WASHINGTON, November 20, 2012 — When I grew up in Pennsylvania, ages ago, we called the bread dish inside the roasted Thanksgiving turkey, “filling.” Later I learned that most people call it “stuffing.” So, depending on what you call it, you’ll find this column to be stuffed with filling or filled with stuffing. It’s an assortment of brief odds-and-end items, some serious, some just for fun.
I like statistics and I like factoids. I’m sure that if there were such a thing, I’d like “statoids” too. Here are some of my favorite factoids:
* Rick Edelman on Washington’s WMAL. He asked which costs more: a year at Harvard or a year in a nursing home? The answer: a year in a nursing home costs twice as much as a year in Harvard. After hearing that, I told my wife, Geri, “If I get really sick, send me to Harvard.”
* It’s good to have standing. And it’s good to be longstanding. So why would anybody want to be understanding? And why, except for when being on a bridge, is there no “overstanding”?
* A maxim is a common thought expressed uncommonly well. One of my favorites: “You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.”
* The only group you can still tease in these politically correct days is bald men. They can’t sue for “hairassment” because they’re not eligible for a “hirsute.”
* The little boy tried to defend his position by saying, “The trouble started when he hit me back.”
* What makes people who haven’t seen a storage item for 12 years decide that their life would somehow be diminished without it?
* Why is a five-syllable, eleven-letter word, “paronomasia,” a synonym for the puny word, “pun”?
* Why do people who begin a sentence with, “Well, I was going to say,” go ahead and say it?
* When people have to wait an excessive amount of time for a bus that doesn’t come, why do they take it out on the driver of the bus that does come?
* Two men looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw the stars.
* A Giant Food store was going out of business. When I walked inside, a clerk was stacking boxes on a table. “On sale?” I asked. “Yes. Half price,” he answered. The next day I walked in the same store and saw the same clerk piling boxes on the same table. “Half price?” I asked. “No. Buy one get one free,” he answered.
* I remember the time the waitress asked my Geri, “Do you want that grilled cheese sandwich toasted?”
* To me, the most irritating repetitive TV newscaster error: “…as of yet.” Hey, anchor-boy, it’s either “yet,” “as yet” or “as of now.”
* You never get to talk about yourself in your absence.
* Second grader Donnie shocked his parents at the dinner table when he said, “I passed out in school today.” After they shouted in alarm, he continued, “First I passed out paper; then I passed out crayons.”
* The customer was lingering near the lingerie.
* I’m waiting for someone to write a melody to my Country and Western song title, “She Lost Her Giggle and Her Wiggle and Her Chivas Isn’t Regal Anymore.”
* Did you ever notice how often the music is too loud when you start up your car, but it wasn’t too loud when you turned it off?
* The best thing you can do behind a friend’s back is pat it.
* Don’t be discouraged. After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, in 1933, an MGM director wrote a memo saying, “Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”
* “He held her tenderly in the palm of his imagination.”
* Few people reach their full potential. If you have, go get some more potential.
* If you don’t tell your story, who will?
* Get your course from the stars, not from the lights of a passing ship.
* He was so grouchy, when opportunity knocked, he complained about the noise.
* Take the “xplo” out of “Explosion” and it spells “noise” backwards.
* If it bothers you that rose bushes have thorns, why not think of them as thorn bushes that have such beautiful roses?
* If “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” why don’t we all stay home? Wouldn’t that solve a lot of problems?
* “Why does that man talk so loud on his phone?” she complained. Her husband said, “He’s probably talking lung distance.” (Do cellular young people remember long distance?)
* Think of three things you are thankful for. Then share them around the Thanksgiving table. It will start a cornucopia of thanks giving.
* Finally, a Thanksgiving prayer: “And of Thou who hast given us so much, we ask for one thing more: grateful hearts.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!
Vance Garnett’s writings have appeared in major newspapers and magazines. They have won the praise of such luminaries as Paul Harvey, William Safire, and Shirley Povich. Vance has shared his life experiences and knowledge of D.C. with the Washington Historical Society, the Kiwanis clubs of the Washington area, and on WAMU’s “Kojo Nnamdi Show.”
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