Have you heard the one about the old country preacher who had a teenage son he felt should begin to think seriously about choosing a profession? Well, if you haven’t heard it, you’re about to, thanks to Edward McDermott, a reader whose humorous snippets we’ve shared with you from time to time.
The preacher decided that while his son was at school he’d try to get an inkling of which way the boy was leaning by slipping into his room and placing on a table four objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, a bottle of whiskey, and a copy of Playboy. The idea being that he’d hide behind the door of the boy’s bedroom when his son came home from school and furtively watch to see which object the lad would pick up.
If it’s the Bible, he reasoned, the kid was going to be a preacher like me and what a blessing that would be! If he picked up the silver dollar, the preacher thought, he’s going to be a businessman and that’d be fine, too. If he picks up the bottle, the preacher flushed, he’s going to be a no-good drunken bum. And — just to think about it made the preacher shiver with foreboding — if the boy picks up that magazine, he’s going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer.
When his son got home, he casually walked into his room and dropped his books on the bed. Then, he spotted the four objects on his bedside table and studied them a moment or two. He picked up the Bible and placed it under this arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a large swallow, while he gazed admiringly at the magazine’s centerfold.
“Lord have mercy,” the old preacher fumed, “he’s gonna run for Congress.”