David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Money, Mothers

Money

• When horror writer Stephen King leaves his house to buy a loaf of bread, he sometimes gets so caught up in creating a plot for a novel that he forgets to buy the bread. After coming home, he tells his wife that he has an idea for a novel that will make them $2 million. She usually replies, “Steve, I’m delighted, but we still need a loaf of bread.”

• Noël Coward was very broke when he received an offer of $500 to write a short story using the plot of one of his plays. Mr. Coward was happy to receive the money and later said, “I reflected gleefully that for $500 I would gladly consider turning War and Peace into a music-hall sketch.”

• Playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan was always in debt. One day, a creditor asked him to at least pay the interest on a debt. Mr. Sheridan replied, “My dear fellow, it is not in my interest to pay the principle or in my principle to pay the interest.”

Mothers

• When author Joel Perry was nine years old, he was victimized by a bully who lived next door. The bully pretended to be his friend and threw a baseball to Joel so he could hit it, but Joel was not an athlete and kept missing the ball, giving the bully an excuse to taunt him. Finally, the bully came up close and personal, screaming at him, “You are so stupid! How can you be such a fat, stupid sissy, you crybaby retard!” Joel swung the bat and connected — with the bully’s head. The bully’s mother came running, grabbed Joel, took him to his home, and complained to his mother, who said, “I’ll handle this” and shut the door. After shutting the door, his mother said to him, “I saw the whole thing. What the hell took you so long?” As a special treat, she bought him ice cream, then took him to the park to feed the ducks.

• Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) and his wife were believers in spiritualism; escape artist Harry Houdini was not. Nevertheless, they all became friends. One evening, Lady Conan Doyle held a séance and attempted to contact Houdini’s deceased mother. She fell into a trance and wrote down a message for Houdini from his mother, then she came out of the trance. The Conan Doyles regarded the séance as a complete success; however, Houdini did not. The message Lady Doyle had written was in English — a language his Yiddish-speaking mother did not know.

• Irving Wallace’s mother made an excellent strudel — baked dough with a filling of nuts, fruits, and other goodies. One day, she had a strudel ready to be rolled up and baked when the telephone rang. As she talked on the telephone, occasionally she would reach out, grab a few nuts, fruits, or other goodies, then eat them as she talked. Finally, she hung up the telephone and told young Irving, “Now we’re going to roll the strudel and bake it,” then she looked at the strudel and realized that she had eaten all the filling. That day, the Wallace family didn’t have a strudel.

• Oscar Wilde’s mother was decidedly unconventional. Under the name “Speranza,” Lady Wilde wrote pro-Irish revolutionary tracts. One day, a friend of hers asked if she could bring a “respectable” friend to one of Lady Wilde’s parties, and Lady Wilde replied, “You must never employ that description in this house; only tradespeople are respectable.” On another occasion, Oscar invited a fellow student to his home, saying, “I want to introduce you to my mother. We have founded a society for the suppression of virtue.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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The Funniest People in Books — Buy:

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