Roy Exum: Kids Are Still Funny

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - by Roy Exum
I have never seen nor heard of a child actually getting one’s “head pinched off” but by modern-day standards the threat just switched into overdrive. There are children in our communities who haven’t been to school for six long days and the brutal temperatures drove the little darlings to inside where they most predictably stirred up all manner of mayhem.
Back when I was in elementary school we would go sledding all day and then listen to a wonderful early television pioneer named Art Linkletter on snow days. Originally given up as an orphan immediately after he was born in Canada, a minister – Fulton Linkletter – and his wife, adopted the tiny Arthur Kelly and he assumed his new family’s name after they soon moved to Southern California while Art was still quite young.
He wanted to teach children and earned a degree to do just that but the Depression years were so bad he rode the rails with other hobos grateful for the smallest job doing anything.
A teaching spot finally opened but by then Arthur had a radio show that was paying more money. He had hired a guy named Ronald Reagan (one and the same) and used his love for children to start the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” dynasty – it was a delight for 50 years - a huge favorite. Linkletter would interview the kids himself and knew just what buttons to push:
* * *
What did your mommy tell you not to say?
My mother told me not to tell any of the family secrets, like the time she dyed her hair blonde and it came out purple.
---
Did you see Santa this year?
See him? I fixed him a bourbon and water.
* * *
Trust me, Art’s shows were “live” and each was a riot. The children, both back then and today,  perfectly illustrate what teachers and parents already know. “Anything can come from the mouth of a babe or ducklings,” as kids happily noted. Six or seven years ago we are told some teachers at an unknown elementary took a day to find out about today’s generation. I present it to every mother, grandmother, aunt, or whoever bridled their “very last nerves” for the past week and hope you will not ever “pinch the heads” of any of our greatest assets.
* * *
WHY DID GOD MAKE MOTHERS?
1.  She’s the only one who knows where the Scotch Tape is.
2.  Mostly to clean the house.
3.  To help us out of there when we were getting born.
HOW DID GOD MAKE MOTHERS?
1.  He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2.  Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3.  God made my mom just the same like he made me.  He just used bigger parts.
WHAT INGREDiENTS ARE MOTHERS MADE OFF?
1.  God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2.  They had to get their start from men’s bones.  Then they mostly use string, I think.
WHY DID GOD GIVE YOU YOUR MOM INSTEAD OF ANOTHER LADY?
1.  We’re related.
2.  God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s mom like me.
WHAT KIND OF A LITTLE GIRL WAS YOUR MOM?
1.  My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2.  I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3.  They say she used to be nice.
WHAT DID YOUR MOM NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR DAD BEFORE SHE MARRIED HIM?
1.  His last name.
2.  She had to know his background.  Like is he a crook?  Does he get drunk on beer?
3.  Does he make at least $800 a year?  Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?
WHY DID YOUR MOM MARRY YOUR DAD?
1.  My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world.  And my mom eats a lot.
2.  She got too old to do anything else with him.
3.  My grandma says that mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.
WHO’S THE BOSS AT YOUR HOUSE?
1.  Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such a goof ball.
2.  Mom.  You can tell by room inspection.  She sees the stuff under the bed.
3.  I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOMS AND DADS?
1.  Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2.  Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3.  Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power ’cause that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4.  Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.
WHAT DOES YOUR MOM DO IN HER SPARE TIME?
1.  Mothers don’t do spare time.
2.  To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO MAKE YOUR MOM PERFECT?
1.  On the inside she’s already perfect.  Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2.  Diet. You know, her hair. I’d diet, maybe blue.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR MOM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
1.  She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean.  I’d get rid of that.
2.  I’d make my mom smarter.  Then she would know it was my sister who did it; not me.
3.  I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.
* * *
“Do a little more than you're paid to. Give a little more than you have to. Try a little harder than you want to. Aim a little higher than you think possible, and give a lot of thanks to God for health, family, and friends.” – Art Linkletter, 1912-2010

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