Dr. Dreyfuss: Why don't you grow up, Baxter? Be a mensch! You know what that means? Baxter:I'm not sure. Dr. Dreyfuss:A mensch -- a human being! ------------------------------------------------------------ Source: "The Apartment" (1960) ... with Jack Lemmon as Baxter, and Jack Kruschen as Dr. Dreyfuss
[Excerpted from "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth] pp. 257-259 ====================================== It was a small bathroom, exactly like ours, quite confining, the door next to a toilet and the toilet abutting a sink and a bathtub squeezed in beside that. I pulled on the door but it didn't open. At home I would just have closed it behind me, but at the Wishnows' I locked it --- something I'd never done before in my life. I locked it and I peed and I flushed and I washed my hands and, because I didn't want to touch their towel, wiped them dry on the back of the legs of my corduroys --- everything was fine, and then I went to exit the bathroom, and I couldn't undo the lock above the doorknob. I could turn it a little ways but then it would catch and stop. I didn't bang on the door or rattle the doorknob, I just kept trying to turn the lock as quietly as I could. But it wouldn't go, and so I sat back down on the toilet and I thought that maybe it would somehow work itself out. I sat there for a while but then I got lonesome and stood up and tried the lock again. It still wouldn't uncatch, and I started to knock lightly on the door, and Mrs. Wishnow came and said, "Oh, the lock on the door does that sometimes. You have to turn it like this." She explained how to do it, but I still couldn't get it open, and so very calmly she said, "No, Philip, while you're turning it you have to pull it back," and thought I tried to do as she told me it still didn't work. "Dear," she sad, "turn and back simultaneously --- turn and back at the same time." "Which way is back?" I said. "Back. Back towards the wall." "Oh, the wall. Okay," I said, but I couldn't get it right no matter what I did. "It won't work," I said, and I began to sweat, and then I heard Seldon. "Philip? It's Seldon. Why did you lock it? We weren't going to come in." "I didn't say you were," I said. "Then why did you lock it?" "I don't know," I said. "Do you think we should call the fire department, Mom? They can get him out with a ladder." "No, no, no," Mrs. Wishnow said. "Come on, Philip," Seldon said, "it's not that hard." "But it is. It's stuck." "How's he gonna get out, Ma?" "Seldon, be still, Philip?" "Yes." "Are you all right?" "Well, it's hot in here. It's getting hot." "Take a glass of water, dear. There's a glass in the medicine cabinet. Take a glass of water and slowly drink it and you'll be fine." "Okay." But the glass had something slimy at the bottom, and though I took it out, I only pretended to drink from it and drank instead from my cupped hands. "Ma," Seldon said, "what's he doing wrong? Philip, what are you doing wrong?" "How do I know?" I said. "Mrs. Wishnow? Mrs Wishnow?" "Yes, dear" "It's getting too hot in here. I'm really starting to sweat." "Then open the window. Open the little window in the shower. Are you tall enough to do that?" "I think so." I took off my shoes and stepped into the shower in just my socks, and standing on my tiptoes I was able to reach the window --- a smallish window of pebbled glass that looked onto the alleyway --- but when I tried to open it, it was stuck too. "It won't go," I sai. "Bang it a little, dear. Bang the frame at the bottom, but not too hard, and I'm sure it will open." I did as she told me but couldn't get it to budge. By now my shirt was saturated with sweat, and so I angled myself to be able to give the window a good strong shove upwards, but in turning I must have struck the shower handle with my elbow because suddenly the water was on. "Oh, no!" I said, and ice-cold water was poring over my head and down the back of my shirt, and I jumped out of the shower and onto the tile floor. "What happened, dear?" "The shower started." "How?" Seldon said. "How could the shower start?" "I don't know." "Are you very wet?" she asked me. "Sort of." "Get a towel," she told me. "Get a towel out of the closet. The towels are in the closet." We had the same narrow little bathroom closet directly upstairs over the Wishnow's bathroom closet, and we used it for towels too, but when I went to open theirs, I couldn't --- the door was stuck. I yanked but it wouldn't open. "What is it now, Philip?" "Nothing." I couldn't tell her. "Did you take a towel?" "Yes." "Then dry yourself off. And you must stay calm. Ther's nothing to worry about." "I am calm." "Sit down. Sit down and dry yourself off." Iwas soaking wet, and now the floor was getting wet, and I sat on the toilet seat, and that's when I saw a bathroom for what it is --- the upper end of a sewer --- and that's when I felt the tears begin to well up. "Don't worry," Seldon called in to me, "your mother and father will be home soon." "But how will I get out?" And all at once the door was open --- and there was Seldon and behind him his mother. "How'd you do that?" I said. "I opened the door," he said. "But how?" He shrugged. "I pushed. I just pushed. It was open all the time." And that was when I began to bawl and Mrs. Wishnow took me in her arms and said, "That's okay. Things like this happen. They can happen to anyone." "It was open, Ma," Seldon said to her. "Shhh," she told him. "Shhh. It doesn't matter," and then she came into the bathroom and turned off the cold water --- which was still streaming into the tub --- and without any problelm she opened the closet door and took out a fresh towel and began to dry my hair and my face and my neck, all the while gently telling me that it didn't matter and that these things happened to people all the time.
Charles de Gaulle was known for his regal bearing and fastidious nature, so much so that his imperiousness became a kind of running joke for the citizens of France. A popular gag imagined de Gaulle’s wife, Yvonne, returning from shopping and exclaiming, “God, I am tired.” Her husband is purported to have replied, “I have often told you, my dear, it was sufficient in private if you addressed me as ‘Monsieur le President.’” ======================================== * Charles deGaulle (1890-1970) and Yvonne deGaulle (1900-1979); married: 1921-1970 ===================================== Homage to the de Gaulles ...
Kinama [a folklore from Sidamo in Southern Ethiopia] ~ by Hénock Gugsa ~ ========================
Kinama was a brave young Sidama who lived alone in the wilds with her sheep and her goats. She lived inside a huge cave that had a big boulder right outside blocking the entrance. Kinama was always on the lookout for her two persistent and dangerous enemies --- the mighty leopard who was lord of the jungle, and the pesky hyena who was always sneaky. Everyday as Kinama took her charge out to the meadows to feed, she had to be extremely alert and be prepared for danger. She had to be especially wary of the leopard because he was unpredictably dangerous.
But being human, Kinama was prone to habit ... she had gotten into a routine of sorts. In the mornings, as she prepared to take her sheep and goats out of the cave, and she would say: My great cave, open your gate!
And when the boulder rolled back, she’d walk out with her animals. Once outside, she would turn and say to the cave: My great cave, close your gate!
Then she’d speak up nice and loud and say, “Today, I’m going to take my goats to graze at Digarre!” And instead of going to Digarre she’d go to Temede. But, the next day, she’d get up and say, “Today, I’m going to Temede,” but instead she’d go to Digarre. And although every day she’d be tricking the leopard in this fashion, she always made sure that nobody was listening to her when she was addressing the cave's entrance.
The great leopard was always lurking around not too far away, and he would be looking longingly at Kinama's goats and lambs and salivate. He was frustrated that Kinama had been outsmarting him every-time he made a move. He had to seriously devise a plan to outmaneuver Kinama, and so he came up with an idea. Over the next few days, the leopard decided to learn every aspect of her routine from beginning to end. Early in the morning everyday, he would clamber to a tree just above the cave and hide. When Kinama came out with the animals, he would make sure that she would not see him. The leopard would then put his ears to the ground so that he would be able to hear what Kinama was whispering to the cave.
As usual, each morning, Kinama would come out with her brood, talk to the cave in the same way that she always did. She would also broadcast, to anybody that might listen, where she was headed, and she would go on her way.
The morning came when the leopard was totally ready and he patiently waited for his moment. As soon as Kinama was gone, the leopard jumped down from behind the tree and ran up to the cave and said, “My great cave, open your gate.” The boulder rolled to the side and the cave opened up for him. The leopard went in, jumped up on a perch, and hid himself.
Later that day, Kinama and her animals returned to the cave. She was safely home, so she says, “My great cave, close your gate,” and the boulder rolls back shut !
She sits down and starts lighting a fire. But the leopard was on the perch and he starts salivating and a drop of his saliva falls into the fire. And immediately she knows that the leopard’s in the cave. And she also smells his scent. So she says, “I can smell the scent of my lord. He must be in this cave.” And she continues blowing down on the fire to keep it going. “Phoo phoo phoo ....” Another drop of saliva falls down from above and she says, “I’m sure my lord is in the cave. I can smell his scent very strongly.”
And from his perch the leopard says, “Yes, I am in the cave. Now, what is your choice? Do you want me to jump down and kill you, or shall I jump down on your fattest kid, Warpo, and eat him whole?”
And she said, “My great lord, you know I have been rearing fat Warpo for you. Why should you jump down and attack me? Instead, please come and grab Warpo.”
So the leopard pounced down on poor Warpo and killed him instantly. As the leopard slavered on the goat's blood, Kinama asked: Now, my great lord, shall I prepare the meat for you?
And he said, “Yes, do.” So she skinned the kid, and she said, “I need some water to boil the meat in.”
The leopard sad, “Then go to the river and get it!”
So she went out, got the water and came back. But, at the river she picked up a huge white stone called chela glaka. And she brought the stone back with her, and she surreptitiously covered it completely with the white fat of Warpo the kid. Then she put the fat-soaked rock on the fire and let it get sizzling hot.
The leopard was salivating and licking his lips. He was indeed very hungry! So Kinama said, “My lord, let me feed you. Please open your mouth wide.”
And he said, “Aah!” and opened his mouth very wide, and she quickly deposited the burning rock in his mouth and killed him promptly.
So now that she had gotten rid of one of her most dangerous enemies, Kinama decided to next deal with the hyena once and for all. Kinama was ready for the challenge. The first thing she did was to take out the bones of the kid and scatter them outside the entrance of the cave. After that, she waited patiently.
But she didn't have to wait long; the dastardly hyena arrived on the scene as expected.
“What are all these bones?” He inquired. "They're all for you. Why don't you have some? I’ve got plenty of food here for you to eat."
And of course, as you know, the hyena was a greedy lout. “Oh, you do?”
“Yes, there are lots of yummy things for you to eat. But I’ll only feed you on one condition. That is: you must let me stitch together your tail to mine.”
The ravenous hyena was not very attentive, he was only focused on the food that was laid out on the ground in front of him. So he said, “OK, go ahead.”
He began eating the bones ... and, as she pierced his tail with the needle, he yelled, “Stop! That hurts!”
She said, “Then stop eating.” He said, “No, I want to eat. I’m hungry.” “Well if you want to eat, I’ve got to stitch our tails together.” He said, “OK, go ahead.”
And Kinama hurried and stitched the leopard’s tail and the hyena’s tail together while the hyena was crunching on the bones.
Then she said, “Look, hyena, what will you do if your lord, the leopard, appears?”
And he said, “No, don’t even mention his name. If he appeared, I’d dash away running for my life. I’d be so scared that I’d jump over thickets and everything, and fall into a chasm, probably.” She said, “Are you sure?” “Yes.”
So she waited until he ate a few more bones. Then she yelled, “Our lord is behind you! The leopard is behind you!”
The hyena turned and saw the leopard's spots, which scared him no end. Coward that he was, he went running. And because he was now permanently tethered to the leopard's tail, what he was now seeing was the leopard pouncing on him. Almost like lightening, the terrified hyena bolted through bushes and thickets until he finally reached a cliff ... and he couldn't stop ... he fell screaming and cackling to his death!
Moral of the story: Brawn and cunning are no match for brains and acumen!
A Floridian goes into a bar in Calgary where there is a robot bartender.
The robot says, “What will you have?”
The guy replies, “Whiskey.”
The robot brings back his drink and asks, “What’s your I.Q.?”
The guy says, “168.”
The robot then commences to talk about physics, space exploration, and medical technology.
So the guy leaves the bar and outside in the street, he is reflecting upon his experience at the bar. And the more he thinks about it, the more perplexed he gets ... so he decides to go back.
At the bar, the robot asks, “What’s your drink?”
The guy answers, “Whiskey.”
The robot returns with the drink and asks, “What’s your I.Q.?”
The man replies, “100.”
The robot begins to talk about NASCAR, Budweiser, the Lions, and hockey.
The man finishes his drink and leaves. But he is so intrigued by the result of his little “experiment” that he decides to try one more test.
He goes back to the bar and, as usual, the robot asks him what he wants to drink.
The man replies, “Whiskey.”
The robot brings the drink and asks, “What’s your IQ?”
The man answers, “50.”
The robot leans in real close and asks, “So . . . are . . . you people . . . still happy . . . with Trump?”