PARTV@SHORT STORIES


The flowers in silence seem to breathe
Such thoughts as language cannot tell.


P @A boy was in the lake and walked out too far and was in danger of drowning. He called loudly for help to an old man on the shore. The old man just stood there and lectured to the boy about the dangers of going out into deep water. @The boy called to the old man, gSave me now; lecture to me later. h ( And so it is with the economy. We need action now and we need to save the criticism until later.) This means that we need to do something to take care of an emergency first and save our criticisms until later - not just stand by and do nothing and criticize.
@Q @A dog, having surprised a rabbit in a bush, chased the rabbit some distance, but couldn't catch it, and finally gave up. The dog's companion made fun of the dog, saying that the rabbit could easily run faster than the dog. The@dog replied that it was one thing to be running for your dinner, and another to be running for your life. (And, like that rabbit, we need to take our@environmental problems seriously - just like @we were running for our lives@- because we are!) This means that we don't do as well (can't run as fast or perform as well) when we have simply a casual or non-critical interest or reason as we do when it's a matter of glife or deathh- as when we have a very important (critical) reason. During emergencies people usually perform much better - their performance exceeds normal expectations.
R After hearing all of the speakers who have preceded me, and being impressed by what they have had to say, I'm reminded of the Indians who were on top of the mountain sending smoke signals. Suddenly, there@was a tremendous atomic explosion and the smoke curled skyward for miles. gGee,h muttered one of the Indians, gI wish I'd said that!h American Indians used to communicate by smoke signals. They would hold a blanket over a fire to trap the smoke, then quickly release the smoke. The combinations of puffs of smoke signaled specific meanings. Here, the big cloud of smoke made by an atomic explosion would be tremendous and awesome. The Indian saying gGee, I wish I'd said that! h of course, is absurd and humorous. The atomic cloud wouldn't have any meaning, but it would be very impressive and huge.
S A man explaining the difference courtesy and tact said, gIf I open the bathroom door and a woman is taking a bath, and I say, eOh, pardon me, sir! f that eexcuse mef is courtesy. eSirfis tact.h So, it is that we tact in dealing with others. This is humorous. Saying gpardon meh is courteous - this would apply whether the person was a man or a woman. If the person is a woman, saying gsirh would be tact - a very diplomatic way to address the person so as not to cause undue embarrassment.
T A man who prided himself on his lovely lawn wrote to the Agriculture Department asking how he could get rid of dandelions. He followed all their instructions, but couldn't get rid of the pesky little yellow flowers. He wrote to them again, and they replied, "Perhaps you should learn to love them." (So it is with...) A dandelion is a weed with a yellow flower. People try to rid of dandelions, which they consider undesirable. However, dandelions are hard to get rid of, and despite all efforts, they seem to reappear. The expression "Perhaps you should learn to love them" means that, since you can't get rid of them, you should learn to "like" them - put up with them.
U An Arab, having loaded his camel, asked the camel whether he preferred to go uphill or downhill. The camel answered, "is the straight, level path closed?" (Maybe we can learn a lesson from that camel. Instead of thinking only of extremes, maybe we can find a very acceptable compromise.) The idea of an Arab talking to a camel is, of course, absurd. But this short story does point out something important. Instead of wanting to go uphill or downhill (which wouldn't be very convenient) the camel asks about taking the level path - going straight. This points out the idea that instead of thinking of extremes, we should consider a compromise - perhaps an easier way.
V An atomic-powered ship can travel 96,000 kilometers on a small mass of atomic fuel no bigger than a baseball. In view of such technology, and such developments as the "Theory of Relativity," the following poem - written many years ago - seems more significant:

@@To see the world in a grain of sand
@@@@And heaven in a wild flower;
@@Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
@@@@And eternity in an hour.

(Today, I'd like to speak about a new marvel of science.)
This thought gives people something to consider seriously. We do have atomic-powered ships that can sail 96,000 kilometers on a small mass of atomic fuel no bigger than a baseball. Also, according to the "Theory of Relativity" all things are relative with respect to the speed of light. Therefore, the ideas expressed in the poem (see the world in a grain of sand, see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity klimitlessnessl in the palm of your hand, and have eternity in an hour) all can be considered reasonable- at least in theory.
W An auctioneer said, gWhat am I offered for this beautiful bust of Robert Burns?h A man in the crowd said, gThat ain't Burns - that's Shakespeare!h The auctioneer replied, gWell, the joke's on me. That shows what I know about the Bible.h (Unlike the auctioneer, we can't afford to be confused about what we're doing on this committee. We need to...) This is very silly and, therefore, humorous. Almost no one would mistake the bust of Shakespeare as the bust of Robert Burns. Also, Shakespeare had nothing to do with the Bible- this shows clearly that the auctioneer didn't know anything about Shakespeare. This is utter nonsense!
X An Englishman was being shown the sights along the Potomac River. gHere,h remarked the American, gis where George Washington threw a dollar across the river.h gWell, h replied the Englishman, gthat's not very remarkable, for a dollar went much further in those days than it does now.h The American wouldn't let the Englishman get the best of him and said, gBut Washington accomplished a greater fear than that. He once chucked a sovereign across the Atlantic Ocean.h (We all have to be careful about throwing money away. We need to...) This is a play on words. The idea of a dollar going further in those days refers to the idea that you could buy more for a dollar then. It doesn't mean that you could throw a silver dollar further, as the Englishman suggests. The word gchuckedh means throw, but it also means to evict - get rid of. And the word gsovereignh could mean a British coin or a ruler ( a king). Since George Washington let the movement to free the American colonies from British rule, he actually freed Americans from the king - he got rid of the king (chucked the sovereign).
10 An inexperienced speaker arose in confusion after dinner and murmured, "M-m-m-m-my f-f-f-f-friends, when I came here tonight, only God and myself knew what I was about to say - now only God knows! (I feel somewhat like that speaker. I hope you'll bear with me.)
The expression "only God knows" is often used to mean "no one knows" since God isn't a person in the normal sense of the word.. The man said that only he and God knew what he was going to say - meaning, really, that only he knew what he was going to say. Since he has apparently forgotten what he was going to say, "only God knows" - no one knows!
PP A salesman quit his job and became a policeman. Later, a friend asked how he liked being a policeman. The man answered, "Well, the pay and hours are good, but what I like best is that the customer is always wrong." (The trouble with our police force is that they have the idea that the customer - the average citizen - is always wrong - they violate people's rights. We need to...) The idea that "policemen are always right and the average citizen (in dealing with a policeman) is always wrong" is improper, but the story is somewhat humorous, since a salesclerk often is put at a disadvantage because he has to accept the idea that the customer is always right. The speaker here is using this story to call for action to keep policemen from violating people's human rights.
PQ A young man wise beyond his years paused before answering a widow who had asked him to guess her age. "You must have some idea," she said. "I have several ideas," said the young man. "The only trouble is that I hesitate whether to make you ten years younger on account of your looks, or ten years older on account of your intelligence." (Now there was a smart young man. And we all need to learn to be tactful in...) This shows ingenuity. The Young man showed a lot of tact (diplomacy) in flattering the widow. If he guesses her age as being higher than it is, he can claim he did so because of her advanced intelligence. If he guesses her age being lower than it is, he can claim he did so because she looks so young. Either way, it is a compliment to the widow and either way he will please her.
13 In a particular locale, there was a big fight over a pending change to the squirrel hunting law. A citizen in the crowd asked the politician, "What's your position on the squirrel hunting law?" Without batting an eye, the politician said, "Well, 50% of my friends are for the new law and 50% are against it. And I want it firmly understood that I'm 100% for my friends." (There are two sides to every question, and politicians try to take both sides. But, in the issue before us...)

This is a clever dodge - the politician hasn't given a proper answer to the question. He has only evaded the question by taking both sides (being neutral). This is a commentary on politicians who are known for giving evasive answers.
14 Not long ago a want ad appeared in the newspaper: "Man wants job running elevator. No@experience. Want to being with low building." (I find myself in a similar situation. I've been called on to speak, but have little experience. So, I'd like to begin with a short speech.) This is a clever story, but not very realistic. We don't normally have elevator operators - most elevators are automatic. However, it does make the point that the speaker, not having any experience (like the man in the ad) wants to begin with a short speech - it justifies his limiting the length of his speech.
15 One man said to his friend, gDid you ever hear an after-dinner speech that was really worthwhile?h His friend replied, gOnly once. Last night I dined with an old acquaintance and he said, eWaiter, bring me the check!fh
(I hope that you'll consider my speech worthwhile.)
Many people consider that most after-dinner speeches are worthless - a waste of time. In answering, the friend points out an exception, his old acquaintance asking the waiter for the check. But, this isn't really an after-dinner speech. This is, however, rather humorous and catchy and a good way to introduce a speech.
16 The oldest inhabitant had celebrated his hundredth birthday and the reporter on the local paper called on him for an interview. Having congratulated the old fellow, the reporter asked him, gTo what do you attribute your longevity?h The centenarian paused for a moment, then, holding up his hand and ticking off items on his finger, he began, gI never smoked, drank alcohol, or overate. And I always rise at six in the morning.h gBut,h protested the reporter, gI had an uncle who did the same thing, but he lived to be only eighty. How do you account for that?h The old man replied, gHe didn't keep it up long enough.h ( And so it is with... We have to keep up our efforts to...) This is nonsense. The old man saying that the uncle hadn't kept up not smoking and drinking, etc. long enough is ridiculous. The idea of living a long life means to keep doing things for a long time. This is humorous and is a good lead-in for the idea of continuing to do something.
17 There was once a great discussion about which animal had the biggest family. When they came to the lioness, they asked, gHow many babies do you have?h gOne,h replied the lioness, gbut that one is a lion.h (It's important to remember that quality comes before quantity.)
This is somewhat humorous and points out well the idea of quality being more important than quantity | value is more important than how many. Just having many babies isn't so important as what kind of babies they are.
18 Two cats were standing outside a rat hole. One cat says to the other, gThese rats can tell when a cat is around and know the sound of a cat.h Then the cat, instead of making the sound of a cat, made a noise like a rat: gsqueek, squeek!h The rat, thinking that another rat was outside the rat hole, came out, and the cat caught the rat. The cat turned to his companion and said, gSee the advantage of being bilingual?h This is humorous, although a cat wouldn't talk and wouldn't make a noise like a rat. It is a good lead-in to the advantages of being bilingual - being able to communicate in another language.
19 With that wonderful introduction, I'm reminded of the story of the meeting of the animals. First the monkey got up and danced, and he danced wonderfully. All of the other animals danced - the cat, the bear, the snake - and each of them danced beautifully. Finally, the camel came forward and began to dance. The other animals only laughed at his efforts, and dejectedly, he left the party. (After all of the wonderful speeches I have heard, I feel a little like the camel.) This is a very suitable introduction for a speaker who follows a series of wonderful speeches. It makes the audience more sympathetic and shows that the speaker is human and humble.
20 With that introduction, I'm reminded of the story of the mountain that roared and rumbled. A loud, deep rumbling was heard from the mountain. People curious about the noise and the excitement, came from all around to see what all thisw rumbling would produce. After a long wait and many predictions from the crowd as to what would happen, out jumped a small mouse. (I'm afraid that, with all that wonderful intoduction - with all that rumbling- you'll expect more from me than I can deliver.) This is a very suitable introduction to a speecdh where the speaker has been built up as being a wonderful speaker and where people's hopes are high that he will deliver a wonderful speech. Using this introduction helps reduce audience expectations and accept a speech that is ordinary and not as wonderful as might otherwise be expected.
21 Young Sammy came prancing into the room and says, gPapa, may I have another apple?h His father raised his eyes from his newspaper to glance sternly at the boy, gAgain an apple?h he demanded. gListen, where do you think all those apples come from? Do you think they grow on trees?h (This boy can be compared to the City Council which wants to spend more money on parks. Where do they think the money is coming from? Do they think it grows on trees?) This is humorous and it sets up the speaker's point of the City Council thinking that money is easy to get and can be spent without much serious consideration. The exspression gdo you think...grow on treeshmeans gdo you think that... (which may be hard to get or expensive) is easy to get?h The humor here stems from the fact that apples really do grow on trees - the@pensive. The father's admonition is illogical and humorous.

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