I’ve Never Herd Of Smith

People Named Smith
H. Allen Smith once wrote a book titled People Named Smith. This was a financial move on his part, as he knew that if only five percent of the Smiths in the United States bought the book, he would be able to retire rich. Unfortunately, he discovered that “almost everyone named Smith is either (1) stingy, or (2) illiterate, or (3) both.”

He did this because Mark Twain had shown him how. Twain claimed that he had met a John Smith in every town he had ever been in, and cynically dedicated his first novel to “John Smith,” claiming that people who have a book dedicated to them, will purchase a copy of it.

Captain John Smith was an explorer of note, and an island he discovered near Cape Charles was named “Smith Island” after him. However, Captain Smith wasn’t happy with the island chosen to honor him, and he complained, “Why, I could spit across it.”

The book is mainly about names, and not all of them were of people named Smith. He once met an imposing man, when invited on a cruise on a yacht in the Caribbean. Not impressed with the commonness of his name, Smith, he declared, “A man’s name is a mere label – nothing else – and has no more meaning than the label on a can.

The gentleman disagreed, and introduced himself. He was Theron Lamar Caudle, the assistant Attorney-General of the United States. His name was all old Anglo-Saxon, and represented a complete sentence. Theron means ‘go seek.’ Lamar means ‘the sea,’ and Caudle is a ‘hot toddy.’ Translated literally, it means, “Go seek a hot toddy by the sea,” and here he was, with a drink in his hand, on a boat, in the Caribbean.

People afflicted with the last name Smith, sometimes go to lengths to have a first name of some significance which sets them apart from all the other multitudes of Smiths. Labels are important to many, although one Appalachian mother cared so little that she insisted to the interviewer, that the official names of her two kids, on the ‘Guv’mint papers, really was Shithead and Fartface Smith.’

One child was named 5/8 Smith. I don’t know if he was the runt of the litter, or maybe, just not all there. One father christened his son Smith, so that he went through life with the double-barreled name of Smith Smith. A photographer, whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines, legally changed his given name to Another, because he was tired of hearing, “Oh, another Smith.”

One day the author was speaking to a writer friend. They discussed some personal things, and then he said, “What are you working on these days?”
“I’m collaborating on a book.”
“With whom?”
“Man named Ira Smith.”
“You serious??”
“Certainly I’m serious.”
He said, “My God, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’m collaborating on a book with a man named Ira Smith.”

It was true. The other writer was working on the memoirs of Ira R. T. Smith, who for 51 years had been in charge of mail at the White House. At the same time, H. Allen Smith had been working on a book of baseball anecdotes with Ira L. Smith, a Washington journalist.

Ira wouldn’t seem to be an especially common first name, yet Ira L. had had his share of confusions. He was forever getting newspaper clippings from friends;
Ira Smith caught drunk driving in Georgia
Ira Smith an upstate New York cabbie, kidnapped, robbed, tied to a tree, and murdered
Ira L. Smith, a retired Virginia lumberman, dying at the age of 91

He even had a newspaper ad which said;

FOOL your friends. Pretend you are in San Francisco
3 postcards sent 25 cents (20-$1) You write
message, address, return. I remail in San Francisco
Letter mailed 15 cents. Your friends will think
you’re travelling. Ira Smith, 153 Liberty St., San
Francisco, Calif.

The middle name of our Ira L. Smith was Lepouce, his mother’s Belgian maiden name, meaning ‘the thumb’. He was once under consideration for a great job in Washington, but a senior executive named Smith, didn’t want him hired. There were already too many Smiths in the office, and he didn’t want another one messing up phone calls and mail.

Ira went to the man, and offered to apply his middle name to all phone calls and correspondence. The exec replied, “Anyone who would permit himself to be called I. Lepouce Smith in order to get a job must want that job pretty badly. You’re hired.”

The author mentions a situation called Ultra-Smith, where one Smith marries another. My sister did this, confusing all sorts of folks. As you climb down from the family tree, EVERYBODY is named Smith.

(* I have a framed reproduction of a Feb. 13, 1923 Saturday Evening Post cover, with a Norman Rockwell painting and an article about Wodehouse’s recent Psmith book, which refused to upload to WordPress.  It, and a mug with his name, Cyril, were all I got from the nursing home when my Father died.  I didn’t even know he had it.  Perhaps if/when I figure out the problem, I can display it in a later post.)

In England, we have the interesting case of Mr. Psmith, a dashing young character invented by P. G. Wodehouse. In the novel Leave It to Psmith, we find him engaged in a colloquy with a young woman.

“The name is Psmith, P-smith.”
“Peasmith, sir?”
“No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my father always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the too prevalent custom of tacking on another name on the front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The P, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan. You follow me?

This Smith book was written in 1952, which explains the ancient, minuscule postage fees, and the somewhat formal construction. Aside from the P-ed off words above, the author used ‘expatiate,’ which means, to enlarge in discourse or writing; be copious in description or discussion: ramble on and on – which I’ve done magnificently with this post. Thanx for rambling along with me, and some of my questionable namesakes.

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DIY One-Liner Title

Comedy

If you suck at playing the trumpet….
….that’s probably why.

England has no kidney bank….
….but it does have a Liverpool

I’m only friends with 25 letters of the alphabet…
….I don’t know Y

Big shout-out to my fingers….
….I can always count on them

Did I already do my déjà vu joke?

Irony….
….The opposite of wrinkly

Ban pre-shredded cheese….
….Make America grate again

Why did the duck cross the road?….
….because the chicken got run over
Knock, knock. Who’s there?….
….not the chicken

If you succeed at your first attempt at making sushi….
….you could call it raw talent

How to get Chinese people in Boston to agree with you….
….just panda to them

Sawdust??!….
….You mean man-glitter!

My horse’s name is Mayo….
….Mayo neighs

I tried acupuncture today….
….I still don’t get the point of it

My son won’t say that I’m fat….
….but if he names the 5 fattest people he knows, I am three of them.

I used to like my neighbors….
….until they put a password on their Wi-Fi

If cats could text you….
….they wouldn’t

My friend got mugged today….
….He had to call the cups

Stalking is when two people go for a long, romantic walk….
….but only one of them knows about it

My Mom never saw the irony….
….in calling me a son-of-a-bitch

I once farted in an elevator….
….it was wrong on so many levels

I am a nobody, nobody is perfect….
….therefore I am perfect

Someone suffering from a severe case of non-linear waterfowl syndrome….
….doesn’t have all their ducks in a row

Today my son asked, “Can I have a book mark?”….
….11 years old, and he doesn’t know that my name is Brian

How do you make Holy water?….
….You boil the Hell out of it.

I’m going to change my Facebook name to No one….
….then when I read a stupid post, I can click ‘like’, and it will say “No one likes this.”

Light travels faster than sound….
….that’s why some people appear bright, until they speak

To the thief who stole my anti-depressants….
….I hope you’re happy

My wife gives me sound advice….
….99% sound – 1% advice

 

Mistaken Identity

Passport

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him…

She says hello.

He’s rather taken aback because he can’t place where he knows her from. So he says, “Do you know me?”

To which she replies: “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.”

Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says: “My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I made love to on the pool table with all my buddies watching while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery?”

She looks into his eyes and says calmly: “No, I’m your son’s teacher.

***

A plane was taxiing down the tarmac, preparing for takeoff when it abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.

A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What was the problem?”

“The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine,” explained the flight attendant, “and it took us a while to find a new pilot.”

***

SARCHOTIC adj.
When you’re so sarcastic,
people aren’t sure whether
you’re joking or whether
you’re just crazy

Remember, if you can’t say something nice – make it funny

If you have an opinion about my life, raise your hand.
Now put it over your mouth!

Life is short. Smile….
while you still have teeth.

My luck is like the bald guy who wins a comb

Be careful when you follow the masses. Sometimes the M is silent.

I don’t remember much from last night, but the fact that I needed sunglasses to open the fridge this morning means that it was awesome.

Sometimes someone will come into your life from nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes your life forever. We call these people Cops.

Smoking marijuana has imbued me with cat-like abilities.
For example, just one brightly colored piece of paper can now entertain me for hours.

My boss asked me if I could perform under pressure.
I said no, but I could do a pretty good version of Bohemian Rhapsody

When I was little, I had a disease that required me to eat dirt three times a day to survive.
It’s a good thing my older brother told me about it.

Bank teller: Your account is overdrawn.
Me: So are your eyebrows, yet here we are.

8:00 AM – Too tired to think
Noon – Too tired to think
5:00 PM – Too tired to think
Midnight – How do dragons blow out candles??

I’m starting meetings at my house for people with OCD.
I don’t have it. I’m just hoping they take a look and start cleaning.

I don’t believe in reincarnation.
I didn’t believe in it the last time either.

When I was growing up, my parents treated me like God.
They didn’t believe in me.
And if something terrible happened, I was the first one they asked why I did it.

 

Flash Fiction #197

Harry Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

OVER THERE

They both diligently saved from their wages, determined to see at least a little bit of the world, before they settled down to careers, marriage and family.

London was fantastic, and they did all the touristy things. Being nerds, they located a Harry Potter store, bought wands, and enjoyed butter beer. They couldn’t find a platform #9-3/4, but they booked a tour on this old steam train, like the Hogwarts Special. The views of the countryside, the quaint little railway stations, and even a castle on a hill, were delightful.

Happy, but resigned, they returned to face the workaday world.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

On a personal note, this is my 1100th published post since Nov. 2011. Also, if you note, it’s FF #197. If all goes well, in a couple of weeks, I’ll reach another milestone of 200.   😀

Flash Fiction #191

Vacation

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

AM I BLUE? NO!

Ah, to be a Canadian Snowbird in South Carolina, for a week in October. Not really Snowbirds – snow hasn’t actually fallen in Southern Ontario – yet. Warm like summer at home, but not yet crowded with boorish, Speedo-wearing Quebecois.

The beaches are delicious – tanning and soaking up sun. It’s easy to tell tourists from townies. Canadians are frolicking in the surf, while the natives are dressed in down-filled coats, like Canucks will be in a month, when they have to shovel that snow. They stare, wondering why we build sand-castles, and not igloos.

Nobody in Canada owns a powder blue villa. 😀

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

(Self-)Help Is On The Way

Self Help

In order to improve the lot in life of our employees and customers, Archon’s Addled Alliance is offering some free on-line courses. All you need to do is contact us and admit that you need help, and we’ll enroll you in a suitable one from the following list.

SELF IMPROVEMENT

Creative Suffering
Overcoming Peace of Mind
You and Your Birthmarks
Guilt Without Sex
The Primal Shrug
Ego Gratification Through Violence
Moulding Your Child’s Behavior Through Guilt And Fear
Dealing with Post-Realization Depression
Whine Your Way to Alienation
How to Overcome Self-Doubt Through Pretense and Ostentation
Hairstyling by Microwave

BUSINESS AND CAREER

Retire at 26 by Embezzlement
How I made $100 in Real Estate
Money Can Make You Rich
Packaging And Selling Your Children
Career Opportunities in El Salvador
How to Profit From Your Own Body
The Underachievers Guide to Very Small Business Opportunities
Tax Shelters For The Indigent
The Looters Guide to North American Cities
Mortgage Reduction Through Arson
Manipulation – The Key To Success
Hysteria – Motivation and Methodology
Preliminary to Employment Through Nepotism
Dice and Dope – Roll Your Way to Success

ECONOMICS

Counterfeiting Canadian Tire Money (Open to residents of Canada only)
Basic Kitchen Taxidermy
How to Convert a Wheelchair Into a Dune Buggy
Cat Hair Macramé
Christianity and The Art of RV Maintenance
What to do With Your Conversation Pit
Sinus Drainage (Contracts)
1001 Uses For Krazy Glue
Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity
Burglar-Proof Your Home With Concrete
How to Convert Your Kirby Vacuum-Cleaner Into a Fully Automatic Rifle
How to Build a Patio With Prune Pits – Franchise Program
Second-Hand Tupperware Parties

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Creative Tooth Decay
Fun With Necrophilia
The Joys of Hypochondria
Exorcism and Acne
High Fibre Sex
Suicide and Your Health
Skate Your Way to Regularity
Understanding Nudity
Tap Dance Your Way to Ridicule
Optional Body Functions
The Braille System of Anatomy
Dressing Right/Dressing Left – How It Can Change Your Life
Isometric Fitness For the Lazy
Understanding Underarm Wetness and Wind Direction

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Start Your Own TV Evangelism
Self Actualization Through Macramé
Needlecraft for Junkies
Gifts For the Senile
Cuticle Crafts
How to Draw Genitals
Bonsai Your Pet
Wind Chimes As a Substitute For Religion
25 Creative Uses For a Water-Pik
Crochet Drapes From Dental Floss
Toilet Bowl Reading

Please add any courses that you would like to see offered in the future.

30-Day Challenge To Like

Another Challenge

The challenge list composer has committed double jeopardy, so I’m going to join #3, and #6 together.

#3  What kind of person attracts you?
#6  The person you like, and why you like them.

It seems to me that, the kind of person who attracts me, would also be the kind of person that I like.  The wording of #6 also confuses me.  Does the list compiler feel that I can only “like” one person at a time, or is this question supposed to be cumulative, like #3, and better worded as, The kind of person you like?

A lecturer at a company seminar explained about ‘the range’ of people that we can reach and get along with.  He had us imagine a peg-board with one peg in it.  Over the peg was a loop of string.  You could put your finger inside the loop, and swirl it around the peg.  You would only reach a limited number of other peg-holes.

You could move the peg, but you would only reach the same number of other holes, and they would be a completely different set from the first lot.  The most successful salesman types were the ones who could make their personality like a large elastic, and stretch to reach the entire board.

Like Mary’s little lamb, the kind of person that I like, is one who likes me.  I am not much interested in turning my personality into a rubber band.  Too soon, my scope would include Kardashians, Bible-thumpers, and penis-envy jerks who drive Hummers while wearing civilian clothes.

I like folks who like me for me, psychoses, warts and all.  I am what I am.  In a conversation with my son recently, he said, “I wonder what normal people are like?”  Those who I like, and would want to like me, would have to be intelligent, independent, free-thinking, educated, open-minded, and capable of handling the English language like a fidget-spinner.

I have been so fortunate with this blog site to, at least virtually, attract a considerable number of people like that.  I’ve had the good fortune, to travel and meet a couple of fellow-bloggers in person, and I’m whirling like that fidget spinner myself, at the thought of meeting another Dynamic Duo of them.  I only hope that, having attracted them, they will not find me a challenge to like in person, the way they did through the filter of the internet.  I’ll keep you posted.  😀