David Bruce: Be a Work of Art — War, Work


• An Army doctor had a crisis of conscience because it seemed that every time he succeeded in healing a wounded soldier, the soldier would go back into battle only to get killed. Therefore, the doctor left the Army and studied with a Zen master. The study worked, and the doctor returned to the Army. Thereafter, whenever he had doubts about why he was healing soldiers, he told himself, “Because I’m a doctor.”

• Major Alexis Casdagli found an interesting way of defying the Nazis while he was in a World War II prisoner-of-war camp: He did needlework. He created a cross-stitch sampler that had a border of dots and dashes that were messages in Morse code. What were the messages? “God save the King” and “F**k Hitler.” Many Nazis saw the sampler, but none deciphered the Morse code messages.

• General George B. McClellan felt that President Abraham Lincoln was interfering when he requested to be kept better informed of activities in the field. Therefore, the general sent the president this sarcastic telegram: “HAVE JUST CAPTURED SIX COWS. WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THEM?” President Lincoln was able to meet the challenge. He sent back this telegram: “MILK THEM.”

• At a meeting of delegates, a politician made the motion that the standing army of the United States ought to consist of no more than 5,000 soldiers. George Washington whispered to the delegate from Maryland that in that case, he ought to amend the motion by providing that no enemy could invade the United States with an army of more than 3,000 soldiers.

• Ernest Thesiger, an actor, enjoyed needlework, and during World War I he was popular with the other soldiers, who enjoyed seeing him sitting in the trenches, his hands busy with his needlework. He was a good soldier, and after the war he did his needlework with hands that were scarred from shrapnel.

• A very young Catholic girl was shown around a Protestant Church in which a service flag was hung. She asked what the flag was, and she was informed that the flag was hung in honor of those who died in the service. She asked, “The 9:30 a.m. service or the 11 a.m. service?”

• During his tour of America, Oscar Wilde noted that many Southerners date events by the Civil War. He once said that he had mentioned how lovely the moonlight was to a Southerner, and the Southerner replied, “Yes, but you should have seen it before the war.”


• Mildred Burke, aka Mildred the Great, was an early pro wrestler of the 1930s through 1950s. Sometimes, she wrestled men, and in approximately 200 matches against men, she lost only once. She had lifted the challenger over her head and was throwing him to the ground when his knee hit her head and knocked her out. Often, she slept in her car as she traveled from match to match, but in 1938, she made $50,000 — that year, major-league baseball players were averaging $6,000. By the way, Lillian Ellison is known in pro wrestling circles as the Fabulous Moolah. In the late 1940s, she met promoter Jack Pfefer, who asked her why she wanted to get into wrestling. She answered, “For the moolah.” “Moolah” means “money,” and Mr. Pfefer gave Ms. Ellison the name of the Fabulous Moolah.

• Major league baseball umpire Jocko Conlan was on a flight at the beginning of which the stewardess explained what to do in the case of an emergency that required the plane to land in the ocean. None of the bigwigs on the airplane seemed to be listening, so the stewardess got angry, and she said, “I don’t care what your rank is or who you are. I’m in charge here and I’m supposed to demonstrate how this life jacket works. If this plane goes down, you’re going to need it. If you’re too dumb to listen, forget it.” Mr. Conlan spoke up: “I’m listening. I can’t swim.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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