Sunday, October 19, 2014


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Sundays with Larry

Life’s Full of Embarrassing Moments

Being a bit of a klutz, I’ve had my share. In fact I’ve probably created as much laughter as Red Skelton – didn’t get paid nearly as much as Red.

I started early. I was assigned to lead the group in the Lord’s Prayer at a Methodist Youth rally. I practiced until I had it down, word-for-word. When the time came, I stood and did a fine job of reciting the 23rd Psalm! Many years later, I was asked to do a brief memorial for a cousin at a family reunion. The deceased’s sister wanted me to lead the group in the Lord’s Prayer. I told her what had happened and asked her to stand behind me to give me a swift kick if I did it again.

Then there was the only deer I ever shot at during deer season. He was 40 – 45 yards away, an easy shot. I topped some trees until I ran out of ammunition. At least the buck was the only one there to laugh at me!

Or the time I was convinced that the universal joint was bad on my car. Put a new one on, but the problem was still there. Finally discovered a spark plug wire was loose.

Or the time in Korea when I was forcefully asked to stand up front with the wedding party at a Korean wedding. Everyone in the room was dressed in black or white, except me. I was at least a head taller than the rest of the wedding party. The only colors in that church were my army green uniform and a very red face.

My best one in the prison ended in a bang. I had left my classroom to get a cup of coffee. On the way back, I cleared my mailbox in the office. As I approached my classroom, I was looking at my mail. I did not notice that an inmate orderly had just mopped the floor in front of my classroom.

The leather soles on my boots did not like the wet tiles – both soles headed upward toward the ceiling. I entered the classroom sliding on my backside, coffee cup held high. I slammed into a metal trash can which then crashed into a metal desk.

My inmates were too shocked to laugh. I got to my feet trying to regain a tiny bit of dignity, took a sip of coffee, and said, “Didn’t spill a drop!” The inmates went crazy laughing. When they finally calmed down a little, I said “Now that I’ve wakened you all up, get to work!” Not much work done that day.

Women working in a prison have unique clothing challenges. They have to wear a belt to hang their keys on. They have to wear a name tag penned to their blouse. And they have to try to maintain modesty in their dress. They have some embarrassing moments.

A lady I’ll call Linda was a secretary in a housing unit. She had to carry 8 – 10 inmate files to another building across the compound. Each file was 2 to 4 inches thick so it was a load. It was raining so she carried an umbrella to keep herself dry, but much more important, to keep the files dry.

As she was making her way across the compound, she felt the elastic on her panties break. She desperately tried to maintain pressure on them, but with the stack of files and umbrella, it was a losing battle. When they fell, she quickly knelt, stepped out of them, and stuffed them under her coat. She looked all around and thought she had been undetected.

When she entered her destination building, the phone was ringing. It was for her. The call was from Judy, a terrific lady whom everyone liked. Judy had a great if slightly warped sense of humor.

She said, gleefully, “You thought no one saw you! You thought you got away with it! You’re wrong! We all saw you out our window! Listen!” Then she held the phone up so Linda could hear them all laughing.

Linda told me this story herself. One great thing about working in the prison was the openness and honesty among the staff.

One of the toughest and best lessons I’ve ever learned is to laugh at myself. Of course, I’ve had many opportunities! I take my family seriously, I take my beliefs seriously, and I take my voting responsibility seriously. When I was working, I took my job seriously. When I finally learned not to take myself so seriously, my life became much happier.

Just wish I could have gotten paid as much a Red did for all the laughter I’ve given other people!

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How to Get Over an Embarrassing Moment

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Red Skelton

Live by this credo: have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations.

I personally believe that each of us was put here for a purpose -- to build not to destroy. If I can make people smile, then I have served my purpose for God.

No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.

I'm nuts and I know it. But so long as I make 'em laugh, they ain't going to lock me up.

A fellow told me he was going to hang-glider school. He said, "I've been going for three months."
I said, "How many successful jumps do you need to make before you graduate?"
He said, "All of them."

Recipe for a happy marriage: My wife and I always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

I don't need glasses, but I've just reached the age where curiosity is greater than vanity.

Good night, and may God Bless.

July 18, 1913
Vincennes, Indiana, U.S.
September 17, 1997 (aged 84)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
Official Red Skelton Page
Red Skelton Show

 Red Skelton as Clem Kadiddlehopper

Red Skelton Interview 1981 (Rare) 
Part 1 of 3 segments

What's My Line? Red Skelton (1960)

 Red Skeltons' 
Freddie the Freeloader's 
Christmas Dinner (1981) 
Part 1

(Watching Red Skelton again, after many, many years, you're hit with the realization of how much things have changed in half a century. An attack of nostalgia and longing for those days twists and tightens the stomach and the knot travels upward from the middle of your chest to your throat. Those were the good old days. Then, it occurs that fifty years down the road, Little Gal and her contemporaries will feel that same nostalgia for things of today, the here and now. Their "good old days" are what's happening right now, this very minute. In some future year she could be writing and becoming wistful about her own long ago days. Will she be thinking "life was so much simpler then" as we do now?)

Time and tide wait for no man.
Geoffrey Chaucer

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