How Happy and Healthful

Mr. Peterson, a tourist from Toronto, arrived in Barbados. In an airport taxi cab, Peterson asked the driver, “Say, is this really a Happy, healthful place?”

“It sure is,” the cabby replied. “When I arrived here I couldn’t say one word. I had hardly any hair on my head. I didn’t have the strength to walk across a room, and I had to be lifted out of bed. Besides that I woke up nearly every hour and cried.”

“That’s wonderful!” said the tourist, “How long have you been here?”

“I was born here.”



Valentines Factoids

NECCO’s Candy Conversation hearts were invented in the 1860s by the brother of NECCO’s founder. These first hearts had printed paper notes tucked inside. The lengthy, old-fashioned sayings included such wistful thoughts as “Please send a lock of your hair by return mail.”

Some classic sayings include “Kiss Me,” “Sweet Talk,” and “Be Mine.” Some mottos are discontinued for awhile and then make reappearance, while others are deleted for good when they become too outdated. Examples of outdated sayings include “Dig Me” and the cheerful “You Are Gay.” NECCO must produce about 100,000 pounds of the candy hearts every day in order to meet the Valentine demand, when about 8 billion hearts are sold in six weeks.

For 2010, NECCO introduced new flavors and sayings. The new flavors include strawberry, green apple, lemon, grape, orange, and blue raspberry.

For the first time in its 145-year history, the American public was invited to participate in an online survey to decide which phrases of love would appear on conversation hearts in 2010. The winners include: “Tweet Me,” “Text Me,” “You Rock,” “Soul Mate,” “Love Bug,” and “Me + You.”

Conversation hearts come in two sizes—the standard 1/2 inch and the larger 3/4 inch model. The small hearts generally can fit no more than two words with four letters each, while the large hearts may accommodate two words with six letters each.


Two Requests

A woman from New York was getting her affairs in order. She prepared her will and made her final arrangements. As part of these arrangements she met with her pastor to talk about what type of funeral service she wanted, etc.

She told her pastor she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Bloomingdales.

“Bloomingdales!” the pastor said. “Why Bloomingdales?”

“That way, I know my daughters will visit me twice a week.”


Whatever Floats Your Boat

Way down upon the Mississippi, two tugboat captains, who had been friends for years, would always cry, “Aye!” and blow their whistles whenever they passed each other.

A new crewman asked his boat’s mate, “What do they do that for?”

The mate looked surprised and replied, “You mean that you’ve never heard of … an aye for an aye and a toot for a toot?”


New Bumper Stickers

It’s been lovely, but I have to scream now.

This is not an abandoned vehicle.

It’s as bad as you think and they are out to get you.

I is a college student.

I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.

If money could talk, it would say goodbye.

I don’t care who you are, what you are driving, or where you would rather be.

So many pedestrians, so little time.

Honk if you’re illiterate

If you don’t like the way I drive, get off the sidewalk!

Car will explode upon impact

Q: My wife says I should cut down on meat, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

A: Your wife just doesn’t grasp logistical efficiencies the way you do. Look, what does a cow eat? Corn. And what’s corn? A vegetable. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass. And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of slop.


Random Acts Of Thinking

A dollar may not go as far as it used to, but what it lacks in distance, it makes up for in speed.

There’s nothing wrong with teenagers that 30 years won’t fix.

Yeah, I’m a bird lover. Mostly chicken. Mostly fried.

I was visiting a monastery recently and I saw a sign that read, “In case of fire, break vow of silence.”


The Black Telephone

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the Wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

“Information, please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.


“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.

“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered.

“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked

“No,”I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”

“Can you open the icebox?” she asked.

I said I could.

“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice..

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.

She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, “Information Please,” and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.”

“Information,” said in the now familiar voice.

“How do I spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.

“Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.


I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying,

“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”

I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?”

“I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

“Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle.

A different voice answered, “Information.”

I asked for Sally.

“Are you a friend?” she said.

“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,” She said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”

Before I could hang up, she said,

“Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?”

“Yes.” I answered.

“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.”

The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.