Archive for the 'Lewis Grizzard' Category



Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Saying Grace

Saying Grace

The five-year-old boy who lives in my house is learning to say the blessing.

“LET ME SAY THE BLESSING” he bellows as we sit down to the table.

“GOD IS GOOD!

“GOD IS NEAT!

“LET US THANK HIM!

“FOR ALL WE CAN EAT!

“YEA, GOD”

My stepson is the only person I know who prays in a primal scream. Not only does God get the message, but so does everybody else within six blocks of our kitchen.

The “Yea, God!” blessing is his favorite because it is more a cheer than a blessing, and the child is a human megaphone.

But tolerance is very important here because it is a big deal to learn to say the blessing before the family meal. And it’s not that easy, either.

First, you have to think of something to say. I remember when my parents first asked me to say the blessing:

MY FATHER: “Say the blessing, son.”

MY MOTHER: “And don’t mumble.”

ME: “ThankyouGodforthemashedpo—”

MY MOTHER: “You’re mumbling.”

ME: “—tatoesandthegreenbeansandtheporkchopsandthe—”

MY FATHER: “Amen. That was very good, son, but you don’t have to thank God for EVERYTHING on the table.”

I wasn’t going to mention the rutabagas.

After mastering a nice little blessing your mother thinks is “cute,” and doesn’t hold your old man away form the grub too long, you move into the “clever” blessings stage.

Everybody knew this one:

“Son, would you please say grace” your mother would ask, bowing her head.

“Grace,” you would reply, howling at your genius.

“Whaack!” would be the sound of the back of your father’s hand across your face.

Then there was the old favorite:

Good bread,

Good meat.

Good Lord,

Let’s eat!

That was good for the backhand across the face AND getting sent to your room without any dinner.

If you got really brave, you could use this one:

Bless the meat,

Damn the skins,

Back your ears,

And cram it in!

That could get you reform school.

When it came to smart-aleck blessings, my boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker, Jr. a great American, had no peer.

His all-time classic was the following:

Thank you, Lord, for this meal,

We know you are the giver.

But thank you, Lord, most of all,

That we ain’t havin’ liver.

Weyman’s father tried to send him to reform school, but the warden was afraid he would be a bad influence on the other “students.”

Soon, my stepson will be in the stage of saying “clever” blessings, but I am not going to whack him across the face.

I am going to make him eat liver, smothered in rutabagas.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: A Man’s Home Is His Hassle

A Man’s Home Is His Hassle

I’ve been trying to get my house decorated the way I want it decorated ever since I moved in three years ago.

I share my house with Catfish, the black Lab, but he has no particular notions on how a house should be decorated.

As long as there are dog biscuits to be carried into the living room and eaten on the carpet, he’s happy.

I’ve been married three times and learned to live with pantyhose hanging in my shower, so I don’t mind a few dog biscuit crumbs on the living-room carpet.

When a man moves into a house with a wife, he normally leaves the decorating to her. I did that.

My first wife, operating on a limited budget, did our first house in a Naugahyde theme. My third wife spent more on curtains than my first house cost.

But now, I’m in charge of the decorating and for once I want my house to reflect my own ideas about interior design.

I went through three female interior decorators just like that. I told them all at the outset what I didn’t want. “No birds or flowers,” I insisted. A man’s house should not have birds and flowers all over the place.

Women interior decorators, however, ignore such pleadings of a man.

They think, “What does this creep know about interior decorating?”

So, all three of the female decorators came up with fabrics and designs featuring – you guessed it – birds and flowers. One even brought in wallpaper for a guest bedroom that featured large, pink birds who appeared to be flying through The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

I fired her on the spot.

“No-taste creep” she said, rolling her eyes and pooching out her lips as she twitched her way out my front door.

All I wanted was a house that looked like a man lived there. Leather. Mega-screen TV. I wanted greens and browns instead of stupid pink birds.

I have a large, framed photograph of Herschel Walker running with a football as he led my alma mater, the University of Georgia, to the 1980 National Championship. I wanted that displayed prominently.

I am happy to report I’ve solved my problem.

I found a male interior decorator. At first, I was a bit suspect of him.

“You don’t live alone with cats and have wallpaper with pink birds ?” I asked him.

The man said he was married with two children and he also had a dog.

What a job he has done. There isn’t a single bird or flower on anything in my house. He found a large, comfortable green sofa and it sits in front of my new giant screen TV. The wallpaper in the guest bedroom features a guy swinging a golf club. He spent a mere pittance on curtains, put down new carpet in the living room that is the same color as dog biscuit crumbs, and, for the first time in my life, I have a house decorated as I want it decorated.

And I have an entirely new attitude about male interior designers. Mine didn’t roll his eyes and pooch out his lips or twitch out the front door when I said I wanted the big photograph of Herschel over the fireplace.

What a guy.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Shut In But Not Shut Down

Much like Lewis, we’re not looking forward to the time of year when the Braves are not on TV.

 

Shut-In But Not Shut Down 
  
   
Remember back in church when they used to ask you to pray for the shut-ins? I was never quite certain what a shut-in was. 

I went ahead and prayed for them anyway, but what was a shut-in? Somebody they had to keep boarded up like a dog that was bad to chase cars? 

So for all of this time I didn’t even know what a shut-in was, and, then, I became one. 

For the past two-and-a-half months I have, in fact, been a shut-in. 

It took me four months to get over last spring’s harrowing heart surgery. My chest healed. My legs stopped hurting and my feet stopped swelling. 

I even went back to the golf course. My partners allowed me to play from the ladies’ tees at the beginning. I had to endure a lot of remarks regarding various female problems I might be having as a result of my move to what I learned to refer to as the “forward tees,” but, quite comfortable in my masculinity, I ignored them as mere chirpings of sexist pork. 

Then, my side starting hurting. I thought it might be a yeast infection. 

Turned out it was this: 

During my heart surgery I had been wired for a pacemaker in case I happened to need one during my recovery period. 

Surgeons created a small pouch to the left of my navel for the wires. The wires became infected. The pouch became infected. 

I became a shut-in. 

I couldn’t play golf. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit up. For two months my doctors attempted to treat the problem with antibiotics. 

But the infection wouldn’t go away. So, a week ago, I went back to Emory Hospital and surgeons removed the wires. The infection is gone. 

In a couple of more weeks I’m supposed to be completely healed and a seven-month ordeal finally will be over. But what an ordeal. If I had known what the life of a shut-in was all about I would have prayed a lot harder for them. 

You just sit there a lot. You sleep. You work crossword puzzles. You watch “The Streets of San Francisco” afternoon reruns on cable. You talk on the telephone. 

“How you feelin’?” 

” ‘Bout the same.” 

“Anything I can do?” 

“Yeah, tell Carl Malden to get a nose job.” 

What saved me was the Atlanta Braves. I watched every inning of every game they played the last two months of the season. 

Otis Nixon made that catch over the centerfield wall night after night on the WTBS promos. Sid Bream always scored that run against Pittsburgh and the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won. 

I played the AFLAC trivia game. I saw that guy break his leg night after night at the company picnic softball game. 

“Got any ideas?” 

“Yeah, AFLAC.” 

I did everything but enter the Goody’s Home Run Jackpot. Kent Mercker would have batted for me. 

I saw the press box fire and I agreed with Don Sutton that “McRip” would be a better nickname for Fred McGriff than Crime Dog. Fred never chased a car in his life. 

Rafael Belliard, by the way, saved the West Division pennant when he played like an all-star when Mark Lemke was out at second base. Lest we forget. 

And each time they showed the Giants dugout, I noticed Dusty Baker drinking bottled water. Drymouth got the Giants. 

I suppose what I’m doing here is thanking the Braves for the memories. Without them, what might I have done? Fallen into a deep well of depression? Called radio talk shows? Gone back to the vodka? 

Pray for those who remain as shut-ins. Baseball season will soon be over.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Saying Grace

Saying Grace

 

The five-year-old boy who lives in my house is learning to say the blessing.

“LET ME SAY THE BLESSING” he bellows as we sit down to the table.

“GOD IS GOOD!

“GOD IS NEAT!

“LET US THANK HIM!

“FOR ALL WE CAN EAT!

“YEA, GOD”

My stepson is the only person I know who prays in a primal scream. Not only does God get the message, but so does everybody else within six blocks of our kitchen.

The “Yea, God!” blessing is his favorite because it is more a cheer than a blessing, and the child is a human megaphone.

But tolerance is very important here because it is a big deal to learn to say the blessing before the family meal. And it’s not that easy, either.

First, you have to think of something to say. I remember when my parents first asked me to say the blessing:

MY FATHER: “Say the blessing, son.”

MY MOTHER: “And don’t mumble.”

ME: “ThankyouGodforthemashedpo—”

MY MOTHER: “You’re mumbling.”

ME: “—tatoesandthegreenbeansandtheporkchopsandthe—”

MY FATHER: “Amen. That was very good, son, but you don’t have to thank God for EVERYTHING on the table.”

I wasn’t going to mention the rutabagas.

After mastering a nice little blessing your mother thinks is “cute,” and doesn’t hold your old man away form the grub too long, you move into the “clever” blessings stage.

Everybody knew this one:

“Son, would you please say grace” your mother would ask, bowing her head.

“Grace,” you would reply, howling at your genius.

“Whaack!” would be the sound of the back of your father’s hand across your face.

Then there was the old favorite:

Good bread,

Good meat.

Good Lord,

Let’s eat!

That was good for the backhand across the face AND getting sent to your room without any dinner.

If you got really brave, you could use this one:

Bless the meat,

Damn the skins,

Back your ears,

And cram it in!

That could get you reform school.

When it came to smart-aleck blessings, my boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker, Jr. a great American, had no peer.

His all-time classic was the following:

Thank you, Lord, for this meal,

We know you are the giver.

But thank you, Lord, most of all,

That we ain’t havin’ liver.

Weyman’s father tried to send him to reform school, but the warden was afraid he would be a bad influence on the other “students.”

Soon, my stepson will be in the stage of saying “clever” blessings, but I am not going to whack him across the face.

I am going to make him eat liver, smothered in rutabagas.

 

 

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Karma Broke It

Everything I own breaks, falls apart, gets stopped up or doesn’t fit. 

It is an incredible phenomenon that lately seems to be occurring even more often than before. 

My typewriter broke. It began eating ribbons. Devouring them. Twisting them. Chewing them and making large holes in them. I was afraid to put my hand down there to try to repair whatever was wrong. I was afraid I might draw back a nub. 

I sent the typewriter to a repair shop. The guy there said he thought a small animal might be trapped amongst all the workings. 

My air conditioner went out in all this heat. Luckily, I was able to find a repairman who came over in a matter of hours. 

He said a cat had got hung up in there and that’s why no air would come out. 

My car broke down. 

“Don’t tell me there’s a raccoon in my manifold,” I said to the mechanic. “That ain’t it,” he replied. “It’s your McPherson strut.” 

I thought that was a dance. 

The doorknob came off my front door. I’ve got a big brass doorknob on my front door, and one day, I came home, unlocked my door, turned the doorknob and it came off in my hand. 

Not only was I standing there with my doorknob in my hand, but not having a pair of pliers on me, I couldn’t twist the rod uncovered by the missing knob, and, therefore, couldn’t gain entrance into my house. 

It is further amazing to me how that any time you can’t get into your house, you suddenly have to go to the bathroom in the worst way. 

I stood on my front porch and did the McPherson strut until my neighbor came home and I borrowed his pliers. 

My shower drain became clogged. It was almost thigh-deep in my shower before I could get a plumber. I thought I was in Des Moines. 

The plumber said he thought it was a hairball that had clogged the drain. Everything around me is in a state of utter disrepair and now my hair is falling out. I could eat Drano. 

The darndest thing though was the remote control for my television. It burned. 

I’m not going to say there were flames, but I picked it up one day to turn on the television and it was red hot and wouldn’t work. 

Once it cooled off a bit I took it to the place where I bought my television. 

“Never seen nothing like this,” said the man after he opened the mechanism and looked at its innards. “Looks like it just caught on fire up in there.” 

“Is there no possible explanation?” I asked him. 

“Act of God, would be my best guess,” he answered. 

Perhaps all this is spiritual. Maybe it’s my karma, or my aura, or my energy or whatever all that stuff people who beg for money in airports talk about. 

Maybe I’m hexed or I’m jinxed. I get around it, or it gets around me, and it immediately falls apart. 

Or maybe it just seems like that because we live in a world that is a labyrinth of gadgetry. We depend on so much technology, which means there is always going to be something that isn’t going to be working. 

Nah, that’s not it. I’m a jinx. Leave me alone in a room with an anvil and I would figure out a way to render it unworkable. 

This goes all the way back to my childhood, by the way. Once, I got a horseshoe game for Christmas and it was a left-handed set. 

I’d go lie down, but my mattress is in the shop.

Lewis Grizzard On “The Lone Ranger”

“I liked the Lone Ranger and Tonto until I found out what Kemo Sabe means – Sweetie Pie.”

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Women In Running Shoes

Women In Running Shoes Brought To Heel 
   
   
WASHINGTON – My ride was late, so as I waited on the sidewalk in downtown Washington I people-watched. 

I had seen the phenomenon I’m about to discuss in other large cities, but here in Washington there seemed to be even more instances of it. 

I’m speaking of the fact that when females in the workplace are out of their offices, many are now walking around in their otherwise attractive outfits in running shoes. 

I am told that women wear these shoes to lunch and to and from work, but once they are in their offices they put on regular shoes, ones with heels that are more suited to the rest of their clothing. 

I asked a female colleague about this once and she explained, “We do it for comfort. You just can’t imagine how doing a lot of walking in heels can absolutely kill your feet.” 

I can understand that. I’ve never personally done a lot of walking (or any walking for that matter) in a pair of heels, but I can imagine how one’s feet would feel afterward. 

Still, I’ve got to say this: 

Comfort or no comfort, wearing a pair of running shoes with a dress does to t he attractiveness of a woman what a large tattoo does to a man. 

It’s downright displeasing to the eye. In a word – ugly. 

And I hate to use the “T” word, but I feel compelled. 

It’s Tacky. 

At a gathering later in the evening, I asked a Washington woman, who had had the good sense not to show up at a cocktail party wearing a pair of Reeboks, why this practice seemed so prevalent in Washington. 

“I don’t think it has anything to do with politics,” she said. “Maybe Washington women just have to walk more than women in other cities. Why do you ask?” 

Diplomacy has never been my strong suit. I looked at her square in her eyes and said, “Because it’s tacky.” 

She threw a sausage ball at me and then huffed away in disgust. 

But that didn’t change my opinion. I don’t think I have any sort of foot fetish, but women in sexy shoes have always caught my eye. 

I recall the first time I saw Kathy Sue Loudermilk in a pair of high heels. It was at the annual Moreland Fourth of July barbecue. She was also wearing her tight pink sweater (the one they retired in the trophy case when she graduated from high school), a pair of short shorts and 8- inch spike heels. 

When the Baptist preacher, who was helping make the coleslaw, saw her, he said, “Lord, thy do make some lovely things.” 

I don’t think he was talking about the onions he was putting in the coleslaw. 

Said my boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr., a great American, when he saw Kathy Sue, “You put something besides them heels on that body and you done put retreads on a Rolls Royce.” 

And here I stand on a downtown sidewalk in our nation’s capital and eight out of 10 women I see look like they went to the Sears tire store to shop for shoes. 

The Lord does, indeed, make some lovely things, and I’m certain the almighty had no intention they walk around in what amounts to glorified, overpriced, rubber-soled clodhoppers. 

Your feet hurt, ladies? See Dr. Scholl. 

Tacky. Tacky. Tacky. 

I think I have made myself abundantly clear.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Here’s The Beef

Here’s The Beef 
   
   
In protest for what I consider to be recent unfair attacks on beef, one of my favorite meats, I went out and had myself a thick, juicy T-bone at Long Horn Steaks the other night. 

It was great, as usual. I would have eaten two if my stomach would have held another because we beefeaters need to do all we can to tell the wimps and weenies who have put themselves in charge of our lifestyles to go eat a bucket of worms (a.k.a. sushi). 

It’s cow meat they’re after now. One group says we’re being cruel by killing cows and chopping them into steaks. 

There’s a book out about the evils, both social and physical, of eating beef as well. I refuse to name it here and give it any publicity. 

And then, I read a story in the papers about a report from the American Chemical Society saying the natural substance that gives beef its meaty taste has been synthesized in the laboratory and may be used to turn tofu into a substitute for beef. 

Do what? 

I asked a health nut to tell me what tofu is. It sounds to me like a ballet dance step. 

“It’s soybean-based,” she explained. 

So let me see if I have this straight. 

Some scientist has come up with something in his lab to put in something made out of soybeans, and I’m supposed to eat that instead of beef? 

The magic ingredient is BMP. Said the article, “BMP could be used to make imitation beef with little or no saturated fat similar to the way fake crab meat is made.” 

Fake crab meat? What’s going on here? 

In the first place, I once ate a soybean burger. Another friend of mine, also a health nut, said, “Try this, you might like it.” 

Somebody once said the same thing to me about marriage. 

The soybean burger was awful, so I went to Wendy’s and got myself a double with cheese to get the taste out of my mouth. 

In the second place, when are those self-appointed jerks going to stop jacking us around about our food? 

Remember when you were growing up how important it was to eat eggs? “Eat the rest of those eggs, young man,” my mother would say, “so you’ll grow up big and strong.” 

Not anymore. Now they say eggs cause diphtheria, not to mention shortness and weakness, so somebody has come out with a fake egg. 

I bet a chicken could tell the difference. 

Pork has been put down as unhealthy. Some chickens have tumors in them and fish have mercury, and I never knew there was such a thing as fake crab meat until now. 

So what’s left to eat? Nothing much. If what we read and hear is true, we’d all be better off if we didn’t eat anything at all, never had sex, abstained from drinking, smoking and gambling, and died on the operating table instead of getting a blood transfusion that could give us AIDS. 

Life used to be fun. Now, it’s just one big Don’t. 

But I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to continue to eat beef and everything else I like. I will never walk into a Long Horn and say, “I’ll have the tofu T-bone, please.” 

If doing such a thing kills me, it’ll just have to kill me. 

I think I’d rather go suddenly from a beef overdose than live long enough to get really sick and wind up croaking in a hospital bed where they’ve been keeping me alive by feeding me through a tube. 

There should be the basic right to live free from as much worry as possible. But how can you, when not a day passes that we aren’t told what’s the latest thing that’s bad for us? 

Eat, drink and be merry, I say, for tomorrow you may choke on a big piece of broccoli.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Goodbye Old Soldiers

Goodbye, Old Soldiers 
   
   
It’s happened to me before, running into men who served with my late father in World War II. 

This time I was in Greensboro, N. C., at a bookstore. I was signing copies of one of mine. 

I noticed the old man at the first of the hour. He stood at the entrance of the store, looking at me. 

After the hour, the signing was over. Meekly, the man walked to where I was sitting. 

He had one of those faces that said, here’s somebody’s beloved grandfather. There was a lot of knowledge and caring in it. 

Without another word, he said, “Your daddy was my first sergeant in World War II.” 

I’ve studied my father’s record as a soldier closely and I know he was in France, then in Germany, and I know he later was sent back to Korea. 

“He saved my life in Germany,” the man continued. “He saved a lot of lives, and they gave him a battlefield commission.” 

According to a copy of the citation I have, the colonel had been killed and the unit was under heavy German fire. Sergeant Grizzard reorganized the company, running in the open where the bullets flew, and saved himself and his men from certain annihilation. 

“If it weren’t for your daddy,” the man said, “I wouldn’t be here today.” 

How do you respond to something like that? I certainly was proud of my father at that moment – to think this man had carried for half a century the memories of what my father did that day. And to think he would come to me after all this time. It was like he was trying to thank me for something my father did 50 years ago. 

I think I managed a “Bless you,” or a “Thanks for looking me up.” 

We shook hands and the old man walked away. My eyes teared as he did. 

My parents’ generation, I sincerely believe, had more to bear than any other in this country’s history. Their lives were affected – and some were ruined – by World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and Korea, and some lost children in Vietnam. And, now, the last of them are fading into the shadows cast by the young they brought into this world. 

A national magazine, noting the passing of the presidency to someone too young to have had the World War II experience, offered a spread titled, “Goodbye, Old Soldier.” 

George Bush was the youngest fighter pilot in the Navy during World War II. 

Now he has gone to his retirement, having been replaced by one with no military experience whatsoever, one whose dealings with the draft system still has a number of unanswered questions. 

The Old Soldiers have moved out, and the Baby Boomers have moved in. 

That is unsettling to me. The country’s leadership, save a few veteran members of Congress, is in the hands of those never tested by fire. 

Few of my generation really know the meaning of sacrifice. What did we ever want for and couldn’t have? When have we ever been hungry? When did most of us ever have to run through a hail of bullets in a foreign land in order to save comrades? I never have and neither has Bill Clinton. 

After the man in Greensboro had walked away, I realized I had made a mistake by not sitting with him and asking him to tell me what happened that day in Germany. I would have liked to have known about it from a survivor, not from some document. 

But you know how it is. We’re all in a hurry. We just don’t know where it is we’re hurrying to. 

Goodbye, Old Soldiers, and thank you. 

You are the very best of us.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday

Just Walk On By That Gas Station 
  
   
We could walk a lot more in this country. That’s what I said. We could actually walk more. 

If we walk more and drive our cars less, then maybe we could become less dependent on foreign oil so when some sheik of the burning sands decided to take over Lower Oilrichabia, we could ignore him. 

There wouldn’t be any need to send over our troops and planes, no reason to worry about chemical warfare, no reason to bug Henry Kissinger for interviews, no reason to bring up that nasty word “Armageddon,” no reason to have to pay $87.50 a gallon at the neighborhood Texaco, and no reason for Dan Quayle to say, “Please, George, don’t die on me now.” 

I used to walk all the time. Before I got a bicycle, I had to walk practically everywhere I couldn’t convince an adult to drive me. 

If I got thirsty and my mother said, “Walk, it’ll be good for you,” when I asked her to drive me to Cureton and Coal’s store for a big orange, I’d have to hoof it a half-mile to the store and back. 

I even walked all the way to Bobby Entrekin’s house one day. It was two miles both ways. He had invited me over to play cowboys and punk rockers. 

But it was a pleasant, enlightening experience. 

On the way, I saw a dead opossum in the road, I found a pointed rock that could have been an arrowhead, I kicked an empty pork and beans can at least a mile, and I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do when I grew up. 

I decided the next time an adult asked me about it, I would say, “I want to star in porno films” and see the look that would bring. 

But after I got my bike and then got old enough to drive, I gave up walking, as have many of us. 

Two of the three times I got married, I drove down the aisle. The other time, I took a cab. 

I probably would drive between rooms in my house, but my car won’t fit through the front door. 

We are slaves to our automobiles and the juice that makes them run and that gets us into harm’s way and allows oil companies to make us all feel like a bunch of dipsticks for what we have to pay for gasoline. 

Let’s all start walking more and driving less. We could start with me. 

The convenience store where I buy pork and beans and copies of the Enquirer is less than a half-mile away. I could walk there. 

I could walk to the Waffle House for my weekly cholesterol I.V. 

I could walk to the video store to rent “Naughty Female Attorneys” and “Debbi e Does Fargo, North Dakota,” neither of which I had a part in, incidentally. 

I could walk to a friend’s house to play cowboys and rap groups, and I could walk to my ex-girlfriend’s house when I forget I am an insensitive, arrogant, selfish jerk and need to be reminded. 

Join me, America. Let’s go for a walk and give Ahab the Arab and John D. Rockerperson a bad case of gas.



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