By: Luther Beauchamp
While trying to be funny, on and off the platform, unplanned funny things happen. Some of these I call “funny rebounds.”
At a recent presentation, one listener was choking with laughter. Pausing, I looked in his direction and then back toward the others and asked, “Does anyone here know the number for 911?” A woman’s voice answered, “You’ll have to call 411 for that kind of information.”
At another meeting I talked about the educational benefits of reading bumper stickers. One was, “Happiness is seeing your mother-in-law on a milk carton.” A man in the front row, in a voice loud enough for all to hear, said, “Yeah, but that can sure mess up your milk drinking”.
On my way into a church meeting, I spoke to a friend, asking, “How are you today?” When he said, “Fine,” my joking response was “You could’ve fooled me.” He countered, “I always could.”
My law partner for several years was another Beauchamp, my second cousin. As often happened, someone asked if the two of us were brothers. Trying to be funny, I responded, “No, my brother is living.” My partner quickly shot back, “All my brothers can read and write.”
While speaking for a civic club several years ago, I told a story about a man whose right index finger was missing. He explained to a friend he had not seen in a long time that the missing digit was not the result of an accident. “That was the finger that pulled the lever to vote for (a certain candidate who was elected governor of Florida). I wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.”
A district governor of the civic club made a few remarks after my presentation. As he spoke, I noticed that his right index finger was gone. Fearing that I may have embarrassed him by my story, I apologized to him as soon as the meeting was over. He held up both hands, showing that both the right and left index fingers were missing, as he said, “Don’t worry about it. I voted twice.”
One story often used in my platform presentation is about my visit to an optometrist. It includes several lines that usually evoke laughter. I stated that after having the glasses for about ten days I accidentally sat on them and broke them. Calling the office to report the damage I asked the receptionist if I would have to be examined all over. She replied, “No, just your eyes.” At the end of the meeting one of the guests said he thought I was going to say that sitting on my glasses had improved my hindsight. Now my story includes a statement that sitting on the glasses did not improve my hindsight at all.
The President of one organization brought a stool about a foot high thinking that my altitude could be improved. I started out without the use of the stool and thought the President might be offended if I did not use it. After moving the stool into place and adding twelve inches to my height of nearly 5 feet 4 inches, I looked out at the audience and said, “This is much better. I can see almost all of you. Can you see me ?”
A man seated to my left spoke up, “We wondered where you were.”
Try to be funny. Watch for rebounds. They may be even funnier.