Topic : Importance

Mistaken Identity

For many years, U.S. Vice Presidents made their home in the Willard Hotel. One night in 1922, a fire caused the evacuation of the hotel. Vice President Calvin Coolidge started to return to his room, but the fire marshal stopped him. The marshal let him proceed when the VP informed the man that he was the Vice President. Before Coolidge had gone more than a few steps, however, the fire marshal asked, “What are you Vice President of?”

“I’m Vice President of the United States!” Coolidge said.

The fireman ordered Coolidge to get back with the rest of the crowd, saying, “I thought you were vice president of the hotel.”

Steve Tally, Bland Ambition (Harcourt Brace) quoted in Reader’s Digest, April, 1997, p. 194.

Babies or Battles

In 1809 the world was following with bated breath the march of Napoleon and waiting with feverish impatience for the latest war news. And all the while, in their own homes, babies were being born.

During that year, William Gladstone was born in Liverpool, Alfred Tennyson in Somersby, Oliver Wendell Holmes in Massachusetts, Felix Mendelssohn in Hamburg and Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky.

Viewing that age in a perspective the years enable us to command, we may well ask which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies of 1809.

My Christmas Book (Zondervan), quoted in Reader’s Digest, January, 1996, p. 178

Parsley on a Platter of Fish

When Irving S. Olds was chairman of the U.S. Steel Corporation, he arrived for a stockholders’ meeting and was confronted by a woman who asked, “Exactly who are you and what do you do?” Without batting an eye, Olds replied, “I am your chairman. Of course, you know the duties of a chairman—that’s someone who is roughly the equivalent of parsley on a platter of fish.”

Bits and Pieces, June 27, 1991, p.7


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