Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As we begin a March of The Saturday Funnies, let’s start with a delightful lesson the late Malcolm Forbes always claimed is true. My weekly disclaimer is that I am not the author of any of this material; rather it is in gleaned from many emails I receive every week.

Forbes called this his ‘Gingham Dress Story’ but I’ll guarantee I could have helped him come up with a far-flashier headline:

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun, threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston and walked timidly, without an appointment, into the Harvard University President's outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard, and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. “We'd like to see the president," the man said softly.

"He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped.

"We'll wait," the gentle lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with pompous dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue … we thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

For a moment the lady was silent and the president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it cost to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?”

Her husband nodded as the president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, as a memorial to the son …. The one that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

And that’s this Saturday’s lesson.

 * *  *


An old Doberman starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a lion heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old Doberman thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in hot water now!”

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the lion is about to leap, the old Doberman exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious lion! I wonder, if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the young lion halts his attack in mid-stride, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.

"Whew!" says the lion, "That was close! That old Doberman nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the lion. So, off he goes. The squirrel soon catches up with the lion, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the lion.

The young lion is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!”

Now, the old Doberman sees the lion coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old Doberman wonders out loud, “"Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another lion!”

MORAL OF THIS STORY -- Don't mess with the old dogs ... Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!

* * *


1. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry.  I don't like spicy food."

2. "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach.  It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."

3. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."

4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels.  We assumed it would be included in the price."

5. "The beach was too sandy.  We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."

6. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."

7. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons.  I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

8. "No one told us there would be fish in the water.  The children were scared."

9. "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."

10. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."

11. "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort.  Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun."

12. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England.  It took the Americans only three hours to get home.  This seems unfair."

13. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."

14. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.'  We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service."

15. "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there.  The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish.  No one told us that there would be so many foreigners."

16. "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."

17. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

18. "I was bitten by a mosquito.  The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."

19. "My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed.  We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant.  This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."

* * *


I’m going to close with a wonderful video I hope you will share with every teacher you know. This is a classic. We are not told in what school this was secretly taped but in this teacher’s classroom he has a rule that if anyone’s phone rings, they must answer and have whatever the conversation is in front of the whole class.

It is very important you listen to the entire tape because the ending is priceless. Again, please share it with every teacher who you love …. (CLICK HERE)

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