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Cant remember where
But in the busy travellings of last week,
alone in a lane of green leaves,sStood a single tree
clad in oranges and crimsons
lighted with brief yellows.
I have just two seasons clothes,
Summer and Winter.
‘Layering’ is supposed to fill the gap
And so, I sit here
Jeans, T-shirt, hoodie,
Where once I would have had
an autumn coat
With thin woollen gloves.
Like the tree.
Copyright © 2018 Kim Whysall-Hammond
Major league umpire Bill Klem wore an inside chest protector, which afforded less protection than an outside chest protector, although Mr. Klem maintained that umpires could avoid injury by weaving with the ball. Even so, he once had his collarbone broken while umpiring. When it healed, a hole was left in his chest which you could stick your finger in. Later, fellow umpire Jocko Conlan had his collarbone broken while working a game. Mr. Klem told him, “You’ve got to weave.” Mr. Conlan had roomed with Mr. Klem, and so he knew where the hole left by Mr. Klem’s broken collarbone was located. He stuck his finger in the hole and said, “How did you get that?” Mr. Klem replied, “I didn’t weave either, that day.”
While serving as a soldier in World War II, Spike Milligan knew a young soldier named Sergeant Cusak, who became the first in the group to get crabs. Sergeant Cusak went to Piccadilly to fill a prescription for blue unction — whose only function is to treat crabs. Not wanting to be embarrassed, he whispered to the pharmacist, “Can I have some blue unction?” Unfortunately, the pharmacist said loudly, “BLUE UNCTION?” Knowing that everyone had heard the pharmacist, Sergeant Cusak replied twice as loudly, “YES, I’VE GOT BLOODY CRABS!”
When Quaker humorist Tom Mullen went into a hospital to have his colon removed, he met a nurse who had undergone the same medical procedure and so was able to answer his questions and joke with him about the procedure. With no colon, the patient must wear a bag into which the feces collect. Mr. Mullen asked what he should do if the bag broke, and the nurse replied, “Stand downwind.” The nurse also said that men have an advantage over women in undergoing this procedure: “Both men and women wear bags, but we women have to find shoes to match.”
Acting leads to a dichotomy between reality and appearance. The 19th-century actor O. Smith remembers seeing the great John Kemble perform heroic roles of enormous valor and vigor near the end of his career. He also remembers Mr. Kemble being attended to by his servant during intermission. Because of Mr. Kemble’s infirmity and asthma, the attendant was obliged to support him as he walked, but when Mr. Kemble was in front of an audience playing such characters as Cato, Cardinal Wolsey, and King John, no such support was necessary.
Not all hospital pharmacies respect privacy. Gail Sausser went to a hospital clinic, where she was given a prescription to take to the hospital pharmacy. She did so, then sat down as she waited for the prescription to be filled. A pharmacist eventually looked at the prescription, then loudly asked, “Sausser, what clinic did you get this from?” More than once, she tried to quietly answer, “The fourth-floor clinic,” but eventually, she gave up and with everyone staring at her replied loudly, “The V.D. Clinic!”
Baseball manager Leo “The Lip” Durocher and umpire Tom Gorman had some notable arguments on the baseball field. In a play at first base, when Leo’s runner and the first baseman collided, Mr. Gorman’s leg was broken. Mr. Gorman was lying hurt on the ground, and he heard someone above him say, “Did he call him out, or did he call him safe?” Mr. Gorman asked, “Who’s talking?” The answer came, “It’s me, Leo,” and Mr. Gorman said, “Well, if it’s Leo, he’s out.”
President Abraham Lincoln was besieged by people asking to be appointed to various offices; unfortunately, there were many more people than offices. Once, he suffered from a mild form of smallpox, and the office-seekers were afraid to come near him. President Lincoln enjoyed their absence, but he told a friend, “Is it not too bad that now, while I have something to give to everybody, no one comes near me.”
Lesbian comedians Robin Tyler and Patty Harrison used to do a routine about faith-healer Brother Ripoff. As Brother Ripoff, Ms. Tyler would say to Ms. Harrison, who was playing an ill lesbian looking for healing, “This woman’s come to me and she’s a lesbian and she wants to be healed. I’m going to put my hand on her and I’m going to heal her. Hallelujah! You are now healed — and you’re still a lesbian!”
A surgeon once removed a huge bone chip from the ankle of American gymnast Vanessa Atler, and he was shocked by its size, even after having worked for years on the injuries of the Dallas Cowboys. Ms. Atler joked, “See, that makes me tougher than all those football players.”
Before George Burns and Gracie Allen were married, Mr. Burns had a rival. Once, Ms. Allen was ill and in a hospital, and Mr. Burns was supposed to tell her beau the news. Mr. Burns didn’t do that, so the beau didn’t send flowers — but Mr. Burns filled her hospital room with baskets of flowers.
We have forgotten how much devastation the disease polio caused. In 1956, Tanaquil LeClercq, a George Balanchine dancer, contracted polio. It paralyzed her below the legs, and her dancing career and walking days were over at age 27.
Stand-up comedian Jonathan Solomon won’t mention some things in his act. For example, he never mentions herpes because he figures as many as 25 percent of his audience has herpes and he doesn’t want to remind them of it.
A friend once said to country comedian Jerry Clower, “I see you got the furniture disease.” Mr. Clower asked what the furniture disease was, and his friend told him, “Your chest has done dropped down into your drawers.”
Comedian Groucho Marx frequently suffered from depression. According to his friend Dick Cavett, “He needed a Groucho to cheer him up. He was the only person who couldn’t have one.”
Some women visited a sick friend and told her, “We will remember you in our prayers.” The woman replied, “Just wash the dishes in the kitchen. I can do my own praying.”
Richard Pryor got a lot of comedic material from his own life. After suffering a heart attack, he joked about the lengths he would go to in order to get new material.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
DON’T BURST INTO TEARS
Don’t burst into tears
Rumor says all of us die
What else should we do?
NOTE: “When you are eighty-four and an old, old friend dies, you feel a moment of melancholy, and a moment of affection — but you do not burst into tears. … What else were they going to do? Rumor has it that all of us die.” — Donald Hall
“Faith, comrade,” said one of them to the other, “yonder is a well-made young fellow and of the right size.” Upon which they made up to Candide and with the greatest civility and politeness invited him to dine with them.
“Gentlemen,” replied Candide, with a most engaging modesty, “you do me much honor, but upon my word I have no money.”
“Money, sir!” said one of the blues to him, “young persons of your appearance and merit never pay anything; why, are not you five feet five inches high?”
“Yes, gentlemen, that is really my size,” replied he, with a low bow.
“Come then, sir, sit down along with us; we will not only pay your reckoning, but will never suffer such a clever young fellow as you to want money. Men were born to assist one another.”
“You are perfectly right, gentlemen,” said Candide, “this is precisely the doctrine of Master Pangloss; and I am convinced that everything is for the best.”
His generous companions next entreated him to accept of a few crowns, which he readily complied with, at the same time offering them his note for the payment, which they refused, and sat down to table.
“Have you not a great affection for-“
“O yes! I have a great affection for the lovely Miss Cunegund.”
“Maybe so,” replied one of the blues, “but that is not the question! We ask you whether you have not a great affection for the King of the Bulgarians?”
“For the King of the Bulgarians?” said Candide. “Oh, Lord! not at all, why I never saw him in my life.”
“Is it possible? Oh, he is a most charming king! Come, we must drink his health.”
“With all my heart, gentlemen,” said Candide, and off he tossed his glass.
“Bravo!” cried the blues; “you are now the support, the defender, the hero of the Bulgarians; your fortune is made; you are in the high road to glory.”
So saying, they handcuffed him, and carried him away to the regiment. There he was made to wheel about to the right, to the left, to draw his rammer, to return his rammer, to present, to fire, to march, and they gave him thirty blows with a cane; the next day he performed his exercise a little better, and they gave him but twenty; the day following he came off with ten, and was looked upon as a young fellow of surprising genius by all his comrades.
Candide was struck with amazement, and could not for the soul of him conceive how he came to be a hero. One fine spring morning, he took it into his head to take a walk, and he marched straight forward, conceiving it to be a privilege of the human species, as well as of the brute creation, to make use of their legs how and when they pleased. He had not gone above two leagues when he was overtaken by four other heroes, six feet high, who bound him neck and heels, and carried him to a dungeon. A courtmartial sat upon him, and he was asked which he liked better, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times through the whole regiment, or to have his brains blown out with a dozen musket-balls?
In vain did he remonstrate to them that the human will is free, and that he chose neither; they obliged him to make a choice, and he determined, in virtue of that divine gift called free will, to run the gauntlet six and thirty times.
He had gone through his discipline twice, and the regiment being composed of 2,000 men, they composed for him exactly 4,000 strokes, which laid bare all his muscles and nerves from the nape of his neck to his stern. As they were preparing to make him set out the third time our young hero, unable to support it any longer, begged as a favor that they would be so obliging as to shoot him through the head; the favor being granted, a bandage was tied over his eyes, and he was made to kneel down.
At that very instant, His Bulgarian Majesty happening to pass by made a stop, and inquired into the delinquent’s crime, and being a prince of great penetration, he found, from what he heard of Candide, that he was a young metaphysician, entirely ignorant of the world; and therefore, out of his great clemency, he condescended to pardon him, for which his name will be celebrated in every journal, and in every age. A skillful surgeon made a cure of the flagellated Candide in three weeks by means of emollient unguents prescribed by Dioscorides. His sores were now skimmed over and he was able to march, when the King of the Bulgarians gave battle to the King of the Abares.
I know if a glass is either half-full or half-empty because I drink out of a measuring cup I need to buy more art for my apartment to hide all my wall safes.
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” George Jean Nathan, 1882-1958, editor, drama critic