If you can't convince them, confuse them.
Neil Marten, a member of the British Parliament, was once giving a group of his
constituents a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. During the course of the visit,
the group happened to meet Lord Hailsham, then lord chancellor, wearing all the regalia of
his office. Hailsham recognized Marten among the group and cried, "Neil!" Not
daring to question or disobey the "command," the entire band of visitors
promptly fell to their knees!
Today in the Word, July 30, 1993.
In The Mask Behind the Mask, biographer Peter Evans says that actor Peter Sellers
played so many roles he sometimes was not sure of his own identity. Approached once by a
fan who asked him, "Are you Peter Sellers?" Sellers answered briskly, "Not
today," and walked on.
Today in the Word, July 24, 1993.
All publishers receive strange letters from readers, but this one to the Christian
Science Monitor is a classic: Dear Sir: When I subscribed a year ago you stated that if I
was not satisfied at the end of the year I could have my money back. Well, I would like to
have it back. On second thought, to save you the trouble, you may apply it on my next
Bits & Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 22.
When the Washington Territory was ready for statehood in 1889, there was a proposal to
call it Columbia, in honor of the mighty Columbia River. Legislators rejected the idea in
the fear that our 42nd state would then be confused with the District of Columbia. So they
stuck with their original choice, and named it Washington.
A university student was seen with a large "K" printed on his T- shirt. When
someone asked him what the "K" stood for, he said, "Confused."
"But," the questioner replied, "you don't spell "confused" with a
"K." The student answered, "You don't know how confused I am."
"Get this thing straight once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create
disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder."
Mayor Richard J. Daley,
defending the actions of policemen during the Democratic convention in 1968.
A teacher was handed the following note by one of her students: "Dear Teacher,
Please excuse Harriet for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off
the porch, and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday."
Harry Truman enjoyed telling about the man who was hit on the head at work. The blow
was so severe he was knocked unconscious for an extended period of time. His family,
convinced he was dead, called the funeral home and asked the local undertaker to pick him
up at the hospital, which he did. Early the following morning this dear man suddenly awoke
and sat straight up in the casket. Confused, he blinked several times and looked around,
trying to put the whole thing together. He thought, "If I'm alive, what in the world
am I doing in this soft, satin-filled box? And if I'm dead, why do I have to go to the
A "do it yourself" catalog firm received the following letter from one of its
customers: "I built a birdhouse according to your stupid plans, and not only is it
much too big, it keeps blowing out of the tree. Signed, Unhappy. The firm replied:
"Dear Unhappy, We're sorry about the mix-up. We accidentally sent you a sailboat
blueprint. But if you think you are unhappy, you should read the letter from the guy who
came in last in the yacht club regatta."