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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

You Can't Stop a Laugh

By Clifford Rothband

In a discussion recently, we were talking philosophically about life. One conclusion is that you can throw away anger or get a handle on it but you can't stop a laugh.

At one time in the early 70s, I worked with a guy named George Lord. George was my supervisor and what he said was the law. He had at least three assistants at any time yet when he could not figure out a problem, he turned to the lowest ranking employee, a big old black guy named Joe Farmer who was the car washer.

As innocent as a child Joe gave an honest answer in it's simplest form and was always right.

Now if I remember correctly, George was an army officer during World War II and George kept his army-issue, 45 automatic in his top desk drawer. George dressed his part and he always wore a bow tie and he acted like he knew it all.

So this one fine day, a Rolls Royce, brown and beige with a license tag that read "Great 1" comes into the shop parking area and a fat guy asks to speak with me. I never knew why, other than we both came from Brooklyn.

He lived in Inverrary Country Club, a short distance from my home in Lauderdale Lakes and he played golf with some of the people we knew as friends.

George is almost too busy but brings the guy over to my station. George must have seen him on TV or in movies but didn't seem to recognize a mustached Jackie Gleason and silly me, I introduced him as Ralph Kramden.

George and he shook hands and Jackie says, "How sweet it is,” and the Lord moves on.

We talked a bit about something or other. I seemed to have forgotten whatever - maybe horse racing or playing the greens at Pompano Park. Now everybody else in the shop sees the conversation and some even think that it was Barry Sullivan or Richard Diamond from TV.

Later on, the Lord, he comes up to me and asks was that really Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners?

Now the lesson learned: Today is full of opportunity, everywhere, everything, whoever you meet. Look for the good, the humor, welcome the challenges, enjoy the situations, slow down. Offer sincerity, the stuff of life.

You cannot often control the situations but you can control how you deal with them. Every moment is your opportunity to express what a unique person you are. Forget the past, don't even try to see the future. What is now is who you are.

Today is your opportunity. Put a smile on your face. Strive for happiness. Someone once said to me that immortality lies within our genes, in our offspring.

No. It is how we face pain or emotions. The projection we produce. So make today a great day and put a smile on your face. You can stop pain or suffering by many means but like Jackie said to me that day, "You can't stop a laugh.”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Cliff that is so true. What a cool story. The "Great 1" was so funny.

Where are those old comedians now? Lucille and Bob Hope and Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, etc. Surely there are some out there who can be like that?

I know I try to write humorously after something bad happens and I finally see the funniness.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Yes, please I like to have the Barnes book.
Thank you
Irene Morris
460 E. 79 St.
NY, NY 10075

Cliff, a great lesson to be learned. It IS all about us and how we deal with whatever we face. There is always a lesson to be learned from any good or bad circumstance. Thanks.

I needed this lesson. I plan to copy and print your last four paragraphs and tape it on my refrigerator. I will read it every day until I can better control my anxiety attacks which are the toughest thing I have to deal with at this time in my life. Thank you Clifford. Thank you very much!

Yes, I want the book. Thank you.

G'day All

From Adelaide in Australia where I am now back after living for six happy years in Asia, based in Hong Kong.

Great wisdom in your story Clifford.

And a lovely offer of yours Ronni. I thoroughly enjoyed 'A Sense of Ending'.

I will not, however, put in a bid for your spare copy of Barnes latest book.

For a few years ago you kindly sent me Robert Butler's 'The Longevity Revolution'. This has been of much value to me personally and professionally.

To add: Many many people have seen my story of a visit with Pete and Toshi Seeger at their home in 2010.

This was published in At The Elder Storytelling Place today on Monday, 24 January 2011.


I have sung Pete’s add on verse to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’, which he sang to me, in diverse places.

Reportedly this has brought much pleasure, ie the song - not my rendition of it! (smile)

Go well

Alan Stewart

Yes, I would like the book.

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