Thanks for the input; here’s what I said today

Thanks so much for y’all’s last-minute help with my Health & Happiness routine today. I used a lot of it, as you will see if you peruse my script I threw together… Note that the parts that I struck through were the bits that I cut when President Robin said I needed to keep it short. She’s always telling me to keep it short; don’t know why.

Anyway, here you go:


OK, so now it’s time for my prepared material…

I use “prepared” loosely. I’m a last-minute replacement for Ann Marie Stieritz. Yeah, I know, I’m sorry – this is what you get. Not the same, I know.Ann Marie found out over the weekend that she was doing double-duty at Rotary today, and asked if I’d swap with her at the last minute. And I just couldn’t say no to her. Well, INITIALLY I DID say no to her, but then she threatened to beat me up…

What? You don’t think she’d do that? Well, she convinced ME, so here I am…

So I cheated. I appealed to folks on my blog – that’s BRADWARTHEN.COM – begging them for some material. And they came through with stuff like this:

A PORK CHOP goes into a bar. The bartender takes one look and says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

You don’t like that? Well, it could be worse. I did come up with one REALLY SHORT joke on my own. Here goes:

“State Senator Robert Ford…”

… what? Do I need to get a drummer to go BA-DA-BOOMP-CHICK! so you’ll know when the joke’s over?

Did you see that news story? Quoting from The Associated Press:

An African-American lawmaker in South Carolina said Tuesday that stricter illegal immigration laws would hurt the state because blacks and whites don’t work as hard as Hispanics.

State Sen. Robert Ford made his remarks during a Senate committee debate over an Arizona-style immigration law, eliciting a smattering of nervous laughter in the chamber after he said “brothers” don’t work as hard as Mexicans. He continued that his “blue-eyed brothers” don’t either.

Way I look at it, illegal immigrants already have enough political enemies in South Carolina. They really don’t need any friends like Senator Ford.

But enough about Democrats. I want to take a moment to stick up for Sarah Palin.

Do you remember all the trouble she got into when misused the term “blood libel,” a phrase describing one of the nastiest lies invented by antiSemites? The former Alaska governor defended herself by pleading ignorance about the significance of what she said.

Hey, when Sarah Palin pleads ignorance, I believer her. Absolutely.

OK, here’s another one from my blog readers:

What did the cow say to the near-sighted farmer?

You’re pulling my leg.

These, I must attribute to my regular reader Doug, because they do NOT reflect my views. At least, not all of them:

— Well, it’s Valentines Day today and that’s a special day for most couples. But for Nikki and Michael Haley, it’s even more special. It’s the day they pay their income taxes for 2009.

–When Mick Zais took over as Secretary of Education, he called Jim Rex to get some information. “How many people work at the Department of Education, Jim?” Rex thought for a moment and replied, “About half of them.”

–Ken Ard would have liked to have been here this morning but he is busy at his office with a bag full of receipts and a “Dummy’s Guide to Photoshop”.

— What’s the difference between Hosni Mubarek and Mark Sanford? One of them ruled over a bunch of wild eyed zealots who want to tear down the government and the other one was President of Egypt.

OK, that’s meaner than MY political gags. So let me take a moment to say something nice. Really. It’s about Joe Wilson.

There was a movement to get Democrats and Republicans to sit together at the State of the Union. Some members of the SC delegation reacted negatively. Newly minted congressman Mick Mulvaney said: “If you’re looking for empty symbolism, where one sits at the State of the Union (address) might be at the top of the list.”

You know what tops MY list of the most pointless, negative symbolism that Congress engages in, the thing that’s most insulting to the American people? The fact that the REST of the time, they only SIT  with, and TALK to, and LISTEN to, members of their own party. They act like they think they’re there to serve a party instead of this country.

And that’s why I appreciate Joe Wilson for sitting with Democrats Susan Davis from California and Madeleine Bordallo from Guam. Both are HASC members. Yes, it’s a silly little gesture that doesn’t accomplish much by itself. But a few thousand more such little gestures of common courtesy could to a long way toward reducing the pointless nastiness of politics in Washington.

So thank you, Joe Wilson.

I’ll finish up with some stuff from my old friend Burl Burlingame. Burl, I should explain, is a newspaperman out in Hawaii, where he and I graduated from high school together. That helps explain his attitude. Here are Burl’s WORDS TO LIVE BY:

— Eagles may soar high, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

— There may be no ‘I’ in team, but there’s a ‘ME’ if you look hard enough.

— Never do today that which will become someone else’s responsibility tomorrow.

Put the key of despair into the lock of apathy. Turn the knob of mediocrity slowly and open the gates of despondency – welcome to a day in the average office.

— If your boss is getting you down, look at him through the prongs of a fork and imagine him in jail.

— If you’re gonna be late, then BE late and not just 2 minutes – make it an hour and enjoy your breakfast.

— If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven’t understood the seriousness of the situation.

I killed — with the stuff y’all contributed. My own stuff I threw in… not so much. I think they liked Doug’s and Burl’s material the best.

Biggest laugh? The one about the Haleys and their taxes. I think the extra laughter was prompted by relief. The setup made a lot of people cringe, expecting an entirely different sort of punchline.

By contrast… I had thrown in the bit about Ann Marie Stieritz (for whom I was substituting) threatening to beat me up because I thought it would be an easy laugh that would get them in the mood to keep laughing. (You see, Ann Marie is a very bright, classy, charming and delightful lady of the sort that no one could possibly imagine uttering harsh words, much less taking a swing at anybody. Also, I’m WAY bigger than she is, so the idea of  my being physically intimidated is totally… oh, never mind.) But it totally failed. Not even a suppressed snort from anybody. At that point, I began to worry that the audience wanted to beat me up.

Then, the “pork chop goes into a bar” gag ALSO failed, to the point that I blamed it on Kathryn Fenner by name, and pointed her out in the crowd.

Fortunately, the line, “State Senator Robert Ford…,” spoken in a tone as though those were the opening lines of a broadcast news report, broke them up so successfully that I got back on track. Thank you, senator…

When people came up to me after, I was fully prepared with an all-purpose response that either deflected criticism (if they DIDN’T like it) or made for a becoming display of false modesty (if they DID): “Hey, I just get up there and use the stuff the writers give me…”

5 thoughts on “Thanks for the input; here’s what I said today

  1. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Dude– I sent you to a site with thousands of jokes, most of which are rather funny. You didn’t even have to find it on your own. You picked the first one they listed, and gave it the kind of delivery that only Pat Paulsen or Steven Wright could have gotten away with.

    Find your own jokes next time.

  2. Brad

    Gosh, it’s true — comedy writers ARE sensitive. All of a sudden, I feel sorry for Alan Brady (or rather his brother-in-law Mel Cooley) for having to deal with Morey Amsterdam.

    That was a Boomer cultural reference, kids. Several of them, in fact.

    Everybody thinks the star is the touchy, temperamental one. But as “30 Rock” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show” have shown us, you need to keep an eye on the writers as well…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *