been to Antofagasta. Let’s go take a look. The person I was traveling with said, “I’d rather stay here in the airplane.”
Advice: Have a good time when you’re apart and share when you return.

3. To annoy, stick to your travel companion like an adhesive bandage.
Decades ago I was doing proselyting work in South America for our church. The service was done working in pairs—I had a series of companions. Protocol dictated that I never go out on the street without my companion. Our small congregation was planning a party and we needed dishes and utensils. My companion at the time refused to go along. I went alone. Less than ten steps from our door I met a neighbor who asked me where I was going. I told the neighbor that I needed to find some where to buy or rent the needed supplies. The neighbor said, “Why we have all you need. The neighbor brought the supplies a little later and the party was a success. My companion was annoyed at my having disregarded protocol and I was dinged by our supervisors. But then we developed a friendship with the neighbor and the neighbor’s family that was most helpful to our work, and my failure to follow protocol was forgiven.

Advice: “Disappear now and then.”

4. To annoy, take your time packing the re-pack your suitcase saying, “Oh I got my socks on top instead of at the bottom.” And take 30-45 minutes looking around the room for anything you might have left. In the lobby say, “Don’t turn in the key, We’d better check the room to see if we left anything.”
This is, actually an incident that is the REVERSE of the “annoy” advice: My wife and I were in a hurry to check out of our hotel and catch a flight home As she tidied up the hotel room my wife threw away a pile of scrap paper that had accumulated. When we got to the airport we didn’t have our tickets (back in the day when airlines issued paper tickets). I grabbed a cab back to the hotel and dashed up to the room The maid was just cleaning up. She had a plastic bag full of trash in her cart. I looked through the trash, found our ticket envelope and hurried back to the airport. We made the flight.
Advice: When It’s time to move, move.

5. To annoy say things like, “whatever you say is Okay with me,” and “Gee, what do you think?,” and “Well, maybe…Oh, I don’t know.”
Here’s another “reverse” incident. Back in the day the U.S. government wanted other nations to like America and Americans. The U.S. Information Agency sent people abroad to give seminars and workshops to help with that image-building policy. I was in Central America giving workshops with the eminent author Erskine Caldwell. Mr. Caldwell’s wife wanted to take an afternoon sightseeing. Mr. Caldwell declined to accompany her. Mr. Caldwell knew exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted stay at the hotel. Mrs. Caldwell was reluctant to leave him alone. I volunteered to spend the afternoon with Mr. Caldwell at the hotel. That afternoon as we conversed, Mr. Caldwell told me of some of his adventures including his World War II trip with a famous news photographer across Siberia to Moscow.
Advice: Have an Opinion.
6. To annoy Choose to do things that you’ve always failed at, and say, “I’m going to get this if it kills me.”
“Guilty as Charged, your honor.” My father was the handiest man I’ve ever known. He could fix anything. Oftentimes he had to improvise because he didn’t have the right tool or equipment. But he got the thing fixed. I was absent when the Lord handed out “fix-it” talent. But very much present when He handed out stubbornness. BAD combination. I drive my wife nuts trying to fix things around the house. She’s learned to… wait as long as it take for me to say: “Honey, I guess we’d better call a repair man.”
Advice: Do what you’re best at.
7. To annoy say repeatedly, “Oh I borrowed your…(socks hand lotion, nail clippers, etc.) the other day. It seems to have disappeared.”
The advice, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” was lost on another of my proselytizing companions year ago . He was generous to a fault. Or he would have been. The problem was he couldn’t keep track of his stuff and was always borrowing stuff—or nicking it unbeknownst to the owner. If we were missing something, we didn’t even bother to look for it. We just went and rummaged through his stuff. Inevitably he’d say, “Oh. I borrowed that the other day. Meant to give it back.”

Advice: Don’t nick the other person’s stuff without asking.

8. To annoy you have two choices: a.) don’t ever pay for anything. b.) Insist on paying for EVERYTHING and don’t let anyone forget it.
Duh.
Sylvester, another guy I knew in college grew up in a small place His daddy had piles of money.
Sylvester would insist on buying everybody’s burger. Then, while we ate them, he’d tell us how much money his daddy had made in the stock market that day.
Advice: Pay your fair share but don’t over react.

9. To annoy, “I will NOT drink that brand of soda. Let’s go to another restaurant.” And, I want to eat NOW. I have my routine, and I’m sticking to it not matter what.”
Ginger, our 12-year-old dachshund is the most “set in her ways” person I know. She wakes us up at 5:30 a.m. sharp. There’s no “let’s sleep a little longer, Ginger.” Oh no. “Up and attem, Dad. Put my pellets in my dish. Eat…Eat…Eat. Then “Okay, outside.” Off the back porch. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Back up on the porch. Okay let’s go back to bed.”
Advice: Roll with it. (be flexible)
10. To annoy say things like, “Yuck! Don t tell me that you put catsup on your scrambled eggs!,” and “You look as big as a moose in that outfit,” and “You’ve been dragging that piece of toilet paper on your shoe for half a block. Why don’t you ever look behind you?”
Back when we lived in Florida, Glinda (not the good) was or next door neighbor. Glinda was a gossip-scold-“I-told-you-so,” kind of person. Glinda never saw a situation on which she didn’t have an opinion. She’s judge a piece of lint on your lapel before picking it off. “That’s just cotton, not wool,” she’d say. But my wife was often glad to have Glinda around. When it came to foretelling the weather or making other routine daily choices, we could ask Glinda get her unequivocal judgment and then do the opposite. Ninety percent of the time we were right.

Advice: Don’t judge.

 

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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10 suggestions Poet James Russell Lowell

 

The Poet asked:  “Oh what is so rare as a day in June?”

1.     The flame created by the burning of your paid-off home mortgage.

2.     The look on the face of a three-year-old child who hears her dad’s car coming up the driveway.

3.     A wife seeing her husband of 55 years pain-free after recuperating from back surgery.

4.     Your dog’s tail when someone brings him his dinner.

5.     Grandpa’s joy at finding where Grandma hid the cookies after she left to play Mahjongg with her friends all afternoon.

6.     Grandma’s joy when Grandpa finally agrees to get a haircut.

7.     Parking the car in a rainstorm thinking you left the umbrella at home— and then seeing it lying in the back seat.

8.     The happiness of a boy who sees his homing pigeon land in its coop after being missing for a week.

9.     Ten Lords a-leaping.

10. And a partridge in a pear tree.

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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Pecked to Death by Ducks©

With the summer season just around the corner, most people are making vacation plans. I, on the other hand, have been busy stressing about all of the things around my house that need my attention.

I’ve been thinking about what to do with all my “stuff” in the attic. Emmaline runs a trim ship.   I sail a kind of garbage scow.

It’s time to get the wet leaves out of the roof gutters, put fertilizer on the lawn, fetch some sacks of pebbles for the rock garden.  On a more personal note, I wanted to rescue a couple of my favorite shirts from the church donation box sitting by the front door.
Whenever I think that I have too much to do, my stress rises. When that happens, it’s like I’m being pecked to death by ducks.  Its as if I were tied hand and foot and lying on wet grass with a raft, team or paddling (see Google) of ducks pecking me.  Their blunt beaks don’t break the skin on my head like the peck of a woodpecker would, but the sensation is still painful, and
emotionally draining.

The feeling comes when I think I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I often get relief by day dreaming about decades past when I traveled a lot—to Latin America, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, Japan.  But if I day dream too deeply while I’m doing something like trimming the hedge, and I mess it up, and—out come the ducks.

I’ve been thinking Emmaline and I need to go back to the Caribbean, or Latin America. But then I realize that what we really need is to go back to our good old rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I always love our days on the river there, floating downstream on inner tubes, drinking steins of root beer with my friends, the little old colonial Dutchmen.
Back in March I got in touch with my humor column friends and colleagues at The Enchantment, that dingy roadhouse on the edge of town where so many of them congregate. I told them to meet us at the cabin. Then, what with the ducks in my head and all, I nearly forgot about the trip to the cabin.

So today, I got the word out—on Internet, by smoke signals, by homing pigeons, by mental telepathy–and by a few other means of communication that I won’t elaborate on here. I invited everyone

to meet us at the cabin.  The invitation to my  robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe, for short) went zinging  through outer space to his home planet that’s just a few parsecs from our nearest star, Alpha Centuari.   And I asked Kaybe to stop by Cuba on his way andpick up Kate in the jungle down there.
Emmaline thought we couldn’t go to the cabin right now because there was too much to be done here: paint the shutters, plant a garden, clean out the garage, etc., etc.

“And What about Ginger?” she asked.  Ginger is our dog.

“I promise to paint the shutters when we get back. The weather will be better then, anyway.  It’s been a late spring, so we can put in the garden after we get back.  Ginger always comes with us, remember? Her carrier is just inside the front door, next to that donation box we’re taking to the church.”

I knew that Emmaline wanted to go to the cabin all along, but we needed to tie up loose ends.  After she went to pack, she called down to say she was including a variety of ceramic root beer steins.

She had chosen one for everybody. A few days later as we got ready to leave the ducks in my head took a nap—a nice long one, I hoped.

When I lifted Ginger into her carrier, she nestled down on top of my favorite dear old (not to be discarded) shirt. It was folded neatly underneath her.

I put the church donation box in the car to drop off on the way out of town.

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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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Fortune Cookie Sayings From A Loopy Ol’ Geezer ©

We ate Chinese take-out the other night.  The fortune cookie said: “The path is getting easier from here on out.”

Well, thank heaven that the path is getting easier.   I was so relieved and  encouraged when I read that.

Then I imagined some individual in New Jersey, or Arkansas or Las Vegas or some place.  He or she, I thought, was sitting at a rickety wooden writing table making up Chinese fortune cookie sayings. The person gets paid 20 cents a dozen for them.

So here are some Chinese fortune cookie sayings from a loopy geezer who lives in the Upper Midwest of the United States of America (a place where a century or so ago experts told people they should  inhabit).

+  If  you’re watching the 10 O’clock news on a Kansas City TV station and in the middle of the show, the weatherman looks at radar screen and says,  “Well folks, my shift just ended. Good Night,” and the screen goes blank…

You should probably take cover.

+ If, here in the Upper Midwest, there’s a cobalt blue sky and not a cloud anywhere, it’s probably safe to drive to the grocery store (within half a mile of your place) and buy bread without taking your umbrella and rubber boots.  You’ve  probably got at least 15 minutes.

+ If the big brown UPS truck drives by your house, you’ve got a least a half hour before any unannounced tornado hits. The UPS drivers are in touch with their dispatcher by radio.

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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