Thought Provokers

Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

Charles Plum, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a Communist prison. He survived that ordeal and now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did – if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform – a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you,’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute? Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.”

Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

Where There’s Manure…

There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who only ever saw the bright side of life. The other was a dark pessimist, who only ever saw the down side in every situation.

The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to the Doctor. He suggested a plan. “On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike, but give the optimist only a pile of manure.”

It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do. After all the parents had always treated heir boys equally. But in this instance they decided to try to Doctor’s advice. So when the twins birthday came round they gave the pessimist the most expensive, top of the range, racing bike a child has ever owned. When he saw the bike his first words were, “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.”

To the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure. He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, then ran outside screaming, “You can’t fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s just gotta be a pony around here somewhere!”

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Medical Secretary Typos

We all make mistakes and for several medical secretaries, what they typed didn’t quite explain the actual situation…

  • Patient has left her white blood cells at another hospital.
  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
  • Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Jones, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.
  • The patient refused autopsy.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until she got a divorce.
  • Discharge status: Alive, but without my permission.
  • Skin: somewhat pale, but present.
  • Patient was found in bed with her power mower.
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Kids and Science

  • One horsepower is the amount of energy it takes to drag a horse 500 feet in one second.
  • You can listen to thunder after lightening and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don’t hear it, you got hit, so never mind.
  • When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions.
  • When people run around and around in circles, we say they are crazy. When planets do it, we say they are orbiting.
  • While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating.
  • Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change into a sun in the daytime.
  • A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go.
  • Many dead animals of the past changed to fossils, others preferred to become oil.
  • Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they are there.
  • Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.
  • We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.
  • I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.
  • In making rain water, it takes everything from H to O.
  • Rain is saved up in cloud banks.
  • Cyanide is so poisonous that one drop of it on a dog’s tongue will kill the strongest man.
  • Thunder is a rich source of loudness.
  • Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound.
  • It is so hot in some parts of the world that the people there have to live in other places.
  • H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water.
  • To collect fumes of sulfur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube. When you smell an odorless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide.
  • Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water.
  • Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars.
  • Blood flows down one leg and up the other.
  • Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration.
  • The moon is a planet, just like the earth, only it is even deader.
  • Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire.
  • Mushrooms always grow in damp places so they look like umbrellas.
  • The pistol of a flower is its only protections against insects.
  • The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to.
  • A permanent set of teeth consist of eight canines, eight cuspids, two molars, and eight cuspidors.
  • The tides are a fight between the earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.
  • A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.
  • Germinate: To become a naturalized German.
  • Liter: A nest of young puppies.
  • Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat.
  • Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away.
  • Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky.
  • Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot.
  • Vacuum: A large, empty space where the Pope lives.
  • Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative.
  • To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose.
  • For a nosebleed, put the nose much lower than the body until the heart stops.
  • For dog bite put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it.
  • For head cold use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat.
  • To keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the cow.
Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

English is a Crazy Language

Let’s face it English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England or french fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on.

When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?

Now I know why I flunked my English. It’s not my fault — the silly language doesn’t quite know whether it’s coming or going.

Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

Questions Asked at National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park:

  • Was this man-made?
  • Do you light it up at night?
  • Is the mule train air conditioned?
  • So where are the faces of the presidents?

Everglades National Park:

  • Are the alligators real?
  • Are the baby alligators for sale?
  • Where are all the rides?
  • What time does the two o’clock bus leave?

Mesa Verde National Park:

  • Did people build this, or did Indians?
  • Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?
  • Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?
  • What did they worship in the kivas–their own made-up religion?
  • Why did the Indians decide to live in Colorado?

Carlsbad Caverns National Park:

  • How much of the cave is underground?
  • So what’s in the unexplored part of the cave?
  • Does it ever rain in here?
  • How many Ping-Pong balls would it take to fill this up?
  • So what is this–just a hole in the ground?

Yosemite National Park:

  • Where are the cages for the animals?
  • What time of year do you turn on Yosemite Falls?
  • What happened to the other half of Half Dome?
  • Can I get my picture taken with the carving of President Clinton?

Denali National Park:

  • What time do you feed the bears?
  • What’s so wonderful about Wonder Lake?
  • Can you show me where yeti lives?
  • How often do you mow the tundra?
  • How much does Mount McKinley weigh?

Yellowstone National Park:

  • Does Old Faithful erupt at night?
  • How do you turn it on?
  • When does the guy who turns it on get to sleep?
  • We had no trouble finding the park entrances, but where are the exits?
Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

Signs You Are Getting Old

  • Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.
  • The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bi-focals.
  • You keep repeating yourself.
  • You feel like the morning after and you haven’t been anywhere.
  • Your little black book contains only names that end in M.D.
  • Your children begin to look middle aged.
  • You keep repeating yourself.
  • You finally reach the top of the ladder and find it leaning against the wrong wall.
  • Your mind makes contracts your body can’t meet.
  • You look forward to a dull evening.
  • Your favorite part of the newspaper is “20 Years Ago Today.”
  • You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
  • You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
  • Your knees buckle, and your belt won’t.
  • You’re 17 around the neck, 42 around the waist, and 105 around the golf course.
  • Your back goes out more than you do.
  • You sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
  • You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
  • You’re asleep, but others worry that you’re dead.
  • You’re proud of your lawn mower.
  • Your best friend is dating someone half their age…and isn’t breaking any laws.
  • Your arms are almost too short to read the newspaper.
  • You would rather go to work than stay home sick.
  • You make an appointment to see the dentist.
  • People call at 9 pm and ask, “Did I wake you?”
  • You have a dream about prunes.
  • You answer a question with, “Because I said so.”
  • You send money to PBS.
  • The end of your tie doesn’t come anywhere near the top of your pants.
  • You take a metal detector to the beach.
  • You wear black socks with sandals.
  • You can’t remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch TV.
  • Your ears and nose are hairier than your head.
  • You got cable for the Weather Channel (sometimes referred to as “Old Folks MTV”).
  • If a young girl looks at you, you check to make sure you remembered to put on your pants.
  • You keep repeating yourself.
  • You discover bifocals are stylish.
  • When you do the “Hokey Pokey” you put your left hip out…and you can’t get it back around.
  • Most women you know under 40 put you in the “Friend of my Father” class.
  • Relatives smile benignly rather than interrupt you as you retell the same story for the zillionth time.
  • You run out of breath walking DOWN a flight of stairs.
  • Conversations with people your own age often turn into “dueling ailments.”
  • People don’t harass you any more when you take an afternoon nap.
  • Your social security number only has three digits.
  • In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
  • It’s harder and harder for sexual harassment charges to stick.
  • Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
  • No one expects you to run into a burning building.
  • Restaurants stop asking to see your senior discount card.
  • People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
  • There’s nothing left to learn the hard way.
  • Things you buy now won’t wear out.
  • You buy a compass for the dash of your car.
  • You can eat dinner at 4:00.
  • You consider coffee one of the most important things in life.
  • You constantly talk about the price of gasoline.
  • You’re actually interested in hearing about other people’s operations.
  • You get into a heated argument about pension plans and social security.
  • You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.
  • You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
  • You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
  • You sing along with the elevator music.
  • You talk about “good grass” and you’re referring to someone’s lawn.
  • Your eyes won’t get much worse.
  • Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
  • Your joints are more accurate than the National Weather Service.
  • Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

Things God Won’t Ask You

  • God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
  • God won’t ask the square footage of your house, He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
  • God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.
  • God won’t ask what your highest salary was, He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
  • God won’t ask what your job title was, He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of our ability.
  • God won’t ask how many friends you had, He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
  • God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.
  • God won’t ask about the color of your skin, He’ll ask about the content of your character.
  • God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation, He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.
Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments

Things My Mother Taught Me

  • My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”
  • My mother taught me RELIGION. “You’d better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
  • My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
  • My mother taught me LOGIC. “Because I said so, that’s why.”
  • My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
  • My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
  • My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
  • My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
  • My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”
  • My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
  • My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”
  • My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”
  • My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
  • My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”
  • My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”
  • My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”
  • My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”
  • My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”
  • My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”
  • My mother taught me HUMOR. “When that lawnmower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
  • My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
  • My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”
  • My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”
  • My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”
  • My mother taught me about JUSTICE. “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
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Ads That Don’t Quite Work

  • Lost: small apricot poodle. Reward. Neutered. Like one of the family.
  • Dinner Special — Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
  • For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
  • Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
  • No matter what your topcoat is made of, this miracle spray will make it really repellent.
  • Great Dames for sale.
  • Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.
  • Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it!
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro, the breathtaking backdrop for the Serena Lodge. Swim in the lovely pool while you drink it all in.
  • Sheer stockings. Designed for fancy dress, but so serviceable that lots of women wear nothing else.
  • Stock up and save. Limit: one.
  • Save regularly in our bank. You’ll never reget it.
  • Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
  • Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals, and smacks included.
  • Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go anywhere else again.
  • Wanted: Preparer of food. Must be dependable, like the food business, and be willing to get hands dirty.
  • Girl wanted to assist magician in cutting-off-head illusion. Blue Cross and salary.
  • Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating.
  • Mother’s helper–peasant working conditions.
  • Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale.
  • And now, the Superstore–unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
Posted by Greg in Thought Provokers, 0 comments