David Bruce: Be a Work of Art — Problem-Solving, Profanity


• At age 16, Jessica Hopper started a band that opened for DIY band Fugazi in the Twin Cities. This was a highly coveted gig, and many, many Twin Cities bands had telephoned the club’s booker to ask to be the opening band. How did Jessica’s band get the opening slot? Simple. She telephoned Fugazi directly. She says, “It worked — and p*ssed off every other band in town, because we were terrible.”

• A master carpenter had a job open, and an apprentice approached him for it. The master carpenter asked, “Have you ever made a mistake?” The young apprentice replied, “No,” thinking that his answer would get him the job. However, the master carpenter told him, “There is no way that I am going to hire you because when you do make a mistake, you won’t know how to fix it.”

• Until 1954, when he was drafted, New York Yankee Billy Martin, a small man, wore No. 12. During his military service, No. 1 became available, and it was waiting for him when he returned to professional baseball. According to Mr. Martin, the Yankee clubhouse manager had saved the number for him: “He said my back wasn’t big enough for two numbers.”

• While traveling by train, the great actress Sarah Bernhardt was annoyed by a German officer who would neither quit smoking nor allow her to open the window. Therefore, to breathe clean air she smashed her elbow against the window and broke it.


• Harry S. Truman occasionally used profanity, something that Richard “Expletive Deleted” Nixon tried to make a campaign issue when he ran for President against John F. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy responded, “I would not want to give the impression that I am taking former President Truman’s use of language lightly. I have sent him the following wire: ‘Dear Mr. President: I have noted with interest your suggestion as to where my opponent should go. While I understand and sympathize with your deep motivation, I think it important that our side try to refrain from raising the religious issue.”

• President Abraham Lincoln once reviewed the first corps of the army. Being driven to the place of review by an ambulance composed of a wagon and a team of six mules, President Lincoln listened for a while as the driver cursed his six mules, then he asked the man, “Are you an Episcopalian?” Startled, the mule-driver replied, “No, Mr. President, I am a Methodist.” President Lincoln then said, “I thought you must be an Episcopalian, because you swear just like Governor Seward, who is a church warden.”

• Umpire Augie Donatelli was the only umpire ever to throw Bobby Thompson out of a game. Later, Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Donatelli why he had done that. Mr. Donatelli explained that he had been forced to do it — Mr. Thompson had called him a #$%^&*. “That’s right,” said Mr. Thompson, “but why did you throw me out for that? No one heard it but you and me and the catcher.” “I know, Bobby,” said Mr. Donatelli, “but I didn’t want that catcher going through life thinking I was a #$%^&*.”

• The men soccer referees in Derby, England decided that they didn’t want to officiate the games of the women soccer players, so in 1973 they started teaching women to be referees. Why? Because the language of the women soccer players was too strong for the male referees; as an official explained, “Although the ladies’ keenness is commendable, [male] referees who officiate at their matches rarely want to do so again. … The language can be quite startling.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


Be a Work of Art — Buy

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