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Over the years I have published my Newsletter, Telling Tales, and written other articles as well. Here are a few samples from past Newsletters:

From The Vancouver StoryDweller - Winter 2007

Funnybones or What?

If I had followed my third grade dream of becoming a cowboy, there would have been no time for humor! Did you ever see the Lone Ranger smile? Jokes were strictly for sidekicks who slipped on the cow pie.

During the Fourth Grade, I noticed that every time I tried to be serious, my classmates, would break out giggling. I would look down: Was my fly open? Had I left home without my pants? No! So, what was so funny?

They laughed most in gym class. Was it my dodge ball technique of diving onto the floor with my hands over my head? I did not see anything funny.

One day, Priscilla Lazovick, the most beautiful girl in the class, a golden-haired princess, walked up to me. "Bob Reiser, you are funny!"

"Me?" I gibbered. She cracked up. If Priscilla Lazovick thought I was funny, by God, I would be hilarious!

Wanting to be funny is not the same as actually doing it. My test came when a gang of sixth graders stopped me on the street. "We hear you're funny."

"Hehhh." I gagged. How can you be funny when you can't breathe?

"He don't look funny to me." Joel Levine, the biggest bully in the gang started thumping his baseball bat on the ground. I stammered. I twitched.

"That ain't funny!"

My face took over. I puffed out my cheeks and crossed my eyes - my favorite Harpo Marx face. I stuck out my tongue and made the rudest sound I knew. That cracked them up. Shows what a high-class audience I had. I had fought off the Seventh Grade gang with a silly face!

Unfortunately, one laugh does not a Jerry Lewis make. The next day, I had to show my funny bones to the 7th Street gang and the next day to the Middle School gang. I put on silly faces and fake German accents for every tough kid in the neighborhood. It was make them laugh or lose my book bag to the highest tree!

In the fifth grade, it all came crashing down with nominations for class president.

"I nominate Bobby Reiser." No one nominated me for anything! I turned around and saw Priscilla Lazovik, my princess!

"I second it!" cheered Sandy Mayer, last year's class president! I was in!

Out of this rosy glow, I heard my name. "Mr. Reiser. Your campaign speech?" I had no idea what the teacher was talking about. "Robert, what will you do if you are elected?"

Stark terror. I had no idea. I gazed at the idolizing faces of my supporters. Without an idea in my head I just talked, like most politicians. "Uh... vacation every day!... Free" The more I talked, the quieter the room became. Priscilla stuck her head in her book and pretended to study. I jabbered on with silly accents, funny faces and finally poop jokes. I couldn't stop.

"Robert. That's enough. I hope you all learned a lesson today. Elections are too important to be a contest for class clown." Without a word of protest from my fans, the teacher erased my name from the black board. At that moment, I decided I would never be funny again.

For seven years, I kept my funny faces and silly walks to myself. I got better at climbing trees to retrieve my book bag.

In college, in search of the serious life, I played the love-doomed Claudio in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. As I stomped around the stage wailing about thwarted love, I heard the audience giggling! The masquerade was over!

Fifty years later, what have I learned? I know that nature will not be denied! If you are blessed or cursed with a rubber face or a silly voice or a slightly skewed view of the world, people will laugh!

What else did I learn? Being funny is a good thing. People need to laugh. It opens the heart; it oxygenates the blood; it brings people together; and, most importantly, it helps folks deal with life, which has nothing to do with a bowl of cherries!

Being funny does not always feel funny. In fact, often the more serious you are, the more the audience will listen and laugh. Real laughter does not come from silly walks; it comes from life.

From Telling Tales | Fall 2002

Story Magic


Last January I had the honor of telling stories for the families of the Westchester and Rockland firemen who were lost in the September 11th tragedy. It was amazing to see tales work their magic on these folks who had just had their lives turned upside down.. Stories can speak to us in so many ways - teaching, soothing, entertaining. But, most wondrously, stories can bring us face to face with the beauties which are within us. I still see the children waving their arms at the end of "Jack the Chicken Eagle" singing "You've got to try like an eagle, fly like an eagle, dip and slip and glide like an eagle - Everybody do the Eagle Glide!" It was as if a light began to shine not only in the faces of the kids, but in the faces of the parents as well. As storyteller Rob Scutter said, "Stories go out and change the world and you with them. And that's a miracle."

My Favorite Authors

Rub yourself with the right oil from the right snake and you can wriggle yourself through any keyhole, knothole, rathole, afterward saying to yourself, "Now what?" Flatten yourself flat enough and you can slide under any door, and afterward ask "Now what?" Make your face like a pickle and you may hear people say, "Why not get that fixed?"
What is a Hongdorsh and what do the Hongdorshes do? When they speak what is so, they stand on their right foot. When they speak what is not so, they stand on their left foot. When they don't know what they are talking about they stand fast on both feet and try to get their feet loose from their foot tracks. It isn't as easy as you think.

- CARL SANDBERG (Another of my favorite Authors) from "Sayings Among the Hongdorshes"

From Telling Tales | Fall 2000


Stories can come from the most unexpected circumstances. Last year, a disappointment and a bout of insomnia brought me this picture of a leaf-hopper, one of those delightful green creatures that can leap from leaf to distant leaf in a single bound. The story cheered me up instantly. May it do the same for you.

Mighty leaf hopper
High hopping hopper
Heart stopping, sky popping hopper
Light as a whisker
Green as a meadow
Never stops hopping,
Never stops hoping.
"Gotta keep hopping" he cried,
"High as the morning
High as the moon!"

So he bounced and he bopped
With his leaf-hopping might
At the bright silver ball
That hung in the night.
Higher and higher and higher and higher
He hopped like a hopper whose pants were on fire.
Higher he hopped, as high as a flea
"I have hopped where no hopper has hopped except me!"

Still he hopped higher
As high as the night
Till hopped himself
Up and over the light!
"I did it I did it I did it!" he crooned.
"I'm the hopper who hopped himself over the moon!!!"

Just as he hollered his victory cry,
The old man in the wicker chair, sighed,
Folded his paper and turned out the porch light
And the bright silver ball went out of the night.

"Oops," gulped the hopper, as he lay in a faint,
"I guess I just didn't know my own strength."

Whenever hoppers gather today,
They still tell the tale of the mighty hopper
Heart stopping sky-popping hopper
Light as a whisker, Green as a meadow,
Who hopped and hopped and hopped so high,
He hopped the moon right out of the sky.

- Copyright 1999, Bob Reiser

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