June 29, 2012

tweet of the day

comments

  1. Sheila Ryan on June 30th, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    This reminds me of something my mother told me the afternoon JFK was shot. (Yes, I grew up in Dallas. I was nine when the President got kilt, and yes, the assassination affected me deeply.)

    We had all been sent home from school that afternoon, and I was dreadfully upset. Our neighbor Marge Krampe was even more upset. She said she hoped they’d kill the S.O.B. who shot the President.

    My mother sought to distance me from inclinations toward vengeance. I’m not sure her way would be widely approved, but it worked in that it inserted a space between me and the horrible, frightening thing that had just happened right in our very own city.

    She told me about an old vaudeville joke that turned on the assassination of Lincoln, a gag from before her own time but from long after 1865, something one of her elders may have recounted to her. Something about a comedian who set up his audience for an outburst from a plant in the audience, a response to the comic’s bewilderment as to who’d committed a fictional crime.

    “I confess!” shouted the plant from the house. “I did it!”

    “Did what?”

    “I shot Abraham Lincoln!”

    The audience invariably roared, my mother told me, and so, in time, would the horrible killing of our own President become something we could joke about.