RETURNING home from my job as
a painter and decorator, I noticed a magnificent rainbow in the evening sky. Eager to show
my young son something that he had never seen before, I took him outside and held him up
to have a look. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "How'd you do it, Dad?"
AS AN electrician, I was given a new switch to fit on the wall. The switch was made in
China and came with a small booklet of instructions in Chinese and in English. The final
page showed photographs of the switch in the "on" and "off" positions,
the first captioned "Light on" and the second, "Dark on."
MY FRIEND'S father is a locksmith in a resort town. Once he saw a group of beach goers
park near his shop and dump trash from their car on his property. As soon as they were out
of sight, the locksmith picked the lock on their car door, put the garbage back inside and
relocked the car.
OUR veteran TV repairman was teaching his trade to an apprentice. As I watched the two
men pull our set away from the wall, the older man cautioned the neophyte, "Be
careful when you get down on the floor or Mildred will be all over you with her wet
kisses." Seeing the assistant look apprehensively my way, I hastily introduced him to
our friendly basset hound.
A BOX of raisins was usually kept in our office refrigerator for snacking. During the
day, staff members would help themselves and, inevitably, some raisins dropped on the
floor where they were stepped on and ground into the carpet. One morning we found this
note, written by the cleaning woman, taped to the refrigerator door: "If you're
trying to make wine, the grapes are too dry."
A TEAM of painters working on the outside of the Australian nursery school where I
taught always managed to be near an open window each time the radio program "Story
Time" began. Before long, brushes put down and elbows resting with rapt attention.
One morning before school started, a young painter approached me, looking somewhat
embarrassed. "I was sick yesterday ma'am. Tell me, what did happen to the little
PART of my job as secretary for an appliance repair shop was to schedule appointments
for service calls. One morning a distraught woman phoned and asked for someone to fix her
refrigerator. When I told her I could have a service technician at her house in an hour,
she thanked me and hung up. A minute later, she called back. "Honey," she said,
"I don't need a service technician. I need a refrigerator repairman."
AS A builder, I once did some work in the kitchen of the
apartment where Peter Sellers and his first wife lived. One day, while Sellers was in his
study and his wife and I were discussing the work, the doorbell rang. After answering it,
a highly amused Mrs. Sellers came back with a telegram from her husband. It read: BRING ME
A CUP OF COFFEE.
WE HAD built our dream house some years ago, and furnished it
with quality pieces as we could afford them. Now the delivery truck carrying the
last purchase a new bedroom suite was pulling into the driveway.
"Finally!" I exclaimed, flinging open the front door as the driver walked
up to the house. "I've been waiting twelve years for this!"
"Don't blame me, lady," he said. "I just got the order this
SEVERAL weeks after my mother had taken her television set
into the shop for minor repairs, it still hadn't been fixed. She began to make
periodic phone calls to see when it would be ready, and was assured each time that it
would be only a few days longer. Exasperated, she decided to let the repair service
know just how much she missed her set. A day or so after her last call, employees at
the shop opened an envelope sent by my mother and found - to their amusement
a "Get Well" card for her television set. It was repaired the next day.
WHEN my husband and I started our own wood-products company,
he had business cards printed listing himself as president. Since ours was an equal
partnership, I asked him what my title was. "I'm president," he
insisted. "But you are chairman of the boards."
MY HUSBAND'S skills with do-it-yourself home repairs are at
best mediocre. After trying several times to fix a leak in the bathroom, he finally
admitted defeat and called a plumber, who finished the job in ten minutes. Watching him
put away his equipment, my son asked what had been the problem.
"Well," the plumber replied, "your father got hold of
some tools . . ."
A CUSTOMER asked my husband, who is in the roofing business,
for an estimate on ripping off old shingles and replacing them with new ones. When he
handed him the estimate, the customer burst out laughing. In front of the price, my
husband had written: "Complete rip off." He got the job.
ONE Friday afternoon, the crane operator on the construction
project across from my office started his usual going home routine. He placed his
belongings in a small bucket, climbed out on a catwalk and lowered the bucket by a pulley
to the top deck of the skeletal building below. This scene had been enacted some 100 times
since the crane was erected. Now the building was topped out, and the final act was
drawing to a close. Standing tall, the crane man straightened his clothing and faced my
office building. Then, with a slow and dramatic flourish, he spread his arms and bowed
low, like a Shakespearean actor acknowledging an enthusiastic audience. Then he turned,
disappearing into the bowels of the building. Monday morning the crane was gone.
BEFORE moving into his new office on the third floor of a
ten-story building, my husband hired a carpenter to do some renovations. Since the
building was locked on Saturday, he met the carpenter and left the keys for the ground
floor entrance and the office with him. Later, on his return, my husband realized he would
be unable to re-enter the building. Then he spotted a truck with a cherry picker attached,
from which a worker was caulking windows. My husband explained his plight. The man lowered
the cherry picker, moved the truck below the lighted window, climbed back into the picker,
floated up to the window, tapped gently and spoke with the carpenter - who came down and
opened the door.
MY NEIGHBOR is a cement contractor who does a lot of business
with mobile home-park residents. Many of them, leisure-loving retirees, order green cement
"lawns" so that they no longer have to mow grass and pull weeds. Although most
customers are happy with their no-care yards, one man called to express dissatisfaction.
When my neighbor drove out to the mobile-home park, he found no apparent cause for
complaint. "I hate to brag," he said to the man, "but this cement looks as
good as on the day I poured it." "That's the trouble," groaned the man.
"It's too perfect, and it's getting on my nerves. I want you to paint a dandelion
right in the middle."
A BRICKLAYER at my husband's construction job routinely
complained about the contents of his lunch box. "I'm sick and tired of getting the
same old thing!" he shouted one day. "Tonight I'll set my wife straight."
The next day the men could hardly wait until lunch time to hear what happened. "You
bet I told her off," the bricklayer boasted. "I said, 'No more of the same old
stuff. Be creative!' We had one heck of a fight, but I got my point across. " He had
indeed. In front of an admiring audience, he opened his lunch box to find that his wife
had packed a coconut-and a hammer.
KNOWING that children and dogs are attracted to freshly
poured concrete like bears are to honey, my co-worker and I erected a formidable-looking
barrier around the 3-meter length of sidewalk we had just finished pouring and leveling.
"There, that ought to keep 'em out," commented my friend as we put the last saw
horse in place. Moments later, we watched dumb-founded as an elderly white-haired woman
carefully, but determinedly, climbed over one end of our barricade. She then traversed the
entire length of wet concrete and, using the point of her umbrella, inscribed: EDNA MAE
ONE bitter January morning, my wife answered the phone at our
plumbing and heating business and was informed by a shivering female customer that the
heat in her home had gone off. The woman wanted someone to stop by as soon as possible to
fix the furnace. "Now don't worry, honey," my wife told her. "You just jump
back in bed and cover up. I'll send my husband over right away."
THE man was just about finished installing the shag carpeting
in our living room. He had been working for five hours straight, and his good mood had
rapidly deteriorated. But then he heard one of our barefooted children exclaim to the
other, "You've gotta come in here! You won't believe your toes!"