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Tall tales and memes

With the growth and expansion of social media, memes have become more and more popular. Though there are serious memes, most are humorous and it dawned on me the other day they are the modern version of the tall tales of yesteryear. Memes are everywhere – Facebook, Twitter and on various message boards. When a good one pops up, it spreads fast. Facebook is the birthplace of many memes though, like everything else there, they are full of poor grammar and pitiful spelling. People routinely text or e-mail me memes they consider funny. One recently made me laugh out loud. It arrived the morning after an American drone took out Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. It bore a picture of the general with the words ‘˜Last week nobody knew who he was. Got famous fast. Blew up overnight’. Memes bring smiles and an occasional guffaw to the daily grind but I much prefer tall tales. Here are two of my favorites. I heard Herman Talmadge speak one time down at an informal event down in Roberta and he told of being invited by President Lyndon Johnson to go deer hunting at the LBJ Ranch. There was considerable merriment the night of his arrival and he was a little bleary-eyed when he was awakened by a liveried servant bearing coffee early the next morning. The man told him breakfast would be served in 30 minutes and the hunt would commence in one hour. Herman got himself together, donned his camo and went down to breakfast where he found the president in a suit and surrounded by aides as they worked the latest crisis. ‘Herman, we generally don’t wear camouflage down here at the ranch,’ Johnson drawled. After breakfast, they walked to an armored presidential limo. Talmadge and Johnson got in the rear. After riding for some time to a remote area of the huge Texas spread, they came upon a vast herd of deer grazing contentedly in a pasture. A Secret Service agent handed Herman a scoped rifle as the driver retracted the sunroof in the limo. ’Stand up, pick you out one and shoot it,’ LBJ commanded and Herman complied, felling a trophy buck which had made no attempt to evade. The rifle was secured, the sunroof closed and the hunting party went back to the big house for Bloody Marys. Some months later a huge package arrived at Talmadge’s senate office. It contained the mounted head of the mammoth buck which hung there throughout Talmadge’s years of service. The second tale was related by Chaney Griffin and featured his brother, Gov. Marvin Griffin, in the lead role. I have cleaned up some of the language. It seems the governor had finally quit smoking after multiple failed attempts to do so. An acquaintance who had also recently quit asked, ‘Governor, do you ever think about smoking a cigarette.’ Marvin replied with this tall tale. ’Ya know, I was out fishing the other day’¦was by myself in the jonboat out in the middle of the lake. I had a bad rash so I had on some loose shorts and no underwear. The fish were bitin’. I had a nice stringer and was about to call it a day when I hooked a big ole bass and it fought like hell. I kept my line tight like Daddy taught me. That fish jumped and rolled and finally it spit the lure. That thing flew back at me and the treble hook lodged in my left (testicle) and I commenced to screamin’,’ Marvin moaned. The obviously shaken friend said, ‘Damnation, that’s terrible governor but what does it have to do with quitting smoking.’ The governor replied, ‘Well, just for a minute out there in that boat a bleedin’ like a stuck pig, I didn’t think about smoking a cigarette.’ Long live the tale tale and the memories of legends like Herman and Marvin who told the best ones.

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