Stupid Stories™ are told before every performance that Giant Step Theatre does. We gather the 80-or-so second-through-tenth-graders together...mostly so we can make sure everybody's there and nobody has to cover anybody's lines...and get them all settled down by having them listen to me tell some shaggy-dog story with a groaner of a closing line.
Juan was such a nice guy. He never beat his wife, never yelled at his kids, and he had an aardvark in the back yard as a pet.
One day, the leaders of his community asked him to run to be the mayor of the town. Juan was shocked. "Are you kidding? Who would ever vote for me to be the mayor?!?"
"Everyone would vote for you, Juan! Well, why wouldn't they? You're such a nice guy! You never beat your wife, never yell at your kids, and you treat that aardvark in the back yard just like a regular pet...like a dog or cat or mongoose or something."
They talked Juan into putting his name on the ballot and believe it or not, everybody voted for him. Well, why wouldn't they? He's such a nice guy! He never beat his wife, never yelled at his kids, and he treated the aardvark in the back yard better than you treat your own mother...though that might not be saying much. I don't know.
Juan did a good job as mayor. So good, in fact, that the party leaders convince him to run to be the governor of the state.
Election day came, and he won by a landslide. It seemed like everybody voted for him. Well, why wouldn't they? He's such a nice guy! He never beat his wife, never yelled at his kids...gave the aardvark steak for dinner three times a week. (Had to cut it up in teeny tiny pieces...like ant-size...slurp.)
Juan was a great governor and eventually the day came when The Powers That Be talked him into running to be the President of these United States of America, long may they wave. Of course, he won the election hands down. It seemed like everybody voted for him. Well, why wouldn't they? He's such a nice guy! He never beat his wife, never yelled at his kids...gave the aardvark a perm just before the election...looked absolutely stunning.
He served well as President, and when he ran for reelection, it was the greatest landslide victory in the history of victories. More people voted for Juan than for any President of any country at any time. Well, why wouldn't they? He's such a nice guy! He never beat his wife, never yelled at his kids...he had built an air-conditioned bungalow for his pet aardvark in the Rose Garden.
About halfway through his second term as President of these United States of America, long may they wave, something happened with no explanation. Nobody understood why, and there was no apparent reason for it, but Juan just kind of snapped. He walked into the Oval Office, grabbed the First Lady by the hair and threw her through the window. I mean...through...the window. What a pane - er - pain!
He took his kids, nailed them by their thumbs to the rec room wall, and called them every vile, vicious, horrible name you can imagine...but probably shouldn't.
He went out to the Rose Garden, grabbed the aardvark by the tail, pulled him out of the air-conditioned bungalow, shaved him with an old, rusty blade, sprayed him with Bactine, doused him in kerosene, dipped him in gasoline, lit a match and WHOOSH...barbequed aardvark.
This shocked the nation! They couldn't believe it. What happened? He was such a nice guy!
Well, they put him on trial, convicted him, took him out back and shot him with a golf gun.
What's a golf gun, you ask? I don't know, but it sure made a hole in Juan!
* * * * * * *Now, I told you all that so I could tell you THIS:
I was serving as the dean of a week of church camp, and I was using cookies, milk, and a story from the dean as a reward for whichever cabin was the cleanest that day. One night, I used this particular story about Juan being such a nice guy...went through the whole thing with great animation and a fine eye for detail.
When I let loose with the final sentence ("I don't know, but it sure made a hole in Juan!"), the entire population of the cabin said, "I thought his name was Jose?!?"
Yep...I had inadvertently started the whole effort by saying "Jose was such a nice guy..."
The mind is such a terrible thing to waste.