David Bruce: Resist Psychic Death — Media, Mishaps

Media

• Not all interviewers are as prepared as they think they are. James Marshall, who wrote and illustrated a series of children’s books about two characters named George and Martha, once was interviewed by a woman on a radio show in Chicago. Before the interview, he asked her, “Do you need any information about myself?” She replied, “No. I’ve done my homework.” Unfortunately, her first question to him on the air was, “What’s it like writing about the First Family?” Mr. Marshall replied, “Well, it’s not that George and Martha.” She then asked, “Who are they, then?” Mr. Marshall replied, “Well … they’re hippos.” As you may expect, the interviewer was completely unprepared to interview him, and Mr. Marshall had to take over the interview.

• Lynne Taylor Corbett was present at a press conference when fellow choreographer Alvin Ailey was asked, “Do you prefer to be called black or negro?” He replied, “I prefer to be called Alvin Ailey, choreographer.”

Mishaps

• When she was a student nurse, Ethel Gillette went to a hospital for her first clinical. She took care of a patient, and all went well until the patient said, “I want my robe, please.” Three robes were hanging in the closet, but the patient said, “No, dear — I want the blue one I had on before my bath. It’s my favorite because it’s the last gift my niece gave me. She was killed in an automobile accident a year ago.” Ms. Gillette thought, and she realized that she had gathered the blue robe along with the bed sheets and she had put everything down a laundry chute. She also knew that the bleach used at the hospital would ruin the robe. She said, “Would you excuse me, please?” Then she went to her instructor and asked to take a break. Just by looking at her, her instructor knew that something was wrong, and she asked, “Gillette, what did you do?” Ms. Gillette explained the situation, and her instructor said, “All right — run. Find the nearest stairway and run down to the basement.” It took her a while to find the laundry room, and it was filled with soiled linen, but she realized that it would be impossible to replace the blue robe because of its sentimental value. She kept opening up bags of soiled linen, and each time she opened up five bags of soiled linen, she thought to herself, Just five more, and I’ll quit. The 35thbag of soiled linen held the blue robe. She took it back to the patient’s room and laundered it by hand and hung it over a towel rack to dry. She writes, “I went back in [the patient’s room], explained what had happened and we both had a good laugh; hers from amusement, mine from relief.”

• Late one afternoon movie critic Roger Ebert walked across London’s Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park Corner. Unfortunately, the gates of Hyde Park are locked at dusk as he discovered when he found himself locked inside the park that rainy winter evening. He climbed up a muddy hill, falling twice and getting himself muddy, and he reached a tree that he climbed in an attempt to get to the top of the iron fence. He climbed from the tree to the top of the fence, but the jump down was too unsafe for him to attempt without help. Fortunately, an American boy, who was with friends, saw him: “Hey, look, it’s Roger Ebert! No way! Is that really you?” Mr. Ebert assured the boy that in fact he was Roger Ebert, and he admits that in the situation he was in, “If I had been the Queen, I would have answered to Roger Ebert.” The American boy replied, “Far out,dude! What are you doing up there?” Mr. Ebert answered truthfully, “Trying to get down.” The American boy and his friends helped him down, and Mr. Ebert gave them his autograph, then he returned to his hotel and enjoyed a fire and a hot bath.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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