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"One day two brothers were fighting and beating each
other up, almost killing each other. The neighbor saw
it and moved in to try and stop the fight. The brothers
stopped fighting and beat up the neighbor, then they went
back to fighting. Lesson: Mind your own business and
keep out of family fights."

Submitter comment: This is a verbatim account from Maryann Leisner which
retells a story her father learned from old (Italian)
relatives.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; SKOKIE

Keyword(s): Fable, function, cautionary tale, warning

James Callow Keyword(s): Dramatic Irony ; Peacemaker

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 00001930S

View just this record

TRIBUNE

THE FIRST TIME I TOLD ANYONE THIS STORY, I WAS NEARLY
PUSHED OFF A RAILROAD PLATFORM. EACH SUCCESSIVE TIME
I TOLD IT, OR EVERY TIME ANYONE ELSE TOLD IT, THE REACTION
BY THE LISTENER WAS EQUALLY DANGEROUS. I DON'T ADVISE
ANYONE'S TELLING IT TO A GROUP. HE JUST MAY NOT COME
OUT ALIVE!
ONE DAY THERE WAS A LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME WAS JOHNNY. THE
FIRST DAY THAT JOHNNY WENT TO SCHOOL, HE HAPPENED TO SEE
THE WORD "TRIBUNE" SCRAWLED ON A WALL. HE HAD NEVER SEEN
THIS WORD BEFORE, AND SO WHEN HE GOT TO SCHOOL, HE ASKED
HIS TEACHER WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE" MEANT. HIS TEACHER
LOOKED AT HIM QUITE SHOCKED AND ORDERED LITTLE JOHNNY
TO GO TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE.
TEARFULLY, JOHNNY WENT TO THE PRINCIPAL. THE PRINCIPAL
ASKED JOHNNY WHY HE WAS SENT AND JOHNNY SAID, "I ASKED MY
TEACHER A QUESTION AND SHE SENT ME TO YOU. WHAT DOES
'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRINCIPAL STOOD UP, KNOCKING OVER HIS CHAIR, AND ALMOST
UNABLE TO SPEAK, HE ORDERED JOHNNY OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND
OUT OF THE SCHOOL PERMANENTLY. NEVER HAD A CHILD ASKED
SUCH A QUESTION.
WHEN JOHNNY GOT HOME, HIS MOTHER ASKED HIM WHY HE WAS SO
EARLY. JOHNNY SAID, "I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION AND
SHE SENT ME TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE. I ASKED THE
PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL.
MOMMY, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
JOHNNY'S MOTHER ALMOST FAINTED WHEN SHE HEARD THIS.
AFTER SPANKING HIM, SHE SENT HIM TO HIS ROOM TO WAIT
UNTIL HIS FATHER CAME HOME THAT EVENING. SHE WAS VERY
UPSET.
WHEN JOHNNY'S FATHER CAME HOME AND SAW THE MENTAL STATE
JOHNNY'S MOTHER WAS IN, HE IMMEDIATELY RUSHED UP TO JOHNNY'S
ROOM AND ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME. I ASKED MOMMY
THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND TOLD ME TO WAIT IN
MY ROOM UNTIL YOU GOT HOME. DADDY, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE'
MEAN?"
JOHNNY'S FATHER STOOD STOCK-STILL FOR OVER A MINUTE. HE
THEN SPANKED JOHNNY AND TOLD HIM TO LEAVE HIS HOUSE AND
TO NEVER COME BACK. JOHNNY'S FATHER WAS ALSO QUITE UPSET.
JOHNNY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO GO, SO HE WENT TO THE PARISH
PRIEST. "I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
SENT ME TO MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY
FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. FATHER, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRIEST DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR THINK. TRYING TO
CONCEAL HIS OVERPOWERING ANGER, HE TOLD JOHNNY TO GO TO THE
PASTOR AND NOT COME BACK ANYMORE.
THE PASTOR WAS A KIND OLD MAN WHO NEVER HURT ANYONE AND WAS
A PERFECT LEADER FOR HIS CONGREGATION. WHEN JOHNNY WENT
INTO HIS OFFICE, THE PASTOR ASKED HIM TO SIT DOWN AND GAVE
JOHNNY A LOLLYPOP. HE THEN ASKED WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER. I ASKED MY MOTHER
THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND SEND ME TO
MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY FATHER THE
QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE.
I WENT TO THE PARISH PRIEST, AND THE PRIEST SENT ME TO YOU
AND TOLD ME TO NEVER COME BACK TO HIM. MONSIGNEOR,
WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE POOR OLD PRIEST THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO HAVE A HEART
ATTACK. HE HAD FACED MANY TRYING TIMES IN HIS POSITION
AS THE PASTOR, BUT NOTHING EVER EQUALLING THIS. FOR THE
FIRST TIME IN MANY YEARS, THE OLD PASTOR ACTUALLY GOT
ANGRY AND HE TOLD JOHNNY TO ASK THE BISHOP AND NEVER TO
SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN.
VERY CRESTFALLEN, LITTLE JOHNNY WENT TO THE BISHOP FOR
HELP. THE BISHOP BEING A VERY BUSY MAN, JOHNNY HAD TO
WAIT A LONG TIME BEFORE THE BISHOP HAD THE TIME TO SEE
HIM.
FINALLY, JOHNNY WAS ALLOWED TO TALK TO THE BISHOP. HE
WALKED INTO THE OFFICE AND STOOD IN FRONT OF THE LARGE
DESK BEHIND WHICH SAT A ROTUND, RED-FACED MAN. THE
BISHOP ASKED JOHNNY WHAT HIS PROBLEM WAS.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY
FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. I WENT TO THE PARISH PRIEST AND HE SENT ME
TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER TO COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN.
I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND THE PASTOR SENT ME
TO YOU AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH
AGAIN. YOUR REVERENCE, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE BISHOP TURNED SEVERAL SHADES REDDER IN ANGER AND
ORDERED JOHNNY OUT OF HIS OFFICE BECAUSE HE HAD A LOT OF
WORK TO DO AND TOLD HIM TO GO TO THE POPE. THE BISHOP
THEN ALMOST CARRIED JOHNNY TO THE DOOR, THREW HIM OUT,
AND SLAMMED THE DOOR.
JOHNNY WENT TO ROME, AND AFTER A VERY LONG WAIT WAS FINALLY
ABLE TO GET AN AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE. VERY NERVOUSLY,
JOHNNY TOLD THE POPE HIS PROBLEM.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED
MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME
TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER TO COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN.
I ASKED THE PASTOR AND HE SENT ME TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD
ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE
BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS
OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO COME TO YOU. YOUR EMMINENCE, WHAT
DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE POPE BECOME SO ANGRY AND UPSET THAT HE BEGAN SWEARING
UNDER HIS BREATH. HE SLOWLY STOOD UP, AND VERY SLOWLY
TOLD JOHNNY THAT HE WAS HEREBY EXCOMMUNICATED FROM THE
CHURCH, AND THAT IF HE WANTED ANY MORE HELP TO GO TO THE
GOVERNMENT OF HIS COUNTRY.
SO JOHNNY MADE THE LONG TRIP BACK TO AMERICA, STILL NOT
KNOWING WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE" MEANT, AND HE WAS ALREADY A
YOUNG MAN BY THIS TIME.
WHEN JOHNNY GOT BACK TO THE STATES, HE IMMEDIATELY WENT
TO THE SENATOR OF HIS STATE.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND TOLD
ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED
MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT
OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE QUESTION, AND
HE SENT ME TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME TO NEVER COME BACK
TO HIM. I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME
TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS
CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE
BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO GO TO THE
POPE. I ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION, AND THE POPE
EXCOMMUNICATED ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK YOU. MR. SENATOR,
WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE SENATOR ASKED JOHNNY TO REPEAT THE QUESTION, AND BY
THE TIME HE DID, THERE WERE TWELVE POLICEMEN DRAGGING
JOHNNY OUT OF THE OFFICE. JUST BEFORE HE WAS OUT OF THE
ROOM, JOHNNY OVERHEARD THE SENATOR TELLING ONE OF THE
POLICEMEN THAT HE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO THE VICE-PRESIDENT
TO ASK THAT QUESTION.
THE POLICEMEN DROPPED JOHNNY IN THE STREET OUTSIDE THE
SENATOR'S OFFICE, WARNING HIM THAT IF HE WAS EVER SEEN IN
AREA AGAIN, HE WOULD BE LOCKED UP FOR A LONG TIME.
BY THIS TIME, JOHNNY WAS A GROWN MAN AND HE HAD DEVOTED
HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO FINDING OUT WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE"
MEANT. HE DIDN'T CARE WHERE HE HAD TO GO, OR WHO HE HAD
TO ASK, JUST AS LONG AS HE FOUND OUT WHAT IT MEANT BEFORE
HE DIED.
JOHNNY'S NEXT MOVE WAS TO ASK THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES. AFTER MANY MONTHS OF TRYING EXPERIENCES WITH
MIDDLEMEN, JOHNNY'S PERSISTENCE FINALLY PAID OFF WHEN HE WAS
ALLOWED TO SEE THE PRESIDENT IN PERSON. AS JOHNNY HAD
EXPECTED, THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST QUESTION WAS, "WHAT
SEEMS TO BE YOUR PROBLEM?"
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I
ASKED MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED
ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE
QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER
TO COME BACK TO HIM. I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND
HE SENT ME TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT
INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE BISHOP THE
QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND
TOLD ME TO GO TO THE POPE. I ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION,
AND THE POPE EXCOMMUNICATED ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK A
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL. I ASKED MY SENATOR, AND HE THREW
ME OUT INTO THE STREET SAYING I SHOULD ASK YOU. MR.
PRESIDENT, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRESIDENT JUST SAT THERE AND TREMBLED. SURE ENOUGH,
WHILE JOHNNY WAS WAITING FOR A LONG SOUGHT-AFTER QUESTION,
HE RECEIVED PRACTICALLY THE SAME TREATMENT HE HAD RECEIVED
AT THE SENATOR'S OFFICE. IN A COUPLE MINUTES THE ROOM WAS
SWARMING WITH SECRET SERVICE MEN, ALL DISPLAYING REVOLVERS.
THE PRESIDENT TOLD HIS MEN TO ESCORT JOHNNY TO THE AIRPORT
WHERE HE WAS TO BOARD A PLANE WHICH WOULD TAKE HIM OUT OF
THE COUNTRY PERMANENTLY. NOT ONLY WAS JOHNNY EXILED BY
HIS FAMILY AND CHURCH, HE WAS NOW EVEN EXILED BY HIS
COUNTRY. EACH TIME HE RECEIVED SUCH TREATMENT, HIS
DEPRESSION WOULD INCREASE, AS WELL AS HIS DESIRE TO LEARN
WHAT THIS ONE LITTLE WORD MEANT. IT HAD BECOME A TOTAL
OBSESSION WITH HIM. HIS ENTIRE LIFE WAS CENTERED AROUND
THIS ONE GOAL, AND HE COULDN'T AND WOULDN'T ALLOW ANYTHING
TO GET IN HIS WAY.
THE NEXT THREE OR FOUR YEARS OF JOHNNY'S LIFE WAS SPENT
TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE, TALKING TO EVERY DIGNITARY
AND MAN OF ANY KNOWLEDGE, AND ALWAYS GETTING THE SAME
TREATMENT.
JOHNNY'S THIRTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY FOUND HIM WANDERING THE
STREETS OF MOSCOW, TRYING TO FIND SOME WAY HE COULD GET IN
TO TALK TO THE PRIME MINISTER. AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS OF
WAITING AND HOPING, HE FINALLY RECEIVED WORD THAT THE
PRIME MINISTER WOULD SEE HIM.
FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, JOHNNY FELT STRANGELY OPTIMISTIC
ON THE MORNING OF HIS APPOINTMENT. HE HAD HAD A VERY
GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP AND FELT QUITE WELL. AFTER SHOWING
HIS CREDENTIALS TO NUMEROUS SECRETARIES AND LOWER OFFICIALS,
HE FINALLY REACHED THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER HIMSELF.
"WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?" ASKED THE PRIME MINISTER IN A
SURPRISINGLY PLEASANT VOICE.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER CAME HOME.
I ASKED MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND MY FATHER SPANKED ME
AND KICKED ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST
THE QUESTION, AND THE PARISH PRIEST TOLD ME TO GO TO THE
PASTOR AND TO NEVER COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN. I ASKED THE
PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND THE PASTOR SENT ME TO THE BISHOP
ANDTOLD ME NEVER TO SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN.
I ASKED THE BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP KICKED
ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO GO TO THE POPE. I
ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION, AND THE POPE EXCOMMUNICATED
ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK ONE OF MY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. I
ASKED MY SENATOR, AND THE SENATOR THREW ME OUT INTO THE
STREET SAYING I SHOULD ASK THE PRESIDENT. I ASKED THE
PRESIDENT THE QUESTION, AND THE PRESIDENT THREW ME OUT OF
HIS OFFICE AND EXILED ME FROM THE COUNTRY. FOR NEARLY
FOUR YEARS I'VE BEEN TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE, AND
HAVE ALWAYS RECEIVED THE SAME TREATMENT. I HAVE NOW COME
TO YOU. MR. PRIME MINISTER, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
ALL THROUGH JOHNNY'S STORY, THE PRIME MINISTER SEEMED
VERY INTERESTED AND LISTENED VERY CAREFULLY TO EVERY WORD
THAT WAS SAID, BUT WHEN JOHNNY SPRUNG THE QUESTION ON HIM,
THE PRIME MINISTER STARTED RAVING, POUNDING HIS SHOE ON
HIS DESK, SHOUTING FOR HIS POLICE, SECRET SERVICE MEN,
JANITORS, AND EVEN HIS WIFE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, A FEW
MINUTES LATER JOHNNY FOUND HIMSELF LYING ON THE SIDEWALK,
EVERYONE IN THE AREA LOOKING AT HIM AND JEERING NOISILY.
STILL, JOHNNY'S SPIRIT WASN'T BROKEN. HE PICKED HIMSELF
UP, BRUSHED HIMSELF OFF, AND JUST AS HE WAS CROSSING THE
STREET IN FRONT OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, THERE
WAS A SCREACHING OF TIRES, A SHORT CRY, AND THEN DEAD
SILENCE. JOHNNY HAD BEEN STRUCK BY A CAR AND KILLED
INSTANTLY.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: "LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING
THE STREET."

Submitter comment: AS CAN BE IMAGINED, THIS STORY CAN BE DRAGGED OUT TO AN
INFINITE LENGTH: THE LONGER THE STORY, THE BETTER THE
LISTENER'S REACTION. WHEN TOLD TO ME, IT TOOK ABOUT
15 MINUTES. WHEN I TELL IT, IT USUALLY TAKES AROUND 20
MINUTES. A FRIEND OF MINE ONCE SPENT 45 MINUTES TELLING
A GROUP OF PEOPLE THIS STORY. HE IS AN EXCELLENT
STORY-TELLER TO BEGIN WITH AND HAD THE ATTENTION OF
THE GROUP THROUGHOUT. RIP

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Keyword(s): REST IN PEACE

Subject headings: 6677 Formula Tale

Date learned: 00-00-1966

View just this record

TRIBUNE

THE FIRST TIME I TOLD ANYONE THIS STORY, I WAS NEARLY
PUSHED OFF A RAILROAD PLATFORM. EACH SUCCESSIVE TIME
I TOLD IT, OR EVERY TIME ANYONE ELSE TOLD IT, THE REACTION
BY THE LISTENER WAS EQUALLY DANGEROUS. I DON'T ADVISE
ANYONE'S TELLING IT TO A GROUP. HE JUST MAY NOT COME
OUT ALIVE!
ONE DAY THERE WAS A LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME WAS JOHNNY. THE
FIRST DAY THAT JOHNNY WENT TO SCHOOL, HE HAPPENED TO SEE
THE WORD "TRIBUNE" SCRAWLED ON A WALL. HE HAD NEVER SEEN
THIS WORD BEFORE, AND SO WHEN HE GOT TO SCHOOL, HE ASKED
HIS TEACHER WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE" MEANT. HIS TEACHER
LOOKED AT HIM QUITE SHOCKED AND ORDERED LITTLE JOHNNY
TO GO TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE.
TEARFULLY, JOHNNY WENT TO THE PRINCIPAL. THE PRINCIPAL
ASKED JOHNNY WHY HE WAS SENT AND JOHNNY SAID, "I ASKED MY
TEACHER A QUESTION AND SHE SENT ME TO YOU. WHAT DOES
'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRINCIPAL STOOD UP, KNOCKING OVER HIS CHAIR, AND ALMOST
UNABLE TO SPEAK, HE ORDERED JOHNNY OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND
OUT OF THE SCHOOL PERMANENTLY. NEVER HAD A CHILD ASKED
SUCH A QUESTION.
WHEN JOHNNY GOT HOME, HIS MOTHER ASKED HIM WHY HE WAS SO
EARLY. JOHNNY SAID, "I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION AND
SHE SENT ME TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE. I ASKED THE
PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL.
MOMMY, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
JOHNNY'S MOTHER ALMOST FAINTED WHEN SHE HEARD THIS.
AFTER SPANKING HIM, SHE SENT HIM TO HIS ROOM TO WAIT
UNTIL HIS FATHER CAME HOME THAT EVENING. SHE WAS VERY
UPSET.
WHEN JOHNNY'S FATHER CAME HOME AND SAW THE MENTAL STATE
JOHNNY'S MOTHER WAS IN, HE IMMEDIATELY RUSHED UP TO JOHNNY'S
ROOM AND ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME. I ASKED MOMMY
THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND TOLD ME TO WAIT IN
MY ROOM UNTIL YOU GOT HOME. DADDY, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE'
MEAN?"
JOHNNY'S FATHER STOOD STOCK-STILL FOR OVER A MINUTE. HE
THEN SPANKED JOHNNY AND TOLD HIM TO LEAVE HIS HOUSE AND
TO NEVER COME BACK. JOHNNY'S FATHER WAS ALSO QUITE UPSET.
JOHNNY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO GO, SO HE WENT TO THE PARISH
PRIEST. "I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
SENT ME TO MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY
FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. FATHER, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRIEST DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY OR THINK. TRYING TO
CONCEAL HIS OVERPOWERING ANGER, HE TOLD JOHNNY TO GO TO THE
PASTOR AND NOT COME BACK ANYMORE.
THE PASTOR WAS A KIND OLD MAN WHO NEVER HURT ANYONE AND WAS
A PERFECT LEADER FOR HIS CONGREGATION. WHEN JOHNNY WENT
INTO HIS OFFICE, THE PASTOR ASKED HIM TO SIT DOWN AND GAVE
JOHNNY A LOLLYPOP. HE THEN ASKED WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER. I ASKED MY MOTHER
THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND SEND ME TO
MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY FATHER THE
QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE.
I WENT TO THE PARISH PRIEST, AND THE PRIEST SENT ME TO YOU
AND TOLD ME TO NEVER COME BACK TO HIM. MONSIGNEOR,
WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE POOR OLD PRIEST THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO HAVE A HEART
ATTACK. HE HAD FACED MANY TRYING TIMES IN HIS POSITION
AS THE PASTOR, BUT NOTHING EVER EQUALLING THIS. FOR THE
FIRST TIME IN MANY YEARS, THE OLD PASTOR ACTUALLY GOT
ANGRY AND HE TOLD JOHNNY TO ASK THE BISHOP AND NEVER TO
SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN.
VERY CRESTFALLEN, LITTLE JOHNNY WENT TO THE BISHOP FOR
HELP. THE BISHOP BEING A VERY BUSY MAN, JOHNNY HAD TO
WAIT A LONG TIME BEFORE THE BISHOP HAD THE TIME TO SEE
HIM.
FINALLY, JOHNNY WAS ALLOWED TO TALK TO THE BISHOP. HE
WALKED INTO THE OFFICE AND STOOD IN FRONT OF THE LARGE
DESK BEHIND WHICH SAT A ROTUND, RED-FACED MAN. THE
BISHOP ASKED JOHNNY WHAT HIS PROBLEM WAS.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED MY
FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. I WENT TO THE PARISH PRIEST AND HE SENT ME
TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER TO COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN.
I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND THE PASTOR SENT ME
TO YOU AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH
AGAIN. YOUR REVERENCE, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE BISHOP TURNED SEVERAL SHADES REDDER IN ANGER AND
ORDERED JOHNNY OUT OF HIS OFFICE BECAUSE HE HAD A LOT OF
WORK TO DO AND TOLD HIM TO GO TO THE POPE. THE BISHOP
THEN ALMOST CARRIED JOHNNY TO THE DOOR, THREW HIM OUT,
AND SLAMMED THE DOOR.
JOHNNY WENT TO ROME, AND AFTER A VERY LONG WAIT WAS FINALLY
ABLE TO GET AN AUDIENCE WITH THE POPE. VERY NERVOUSLY,
JOHNNY TOLD THE POPE HIS PROBLEM.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME
TO THE PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND
HE KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED
MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT OF
HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME
TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER TO COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN.
I ASKED THE PASTOR AND HE SENT ME TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD
ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE
BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS
OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO COME TO YOU. YOUR EMMINENCE, WHAT
DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE POPE BECOME SO ANGRY AND UPSET THAT HE BEGAN SWEARING
UNDER HIS BREATH. HE SLOWLY STOOD UP, AND VERY SLOWLY
TOLD JOHNNY THAT HE WAS HEREBY EXCOMMUNICATED FROM THE
CHURCH, AND THAT IF HE WANTED ANY MORE HELP TO GO TO THE
GOVERNMENT OF HIS COUNTRY.
SO JOHNNY MADE THE LONG TRIP BACK TO AMERICA, STILL NOT
KNOWING WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE" MEANT, AND HE WAS ALREADY A
YOUNG MAN BY THIS TIME.
WHEN JOHNNY GOT BACK TO THE STATES, HE IMMEDIATELY WENT
TO THE SENATOR OF HIS STATE.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND TOLD
ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I ASKED
MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED ME OUT
OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE QUESTION, AND
HE SENT ME TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME TO NEVER COME BACK
TO HIM. I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME
TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT INSIDE HIS
CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE
BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO GO TO THE
POPE. I ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION, AND THE POPE
EXCOMMUNICATED ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK YOU. MR. SENATOR,
WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE SENATOR ASKED JOHNNY TO REPEAT THE QUESTION, AND BY
THE TIME HE DID, THERE WERE TWELVE POLICEMEN DRAGGING
JOHNNY OUT OF THE OFFICE. JUST BEFORE HE WAS OUT OF THE
ROOM, JOHNNY OVERHEARD THE SENATOR TELLING ONE OF THE
POLICEMEN THAT HE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO THE VICE-PRESIDENT
TO ASK THAT QUESTION.
THE POLICEMEN DROPPED JOHNNY IN THE STREET OUTSIDE THE
SENATOR'S OFFICE, WARNING HIM THAT IF HE WAS EVER SEEN IN
AREA AGAIN, HE WOULD BE LOCKED UP FOR A LONG TIME.
BY THIS TIME, JOHNNY WAS A GROWN MAN AND HE HAD DEVOTED
HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO FINDING OUT WHAT THE WORD "TRIBUNE"
MEANT. HE DIDN'T CARE WHERE HE HAD TO GO, OR WHO HE HAD
TO ASK, JUST AS LONG AS HE FOUND OUT WHAT IT MEANT BEFORE
HE DIED.
JOHNNY'S NEXT MOVE WAS TO ASK THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES. AFTER MANY MONTHS OF TRYING EXPERIENCES WITH
MIDDLEMEN, JOHNNY'S PERSISTENCE FINALLY PAID OFF WHEN HE WAS
ALLOWED TO SEE THE PRESIDENT IN PERSON. AS JOHNNY HAD
EXPECTED, THE PRESIDENT'S FIRST QUESTION WAS, "WHAT
SEEMS TO BE YOUR PROBLEM?"
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER GOT HOME. I
ASKED MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND HE SPANKED ME AND KICKED
ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST THE
QUESTION, AND HE SENT ME TO THE PASTOR AND TOLD ME NEVER
TO COME BACK TO HIM. I ASKED THE PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND
HE SENT ME TO THE BISHOP AND TOLD ME TO NEVER SET FOOT
INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN. I ASKED THE BISHOP THE
QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP THREW ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND
TOLD ME TO GO TO THE POPE. I ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION,
AND THE POPE EXCOMMUNICATED ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK A
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL. I ASKED MY SENATOR, AND HE THREW
ME OUT INTO THE STREET SAYING I SHOULD ASK YOU. MR.
PRESIDENT, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
THE PRESIDENT JUST SAT THERE AND TREMBLED. SURE ENOUGH,
WHILE JOHNNY WAS WAITING FOR A LONG SOUGHT-AFTER QUESTION,
HE RECEIVED PRACTICALLY THE SAME TREATMENT HE HAD RECEIVED
AT THE SENATOR'S OFFICE. IN A COUPLE MINUTES THE ROOM WAS
SWARMING WITH SECRET SERVICE MEN, ALL DISPLAYING REVOLVERS.
THE PRESIDENT TOLD HIS MEN TO ESCORT JOHNNY TO THE AIRPORT
WHERE HE WAS TO BOARD A PLANE WHICH WOULD TAKE HIM OUT OF
THE COUNTRY PERMANENTLY. NOT ONLY WAS JOHNNY EXILED BY
HIS FAMILY AND CHURCH, HE WAS NOW EVEN EXILED BY HIS
COUNTRY. EACH TIME HE RECEIVED SUCH TREATMENT, HIS
DEPRESSION WOULD INCREASE, AS WELL AS HIS DESIRE TO LEARN
WHAT THIS ONE LITTLE WORD MEANT. IT HAD BECOME A TOTAL
OBSESSION WITH HIM. HIS ENTIRE LIFE WAS CENTERED AROUND
THIS ONE GOAL, AND HE COULDN'T AND WOULDN'T ALLOW ANYTHING
TO GET IN HIS WAY.
THE NEXT THREE OR FOUR YEARS OF JOHNNY'S LIFE WAS SPENT
TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE, TALKING TO EVERY DIGNITARY
AND MAN OF ANY KNOWLEDGE, AND ALWAYS GETTING THE SAME
TREATMENT.
JOHNNY'S THIRTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY FOUND HIM WANDERING THE
STREETS OF MOSCOW, TRYING TO FIND SOME WAY HE COULD GET IN
TO TALK TO THE PRIME MINISTER. AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS OF
WAITING AND HOPING, HE FINALLY RECEIVED WORD THAT THE
PRIME MINISTER WOULD SEE HIM.
FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, JOHNNY FELT STRANGELY OPTIMISTIC
ON THE MORNING OF HIS APPOINTMENT. HE HAD HAD A VERY
GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP AND FELT QUITE WELL. AFTER SHOWING
HIS CREDENTIALS TO NUMEROUS SECRETARIES AND LOWER OFFICIALS,
HE FINALLY REACHED THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER HIMSELF.
"WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?" ASKED THE PRIME MINISTER IN A
SURPRISINGLY PLEASANT VOICE.
"I ASKED MY TEACHER A QUESTION, AND SHE SENT ME TO THE
PRINCIPAL. I ASKED THE PRINCIPAL THE QUESTION, AND HE
KICKED ME OUT OF SCHOOL AND SENT ME HOME TO MY MOTHER.
I ASKED MY MOTHER THE QUESTION, AND SHE SPANKED ME AND
TOLD ME TO WAIT IN MY ROOM UNTIL MY FATHER CAME HOME.
I ASKED MY FATHER THE QUESTION, AND MY FATHER SPANKED ME
AND KICKED ME OUT OF HIS HOUSE. I ASKED THE PARISH PRIEST
THE QUESTION, AND THE PARISH PRIEST TOLD ME TO GO TO THE
PASTOR AND TO NEVER COME BACK TO HIM AGAIN. I ASKED THE
PASTOR THE QUESTION, AND THE PASTOR SENT ME TO THE BISHOP
ANDTOLD ME NEVER TO SET FOOT INSIDE HIS CHURCH AGAIN.
I ASKED THE BISHOP THE QUESTION, AND THE BISHOP KICKED
ME OUT OF HIS OFFICE AND TOLD ME TO GO TO THE POPE. I
ASKED THE POPE THE QUESTION, AND THE POPE EXCOMMUNICATED
ME AND TOLD ME TO ASK ONE OF MY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. I
ASKED MY SENATOR, AND THE SENATOR THREW ME OUT INTO THE
STREET SAYING I SHOULD ASK THE PRESIDENT. I ASKED THE
PRESIDENT THE QUESTION, AND THE PRESIDENT THREW ME OUT OF
HIS OFFICE AND EXILED ME FROM THE COUNTRY. FOR NEARLY
FOUR YEARS I'VE BEEN TRAVELLING THROUGHOUT EUROPE, AND
HAVE ALWAYS RECEIVED THE SAME TREATMENT. I HAVE NOW COME
TO YOU. MR. PRIME MINISTER, WHAT DOES 'TRIBUNE' MEAN?"
ALL THROUGH JOHNNY'S STORY, THE PRIME MINISTER SEEMED
VERY INTERESTED AND LISTENED VERY CAREFULLY TO EVERY WORD
THAT WAS SAID, BUT WHEN JOHNNY SPRUNG THE QUESTION ON HIM,
THE PRIME MINISTER STARTED RAVING, POUNDING HIS SHOE ON
HIS DESK, SHOUTING FOR HIS POLICE, SECRET SERVICE MEN,
JANITORS, AND EVEN HIS WIFE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, A FEW
MINUTES LATER JOHNNY FOUND HIMSELF LYING ON THE SIDEWALK,
EVERYONE IN THE AREA LOOKING AT HIM AND JEERING NOISILY.
STILL, JOHNNY'S SPIRIT WASN'T BROKEN. HE PICKED HIMSELF
UP, BRUSHED HIMSELF OFF, AND JUST AS HE WAS CROSSING THE
STREET IN FRONT OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, THERE
WAS A SCREACHING OF TIRES, A SHORT CRY, AND THEN DEAD
SILENCE. JOHNNY HAD BEEN STRUCK BY A CAR AND KILLED
INSTANTLY.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: "LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING
THE STREET."

Submitter comment: AS CAN BE IMAGINED, THIS STORY CAN BE DRAGGED OUT TO AN
INFINITE LENGTH: THE LONGER THE STORY, THE BETTER THE
LISTENER'S REACTION. WHEN TOLD TO ME, IT TOOK ABOUT
15 MINUTES. WHEN I TELL IT, IT USUALLY TAKES AROUND 20
MINUTES. A FRIEND OF MINE ONCE SPENT 45 MINUTES TELLING
A GROUP OF PEOPLE THIS STORY. HE IS AN EXCELLENT
STORY-TELLER TO BEGIN WITH AND HAD THE ATTENTION OF
THE GROUP THROUGHOUT. RIP

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

Keyword(s): REST IN PEACE

Subject headings: 6677 Formula Tale

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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IT IS A COMMON BELIEF AMONG GRAVEDIGGERS (OR WAS) THAT
A DEAD MAN'S "REST" WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE QUALITY OF
THE EARTH IN WHICH HE IS BURIED--THAT IF IT IS SOFT AND
CLAYLIKE, HE WILL NOT BE DISTURBED, BUT IF IT IS HARD
AND STONY, HIS GHOST WILL BE RESTLESS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): AFTERLIFE ; BELIEF ; Clay ; GHOST ; GHOSTS ; Grave ; Gravedigger ; Haunt ; Peace ; QUALITY ; Rock ; Soil

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

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FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE SCREWING FOR VIRGINITY.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): BELIEF ; FIGHT ; HYPOCRISY ; HYPOCRISY ; Opposite ; Peace ; PROVERB ; Saying ; Screw ; VIRGINITY

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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