Archive for the 'Lewis' 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: 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: A Georgia Lifespan

Life Span In Georgia 
    
    
A recent study showed that Georgia is near the bottom in a ranking of states according to expected life span of both men and women. 

Hawaii and Minnesota were the states where people live the longest. Hawaii, of course, features a warm tropical climate where people sit around drinking various exotic concoctions made with pineapple juice and watch lovely young girls in grass skirts move their sensuous bodies to ukulele music. 

The only drawback to living a long time in Hawaii is you get very old and your eyesight eventually goes, so you can no longer see the young girls move their bodies, but you still have to put up with all that ukulele music. 

As to Minnesota, nobody really lives a long time there. It’s so cold it just seems like it.  
 

Plenty to worry about 
 

Being a Georgian, I naturally was concerned upon discovering I can’t expect to live as long as people from other states. 

Georgia is a marvelously diverse state, with mountains and seashore and charming small towns, and, of course, bustling exciting Atlanta. 

So what makes us die earlier than other Americans? I put some thought to this question and came up with the following: 

ATLANTA TRAFFIC: Other cities have traffic jams. Atlanta has traffic wars. Sherman burned this city. The highway department is dismantling it, piece by piece. 

There is so much highway construction in Atlanta, motorists have to wear hard hats. Rather than face another day in Atlanta traffic, a lot of people simply die to avoid it.  
 

A South Georgia hazard 
 

GNATS: Gnats, tiny bugs, are the cause of a number of deaths in South Georgia each year. Some of these deaths have been attributed to swallowing a large number of gnats while talking or eating. Some also think the reason a lot of South Georgians disappear and are never heard from again is they are carried off by giant swarms of gnats and drowned in the Okefenokee Swamp. 

KUDZU: Nothing grows faster than a kudzu vine. It has been known to cover entire homes in Georgia where the families are asleep for the night. They are then trapped inside and can’t get to a convenience store, so they starve. Those who try to eat their way out of kudzu quickly have their innards entangled in the vine because no matter how much you chew it, the blamed stuff just keeps on growing.  
 

Football’s not safe either 
 

THE FALCONS: The Falcons lost a game to the Chicago Bears 36-0 and the Falcons coach blamed it on poor officiating. The Falcons have been big losers most every year they’ve been in Atlanta, and a man fell out of the stadium during a Falcons game once and was killed. I think he jumped after another Falcons’ holding penalty. 

LIVING IN BUCKHEAD: Buckhead is a tiny section of Atlanta where approximately 11 million white people under the age of 35 live. Each evening, all 11 million get into their Mercedes and go to trendy Buckhead bars and talk to one another. Here is what a Buckhead bar conversation usually sounds like: 

“I was like, `Wow!’ and he was like, `Really?’ ” 

These people might die from wearing their designer jeans too tight, becoming choked on Hearts of Palm while eating their salads and being trampled in a bar or by a polo pony. 

The study further revealed at what part of the year the most Georgians die. It’s when the state Legislature is in session.

Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Taxes

There’s No Accounting About Taxes
   
   
I dropped by to see my accountant, Willard “The Shark” Houdini. He was in a most jocular mood. 

“I’m celebrating,” he said. 

“Let me guess,” I said. “You finally had a client to survive an IRS audit?” 

“Very funny,” he replied. “What I am celebrating is the new tax bill. Have some champagne?” 

I declined. Never accept an offer of champagne from an accountant wearing a sky blue leisure suit. That’s one of the first things you learn in Economics 101. 

“Pardon my ignorance, but I thought accountants were going to lose business because of the new tax bill, which was supposed to simplify how we do our taxes.” 

“Are you kidding me?” said Willard. “Have you ever known anything to come out of Washington that was simple?” 

He had a point. Election-year tax bill 

“Listen,” he went on, “this new tax deal is the best thing to happen to accountants and lawyers and financial consultants since the three- martini lunch. 

“Nobody has any idea how this new tax thing is going to work or how they are supposed to find the loopholes in it.” 

“But,” I interrupted, “I thought the new tax law was supposed to do away with loopholes.” 

“Do away with loopholes? That would be un-American.” 

I was confused. 

“Let me tell you what all this is really about,” said Willard. 

“In the first place, it’s an election year and nobody is going to vote against tax reform that allegedly will lower taxes. So here’s what’s going to happen: Real estate tax shelters, where rich people hid their money, will become obsolete, and the tax liability for people who make a lot of money will increase and big companies will owe a lot more taxes, too.” 

“That’s what I thought,” I said. 

“You don’t understand,” said Willard. The poor will pay 

“Rich people who can afford the fees will go to see their accountants or financial consultants and lawyers to see what they can do about lowering their tax liability and some smart cookies will find a way. 

“As far as the big companies are concerned, they simply will pass along whatever increase they have to pay to their customers.” 

“But aren’t the poor people getting a tax break?” I asked. 

“Sure,” said Willard, “but don’t forget this. Not only will prices for goods go up, but there will be a slowdown in construction of say, new apartments, so apartment owners will be able to go up on their rents and the poor will still get the shaft.” 

“Isn’t there something that can be done about such an inequity?” I asked. 

“Of course,” explained Willard. “This time next year there will have been so much griping and complaining and lobbying that the big companies will get their tax breaks back, and well-off individuals will be back in the tax shelter game. It’s just a matter of time.” 

“And the poor?” 

“They aren’t my problem,” said The Shark, guzzling another swig of champagne.



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