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WITandWISDOM(tm) - May 21, 1998
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. - Larry Eisenberg
(Shared by Keith's Mostly Clean Humor & Weird List KSullivan@worldnet.att.net)
by Paul Villard
When I was quite young, my family had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished oak case fastened to the wall on the lower stair landing. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I even remember the number-105. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked into it. Once she lifted me up to speak to my father, who was away on business. Magic!
Then I discovered that somewhere inside that wonderful device lived an amazing person-her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing that she did not know. My mother could ask her for anybody's number, when our clock ran down. Information Please immediately supplied the correct time.
My first personal experience with this genie-in-the-receiver came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible, but there didn't seem to be of much use crying because there was no one home to offer sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway.
The telephone! Quickly I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver and held it to my ear. "Information Please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two, and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
"Information." "I hurt my fingerrr-" I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough, now that I had an audience. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question. "Nobody's at home but me," I blubbered. "Are you bleeding?" "No," I replied. "I hit it with the hammer and it hurts." "Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it on your finger. That will stop the hurt. Be careful when you use the ice pick," she admonished. "And don't cry. You'll be alright."
After that, I called Information Please for everything. I asked for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was, and the Orinco - the romantic river I was going to explore when I grew up. She helped me with my arithmetic, and she told me that a pet chipmunk I had caught him in the park just that day before-would eat fruits and nuts.
And there was the time that Petey, our pet canary, died. I called Information Please and told her the sad story. She listened, then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was unconsoled: Why was it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring
joy to whole families, only to end as a heap of feathers feet up, on the bottom of a cage?
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she quietly said, "Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better. Another day I was at the telephone. "Information," said the now familiar voice. How do you spell fix?" I asked. "Fix
At that instant my sister, who took unholy joy in scaring me, jumped off the stairs at me with a banshee shriek - "Yaaaaaaaaaa!" I fell off the stool, pulling the receiver out of the box by its roots. We were both terrified - Information Please was no longer there, and I was not at all sure that I hadn't hurt her when I pulled the receiver out.
Minutes later there was a man on the porch. "I'm a telephone repairman. I was working down the street and the operator said there might be some trouble at this number." He reached for the receiver in my hand. What happened?" I told him.
"Well, we can fix that in a minute or two." He opened the telephone box, exposing a maze of wires and coils, and fiddled for a while with the end of the receiver cord, tightened things with a small screwdriver. He jiggled the hook up and down a few times, then spoke into the phone. "Hi, this is Pete. Everything's under control at 105. The kid's sister scared him and he pulled the cord out of the box." He hung up, smiled, gave me a pat on the head and walked out the door.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Then, when I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston - and I missed my mentor acutely. Information Please belonged in that old wooden box back at home, and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, skinny new phone that sat on a small table in the hall.
Yet, as I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversation never really left me; often in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had when I know that I could Call Information Please and get the right answer. I appreciated now how very patient, understanding and kind she was to have wasted her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way back to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half an hour between plane connections, and I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister who lived there now, happily mellowed by marriage and motherhood. Then, really without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said,"Information Please." Miraculously, I heard again the small, clear voice that I know so well: "Information."
I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,"Could you tell me, please, how to spell the word 'fix'?" There was a long pause. Then came the softly spoken answer. "I guess," said Information Please, "that your finger must have healed by now." I laughed. "So it's really
still you. I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during all that time . . ." "I wonder," she replied, "if you know how much you meant to me? I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls. Silly, wasn't it?" It didn't seem silly, but I didn't say so. Instead I told her how often I had thought of her over the years, and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister the first semester was over.
"Please do. Just ask for Sally." "Good-bye Sally." It sounded strange for Information Please to have a name. "If I run into any chipmunks, I'll tell them to eat fruits and nuts." "Do that," she said. "And I expect one of these days you'll be off for the Orinoco. Well, good-bye."
Just three months later I was back again at the Seattle airport. A different voice answered,"Information," and I asked for Sally. "Are you a friend?" "Yes," I said. "An old friend." "Then I'm sorry to have to tell you. Sally had only been working part-time in the last few years because she was ill. She died five weeks ago." But before I could hang up, she said, " Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Villard?" "Yes." "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down." "What was it?" I asked, almost knowing in advance what it would be. "Here it is, I'll read it-' Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean'" I thanked her and hung up. I did know what Sally meant.
(Shared by Martin Lee)
THIS & THAT:
This is a parody of the Myer's-Brigg personality test, which is based on Jungian personality typology (say that fast 5 times!).
MBTI Types Prayers
ISTJ: Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 11:41:23 a.m. E.S.T.
ISTP: God, help me to consider people's feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.
ESTP: God, help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they're usually NOT my fault.
ESTJ: God, help me to not try to RUN everything. But, if You need some help, just ask.
ISFJ: Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right.
ISFP: Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if you don't mind my asking).
ESFP: God, help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing.
ESFJ: God, give me patience, and I mean right NOW.
INFJ: Lord, help me not to be a perfectionist (did I spell that correctly?).
INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta
ENFP: God, help me to keep my mind on one th - Look a bird! - at a time.
ENFJ: God, help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?
INTJ: Lord, keep me open to other's ideas, WRONG though they may be.
INTP: Lord, help me to be less independent, but let me do it my way.
ENTP: Lord, help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I'll settle for a few minutes.
ENTJ: Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwhatIdo.
(Shared by Dave Tippet via Mikey's Funnies http://www.YouthSpecialties.com)
An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!"
Buddy didn't move.
Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing.
Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.
The motorist was most appreciative but very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"
(Shared by Mary Ella)
HONGKONG FACTS AND FIGURES
Hongkong's new airport is due to open July 6th of this year. Here are some interesting facts and figures as reported in the South China Morning Post . . .
13 million man days were needed to build the 515,000 square meter, 1.3 kilometer- long passenger terminal complex.
Chek Lap Kok is the only airport in the world to have every gate and terminal capable of taking 747 aircraft or larger.
The airport will eventually be able to handle 80 planes taking off or landing every hour and cope with 87 million passengers and nine million metric tones of air cargo a year.
The reclamation contract made Hongkong home to the largest commercial dredger fleet ever assembled. A the peak, operators moved the equivalent volume (of dirt) of an Empire Sate Building every five days. (Chek Lap Kok was originally a fairly insignificant Island and had to be flattened and expanded in size to make room for the runways.)
The terminal has more than 100,000 light fittings, 5,500 doors, 2.5 kilometers of moving walkways, 94 elevators and 115,000 square meters of carpet.
(Shared by MONDAY FODDER by Dave in Hong Kong email@example.com)