• Michael Moore, author of Stupid White Men and a native of Flint, Michigan, drove Toyotas and Volkswagens. Occasionally, a friend would ask him why he didn’t buy a car that was built in the USA. When that happened, Mr. Moore would have his friend open the hood of his “American” car, and then he’d show his friend that the engine had a sticker saying “MADE IN BRAZIL” and the fan belt bore the lettering “MADE IN MEXICO.” In addition, the radio had a label saying, “MADE IN SINGAPORE.”
• Noted author C.G. Norris developed engine trouble and was standing helplessly by his car on the side of a road when a teenage boy came pedaling up to him on his bike. The teenage boy lifted the hood, fiddled with the engine for about 15 seconds, then started the car right up. Mr. Norris looked at the boy and asked, “Do you know what a split infinitive is?” The teenage boy admitted that he didn’t, and Mr. Norris said, “Thank God!”
• Children’s book author/illustrator David McPhail sometimes writes as he drives. Actually, that’s not quite true. He will think of a couple of sentences while driving, then stop the car and write the sentences down. While he was writing The Cereal Box, a trip that usually took 90 minutes turned into a three-and-a-half-hour trip.
• In 1922, playwright Lillian Hellman graduated from high school, and her Uncle Jake gave her a ring as her graduation gift. Ms. Hellman, however, cared little for rings, so she sold it for $25 and used the money to buy something she really cared for — books. Later, she told her uncle that she had sold his gift to buy books. He looked at her for a moment, then said, “So you’ve got spirit after all. Most of the rest of them are made of sugar water.”
• As a boy, critic Orville Prescott very quickly learned to love books. While attending a dude ranch that was laughingly called a “school,” he was startled by the shout of “Fire!” At first he was pleasantly excited — until he discovered that his own cabin was burning. At that point, he startled everyone by rushing inside the cabin and coming out with an armload of singed books. The astonished onlookers burst into applause.
• During a dinner Cyril Clemens had with G.K. Chesterton, the question of “If one were stranded on a desert island, what book would one like to have?” came up. Mr. Chesterton answered, “If I were a politician who wanted to impress his constituents, I would take Plato or Aristotle, but if I did not want to show off, I would take Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding so that I could get away from the island as quickly as possible.”
• In the 1800s, many people did their own doctoring. A book titled Dr. Gunn’s Domestic Medicine even explained how to perform an amputation, saying that “any man, unless he was a fool or an idiot, could amputate an arm or a leg.” First, you needed the book and a few instruments. In addition, since this was in the days before anesthesia, you needed “half a dozen men to hold the victim down.”
• A man had the opportunity to publish Mark Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, but declined it. Years later, the man chanced to meet Mr. Twain, and told him, “I refused a book of yours and for this I stand without competitor as the prize ass of the 19th century.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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