David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Gays and Lesbians, Halloween, Home, Illness and Injury

Gays and Lesbians

• Knowing about the gay community can be reassuring. In Colorado, lesbian humorist Ellen Orleans and her girlfriend were sitting in a park watching a thunderstorm up in the mountains. It got dark, and they started walking to their car, worrying about their safety. They heard a rustle in the bushes and a tall man suddenly stepped out in front of them. Ms. Orleans and her girlfriend saw that he was dressed in leather from head to toe and immediately felt relief — he wasn’t a rapist, just a gay man looking for other gay men.

• When gay author Frank DeCaro was interviewed for a job as men’s fashion columnist for the Detroit Free Press, his editor (who didn’t know that Mr. DeCaro is gay) warned him of the job’s “faggot factor” — meaning that almost everyone assumes that all men’s fashion columnists are gay. Mr. DeCaro replied that he didn’t think it would be a problem for him.

• Lesbian author Erika Lopez ran into problems when she visited her grandmother, who was becoming forgetful. Her grandmother kept introducing her to the waiter, Ms. Lopez reminded her grandmother that she is a lesbian, then her grandmother forgot and introduced her to the waiter again. On some days, Ms. Lopez came out to her grandmother 50 times.

• Lesbian author Gail Sausser is tired of reading lesbian novels that have unhappy endings; she strongly prefers a happy ending. Many of her friends are the same way. In fact, one friend always reads the last two paragraphs of any lesbian novel she is considering buying because she wants to make sure it doesn’t have an unhappy ending.

• During his time as a prisoner, gay playwright Oscar Wilde stood on a train platform in drizzling rain while handcuffed to two other convicts. He said to one of the police officers escorting him, “Sir, if this is the way Queen Victoria treats her convicts, she doesn’t deserve to have any.”

• A reader wrote in to Dear Abby to ask, “A pair of gay men is moving in across the street. What can we do to improve the neighborhood?” Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren) replied, “You could move.”

• Liane de Pougy, an author and the lesbian lover of the American poet Natalie Barney, was reputed to say this during confession: “Father, except for murder and robbery I’ve done everything.”

Halloween

• As a house-guest, Dorothy Parker belatedly discovered that her hostess was a rhymes-with-witch. Entering a bathroom, she discovered a female friend of hers, who pointed to a decrepit toothbrush, then asked, “What do you think our hostess does with that?” Ms. Parker said, “I think she rides it on Halloween.”

Homes

• American poet Natalie Barney was not known for her housekeeping. Someone once pointed out that her house and furniture were dusty, but she merely replied, “The dust is pretty; it’s furniture’s face powder!”

• In 1979, after buying a 23-room, 129-year-old mansion in Bangor, Maine, horror writer Stephen King put a fence around it — the fence is decorated with the figures of bats and spiders.

Illness and Injury

• In a book about children surviving cancer, Erma Bombeck related a story told to her by a father whose daughter had lost a leg to Ewing’s sarcoma. His daughter was in a hospital bed and was emotionally depressed. An orderly came with a wheelchair to take her to the X-ray room. The orderly put her in the wheelchair, adjusted the foot that was sticking out, then began groping for the foot she didn’t have. The girl with the missing leg looked at the orderly for a moment, then smiled and said, “Good luck!”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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