Article Date: 2/1/2013

Lessons Learned
lessons learned

I Didn’t Say All Those Things

Never underestimate intelligence, especially in the presence of “turkles.”



Continuing the lessons I’ve learned via encounters with well known public figures, including how you should not underestimate people’s intelligence because of their lack of education, and poor grammar:

I was able to meet briefly with the famous king of the malapropism, Yogi Berra. The sports editor of our local newspaper invited me along when he went to Atlanta to cover a Braves vs. Houston Astros game a number of years ago. After the game, we went in the locker room to interview Yogi, who was then a coach for the Astros.

“You made the most intelligent statement I’ve ever heard recently,” I couldn’t resist saying to him. “What was that?” he asked quizzically, since I’m sure it was possibly the first time anyone had ever accused him of being intelligent.

“When you said, ‘I didn’t say all those things I said,’” I told him — what a clever and intelligent way to state that many of the quotes attributed to him were not his.

The “turkles”

The manager of Junior Samples, the “Hee Haw” TV show star, asked my friend Nick Powers and me to write the Junior Samples Jokebook to sell at Junior’s personal appearances. Nick lived in a rural area, so Junior and the manager met us out by his fishing lake where we would make plans.

When I arrived I saw Junior in his bib overalls wading around the edges of the snaky fishing lake, and reaching into holes in the bank to pull out large what he called “turkles.”


“A turkle is just like a turtle, except bigger,” he told me later.

“What do you do with them?” I asked him.

“I eat ’em,” he replied. “You want one?”

“How do you eat them?” I asked.

“Hit takes purty sharp teeth,” was his clever reply.

A better “idée”

When he climbed up the lake bank to get out of the lake, I helped by giving him a hand. In doing so, I slipped, and cut my hand on a rock.

“We need to disinfect that,” said Junior’s manager. “We got some store-bought whiskey in the trunk, and I’ll pour a little on your cut.”

“I got a better idée,” said Junior. “Hit works better if’n you drink the whiskey, and let hit work its way out to the cut from the inside.”

King of the rednecks

Bud Shaw may not be a public figure in other parts of the country, but he is in Booger Hollow, where he is known as king of the rednecks. While most folks look down on the intelligence of rednecks, Bud is proud of being one. Most rednecks are good, down to earth, smart people. No ‘put on’, and no worries about being “politically correct.”

Their intelligence is not in “book larnin’” but instead in common sense. “My lawn mower is broke,” I told Bud one day. “Can you fix it?”

“I can fix anything,” he said. He proved his intellect was much better than mine, when he had the mower running fine after just two minutes. What he did was first pour some gas in the empty tank, before trying to crank the engine.

“Some of my buddies gripe about being henpecked,” he told me, showing his self-deprecating sense of humor. “But I ain’t! I run everything at my house… the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher, the washing machine.” OM


Optometric Management, Issue: February 2013, page(s): 75