Tag Archives: money

Giving Alma Mater a Boost©

          A light flashed on Camden Manuel’s huge mahogany desk in an office in a building on Wall Street.
          “Yes, Fay,” he said
          “There’s a Dean Ima Farseer on the line. From a community college.”
          “I’ll take it.  Put her through.”
          Click.
          “Dean Farseer, what a pleasant surprise. Are you in New York?”
          “No, Camden, I’m back here in Letongaloosa.  Thanks for taking my call.”
          “It’s always a pleasure.  How are the Leopards doing this season?”
          “Not well, as usual. But they keep trying.”
          “That’s the important thing.”
          “I suppose.”
`
        “Is there something I can do to help?”
          “Not  with the football team, Camden, but perhaps something else.”
          “I’ll be happy to try to help. What’s the problem?”
          “We have a money problem.”
          “How much do you need?”
          “That’s not the problem.  We have too much money.”
          “Wow.  Now that IS a problem.”
          “You remember reading about Eloise Simplekins, the woman who made millions as a pre-cleaning ladies’ cleaning lady”?
          “Yes. Eloise and I chatted at an alumni party some time back.”
          “And Ribby Von Simeon, the millionaire who has that land with the reconstructed ship outside of town?”
          “And Brett Timert, the guy who inherited a pile of money from his adoptive basque parents?”
          “Yes, I remember.  They’re good guys, all three of them.”
          “Well, they want to give Letongaloosa Community  Junior College a million dollars each.”
          “That’s a lot of money.”
          “I’ll say. Our last big alumni contribution was $850 from Old Doc Coggins’s will.”
          “So, how can I help?”
          “We need advice. There will be lawyers and hand-out-seekers and IRS agents all over the place.
          “Give me a couple of days. I’ll talk to some people and get back to you.”
          “We’ll all appreciate your help.”
          Camden did some digging and called Dean Farseer a week later.
          “Dean Farseer, this is Camden.  I have a suggestion:  You designate one building on campus for each of the donors and plan an official naming ceremony for each. If they agree, you could space the naming programs out so that the university will get maximum exposure from the mass media and the public.”
          “That’s a good idea. But there’s a problem. Many of the best buildings are already named for pioneer professors, former deans and such. The faculty, and perhaps the community, would make a fuss if we dropped those traditional names.”.
          “Other institutions have had that problem,” said Camden. “They solved it by giving the buildings hyphenated names with the pioneer name listed first.  Names like Parson-Walters Hall and Peabody-James Hall.”
          “Wow! Now we’re getting somewhere. Thank you!”
          “Keep in touch, and let me know how things go.”
          Time passed, and then one day Camden got an engraved invitation to attend the naming ceremony for Tilden-Simplekins Hall. Months later the university invited Camden to the dedication of Kleghorn-Von Simeon Hall. Quite a bit later  came the naming of Thompson-Timert Hall.
          Camden had been right. The public turned out for the dedication programs and the mass media, including some national media, covered the events. Dean Farseer gained university administration approval and was invited by a number of other universities to speak about the success of the building naming idea.
          More time passed. Camden didn’t hear from Dean Farseer. And he didn’t see any more about Letongaloosa Community Junior College in the national mainstream media. Then one day a white envelope arrived at his office.  The envelope contained an engraved invitation to a building-naming ceremony, but didn’t specify the name.
          When Camden arrived at Letongaloosa Airport he was met by the mayor in a stretch limo and a delegation of city officials. Also on the airport tarmac were representatives of the LCJC faculty and administration.  The mayor joined Camden  in the limo for the ride back to town.  The procession drove to campus and stopped at a speakers’ platform in front of a new dormitory building.
          The mayor escorted Camden to the platform and a microphone.
          “My fellow citizens,” said the mayor.  “Thank you for joining us on this auspicious occasion as we designate this fine new facility Camden Manual residence hall.”
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Minnifred & Winnifred (c)

 

 

This tale requires an explanation of how Ed and Jeanie Morningside
got the millions of dollars that their daughters inherited.

Although they had been respected Letongaloosa citizens for decades,
Ed and Jeanie never had two nickels, much less a dollar, to rub together.  They needed every penny that came in to pay the rent, put food on the table, and buy clothes for the family.
Then, against 14-million-to-one odds, they won $378-million
in the national lottery.  Suddenly, accompanied by a whole lot of fanfare, Jeanie and Ed and their two daughters, Minnifred and Winnifred were rich.

***********

At 7:15 a.m. every morning Minnifred Morningside-Suggs sat at her desk grading papers and sipping tea from her favorite artesian mug. Unless she had an early morning appointment out of the office, nothing in Minnifred’s life ever changed. This Tuesday morning was different.

Instead of going to her 8 a.m. Tuesday staff meeting, Minnifred said “hi” to Hanger Duggins and his crew at Letongaloosa International Airport and then flew to Kodiak Island to visit Winnifred and to enjoy some much needed time away. That’s when things got, well, freaky.

******

It was a few weeks later and Minnifred and her husband, Reggie, were having dinner at the diner in downtown Letongaloosa. Reggie had just picked Minniefred up from the airport.  Reaching for the
bread, he said : “You act diff’rent.”

Minnifred had been regaling him with stories about a shiny Republic RC-3 Seabee seaplane she in which she had flown to her sister’s cabin; the ice fishing excursion on which she caught the biggest fish the locals had ever seen, and the polar bear swim she had completed in record time. Reggie thought the stories were interesting, but he had never seen Minnifred so animated.  She was usually quiet, reserved, and didn’t add much detail in the infrequent stories she told.

Reggie continued to stare, and Minnifred pretended she didn’t notice the “diff’rent” comment and the puzzled look on his face. She kept talking a mile a minute about her Alaskan adventures.  Still more puzzling to Reggie was Minnifred’s insistence on sleeping in the guest bedroom.

Something happened a few days later. It was the first round of judging in the Feature-Palooza Competition for Young Writers. There were more than 550 entries, and a group of teachers and business professionals had assembled in the newsroom of the Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle to read the entries, critique them, and choose a contest winner.
Garrison Storm, Letongaloosa’s lead meteorologist noticed Minnifred’s peculiar behavior. Minnifred had always been a stickler for proper grammar, diction, usage, and syntax. Folks in town tolerated her correcting them in conversations because they were awed by her knowledge of English, and because Minnie was generous with her money.  Despite her wealth she had begun teaching public school the year she graduated from college.
Garrison noticed Minnie’s grammar goof immediately but he dismissed it, thinking he must have heard wrong. But when she goofed again and seemed actually happy about it, Garrison was perplexed.
As they heard her speak, others in town were too.

Meantime, folks in Kodiak couldn’t believe their ears.  Winnifred, the winsome spinster, who had always regaled them with bright and cheery chatter, had suddenly become terse and taciturn. Worse,she had begun to correct their grammar and  made unfavorably comments on what she labeled their “syntax.”  People in Kodiak had no idea what “sin” she thought them were guilty of.

A few days later, Winnifred and Minnifred sat together in an airport coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“What an excellent time!” said Minnifred, who was waiting for a flight home to Letongaloosa.
“A blast!” said Winnifred, who was booked on a later flight to Katchikan, Alaska.  From there she’d catch a seaplane to Kodiak.
“We must do this again soon,” said Winnifred.

“Indubitably,” said Minnifred.

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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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Loose Change

As a freshman in college, Dodd worked as a waiter at a pizza parlor in town. He was prompt and friendly, and people were liberal with their tips.  Dodd saved his tips in a glass jar and opened a savings account at a local bank.  When the tip bottle was full, Dodd took it to the bank to make a deposit.  He asked the teller to use the  bank’s money counting machine to count the coins.

The teller said, “Count them yourself.”

The Outcome: Dodd  immediately closed his savings account and opened one at another local bank. The new bank’s teller cheerfully used the bank’s machine to count Dodd’s loose change.  After Dodd graduated, he got a good job and continued banking with the folks that had counted his coins.  In the following decades Dodd took out half a dozen loans and two mortgages at that bank.

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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Grant Us Redux ©

Letongaloosa Community Junior College, where I work, has two departments: the Department of Technology, et. al., and the Department of et. al., et. al. Years ago Dr. Ima Farseer, dean of the college, asked me to help two professors submit a grant proposal.

They were both smart and competent but one was a punctilious neat freak and the other was incredibly lackadaisical. Working on their own, they had completed 99 percent of the grant proposal.   They needed to meet face to face to work out the one percent and sign the proposal.

But they couldn’t. The neat freak freaked out at the thought of approaching his colleague’s trashy office, and the lackadaisical professor broke out in hives when the dean suggested he meet at the neat freak’s office.   Neither could abide meeting in a neutral setting.

I solved the problem (and got much needed summer salary as a reward) by fitting the two with virtual reality goggles. Each thought he was meeting in his own office, when in fact they were both sitting in mine. They completed remaining details, signed the grant proposal, and LCJC got its percentage of the grant funds for overhead expenses—which made Dean Farseer very happy.

Fast forward a dozen years. Dean Ima is poised for retirement. She wants to spend her golden years in someplace more exotic than Letongaloosa (who could imagine such a place?). Problem: how to check out interesting retirement venues on the salary LCJC pays her. Solution: apply for a grant. Problem: how does she make the grant proposal sound realistic when Dean Ima has never traveled beyond the state borders. Solution: hire a grant writer who has extensive overseas experience.

My phone rang. It was Dean Ima.

“Would you like to make some money?” she asked.

“Very much.”

“What do you know about Tahiti?”

“Quite a bit actually,” I said. I did a quick Google search. Instantly my computer screen came up with “15 facts about Tahiti.”

“Tahiti is made up of 118 islands and atolls spread out over five archipelagos. The whole archipelago spans 4,000,000 square km, which is the equivalent to the size of Europe,” I read aloud from the information on my screen.

“Can you figure out a tie with Letongaloosa that would make it logical for me to do research in Tahiti?”

“I’ll try,” I said.

A couple of days later (to make it look like work) I called Dean Ima back.

“What did you find?” she asked.

“Marlon Brando once owned an island in Tahiti, and the Letongaloosa Daily Ledger-Clarion-Telegram always published favorable reviews of Marlon Brando’s movies.”

“That’s close enough,” said Dean Ima. “Get busy and write a grant proposal.”

Getting research grants isn’t as easy as it used to be. We submitted Letongaloosa-Tahiti grant proposals to dozens of institutions but came up dry. Those institutions even ignored the Marlon Brando connection.

Reluctantly, I phoned Dean Ima. “No one will give us a grant.”

“I’ve got to get to Tahiti, “she said.

I got an idea for another funding source.”

“Get on it.”

Some readers will recall “One if by Land.” It’s a story about Ribby Von Simeon,

the son of Letongaloosa-born movie star Sipa Margarita and billionaire

Balderdash Von Simeon.   Sipa was too busy being a movie star and Balderdash

was too busy being Balderdash to bother with Ribby, so he was raised by his

grandparents in Letongaloosa. When Ribby inherited the Margarita-Balderdash

fortune he memorialized the only quality time he had spent with his mother—an ocean voyage.

Ribby purchased the ocean liner they had sailed on when it was about to be

chopped up for scrap. Ribby had the ocean liner dismantled and shipped piece by

piece and reconstructed on a hill outside Letongaloosa.

Ribby Von Balderdash was interested when I explained Dean Ima’s Letongaloosa-

Tahiti Project, and he was sold when I mentioned that Marlon Brando owned

an island down there. Ribby offered to pay for Dean Ima Farseer’s initial trip to

the South Seas. It was love at first sight. Dean Ima took immediate retirement, cashed in her accrued retirement, closed her substantial savings account, and never

came back to Letongaloosa.   Dean Ima did send Ribby a picture of her with one of

Marlon Brando’s great grandchildren. Ribby treasured the photo.

 

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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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State of the Art Technology

A man was telling his neighbor, ‘I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.’
‘Really,’ answered the neighbor. ‘What kind is it?’

‘Twelve thirty.’

 

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 & the Dark Stranger

 

A slick Basque conman tried to marry Eloise Simpelkins, and take her for millions of dollars, but an old friend from Letongaloosa showed up just in time to save her.
It all happened at an exclusive private club on east 55th Street in New York City. A romantically smitten Eloise Simpelkins was having dinner at the Toure Club with what she thought was a handsome Spaniard . He called himself the Marques de San Selmo. His real name was Zigor Ordoki, the slickest con artist the Pyrenees had ever produced.
Eloise Simpelkins, is founder and chief executive officer of a highly successful home cleaning enterprise, and until she fell for the phony marques, was a very level headed woman.
Eloise was born in Letongaloosa on the wrong side of the tracks. She spent the early years of her life cleaning houses in La Mancha, the posh section of town. She was as plain in speech and looks as the phony marques was handsome and eloquent. As an entrepreneur she had turned an astute observation about the fastidiousness of upper middle class women into a highly successful cleaning business.
A friend introduced Eloise to the phony Marques at a charity ball. As they danced, the hard-headed entrepreneur who had never had time for romance, melted like a marshmallow. The phony Marques had pursued a number of wealthy single women. He chose Eloise because she looked to him like the richest and the dumbest.

Now, it was show time, and as they sat after dinner in the Toure Club, the Marques was ready to spring the trap.
“My darling Ale-low-eez, I have fallen madly in love with you. Will you do me the honor of being…” At that moment his elaborately planned marriage scheme was interrupted. A tall long-faced man with big ears and a loopy smile called out to Eloise from across the quiet dining room.
“Eloise Simpelkins, is that you?,” The man was Blair Trimert , a dear friend from Letongaloosa. Blair stood and threaded his way to Eloise’s table.
“Blair Trimert!” cried Eloise, “why it’s been years.” They embraced.
Eloise and Blair were children together in Letongaloosa. After they grew up Eloise made made a fortune in business, and Blair inherited a fortune from the Basque parents who had adopted him as a baby.
Blair spoke fluent Basque.
“Please join us,” said Eloise, for whom courtesy was an inbred quality. She introduced the Marques as a dear, dear friend from Spain. Blair guessed the rest of the story from her eyes and voice tones. The Marques masked his frustration with a practiced smile, but his eyes were cold as flint.
A waiter arrived and they ordered after dinner drinks. As Eloise and Blair were catching up on each other’s lives, the Marques’s cell phone rang. He took it out.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to take this.” He stood and turned away from the table.
“Yes,” he said in English. Then the Marques spoke again in Basque.
“Ez dago arau bat izan da.” (“There’s a slight complication”).
He listened and then said “Relax. Ez dut hau ergelak uso behatzak bidez irrist utz du. Bakarrik hartuko du ogun bat, hor, da dena. Gogora tu oraigdik dirutza bat ogin onderen, hemen duga.”
(Relax. I’m not going to let this stupid little pigeon slip through my fingers. It will take another day, that’s all. Just remember, we’re after a fortune here.”
Blair understood perfectly the words and what they meant. He squeezed Eloise’s hand and whispered, “This guy is speaking Basque. He’s some kind of conman who is trying to get your money.”
Blair grabbed the cell phone from the to the Marques’s hand.
“Zu pukas, langun!,” he growled. (“Your’re busted, Dude!”).
Without another word, the phony Marques fled, knocking people out of his way as he ran from the Toure Club. The police caught up with him a few minutes later.
After that Blair moved back to Letongaloosa, and Eloise, still single, opened five more franchises on the West Coast.

 

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 Best Medicine

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

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