Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
November 18, 2001
Danny Morris, a good friend for more than 30 years, is one of the funniest guys I have ever known. A Methodist preacher like me, he recently retired but he is still telling funny stories. Danny came on the staff of the Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville shortly I left and he worked there for a quarter of a century as a leader in spiritual formation and prayer.
When I ran into Danny at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, he gave me a copy of his latest book titled Spirits Laughing, the Gift of a Cheerful Heart. I don’t know what it costs since he gave it to me, but it is published by Providence House Publishers in Franklin, Tennessee.
One of the funniest stories in the book Danny calls "The Refrigerator Story." I must share it with you. I hope you will like it so much you will buy a copy of Danny’s book. Here’s the story:
"Recently I have been thinking a lot about the guy who had huge arms with bulging muscles. When he flexed his arms, veins popped out, like vines on a tree trunk.
"He came home early from work one day and found a lighted cigar in an ashtray in his upstairs apartment. He knew someone was there. He flew into a rage, going from room to room looking for the intruder.
"He looked under the bed.
"He looked in the bathroom.
"He looked in the closets.
"He looked in the pantry.
"He knew someone was there or had been.
"Standing in the kitchen, seething with anger, he looked out the window and saw a man running down the outside stairs to his building. He grabbed the refrigerator and with a burst of super-human strength, lifted it over his head, his arms bulging with the strain. His veins popped out like vines on that tree trunk mentioned earlier.
"With a mighty heave, he threw the refrigerator through the upper story window and onto the man as he ran on the sidewalk below. The refrigerator fell on the man and killed him! The muscle guy was stunned at what he had done when he snapped back from his jealous rage into reality. As he leaned forward to look out the window, his foot slipped on a piece of broken glass and he fell out of the window onto the refrigerator. And he was killed.
"Now there was a line at the Big Gate. One guy stepped forward and said, ‘Gatekeeper, I don’t know why I’m here. You see my wife sent me to the store for milk and bread for supper. I was hurrying along on the sidewalk and---I know this may be hard for you to believe ---but a refrigerator fell on me!’
"The Gatekeeper said, ‘You come on in; you are welcome here!’ The next guy said, ‘O Gatekeeper, I heard what that man said and I realize what a terrible mistake I made! You see I came home. . .There was this cigar butt. . . .I looked everywhere. . . . in the bedroom. . . . in the bathroom. . . . in the pantry. . . . I saw this man running. I grabbed the refrigerator and . . . . Oh my, I made a big mistake and I don’t deserve to be here!’ The Gatekeeper said, ‘This is the place for repentant people. Come on in; you are welcome here.’
"The third guy standing in line said, ‘Gatekeeper, I don’t know why I’m here, either. You see I was sitting in this refrigerator. . . .’"
Danny points out that this is a wonderfully absurd story, but what makes it so powerful is its surprise, its unpredictable ending.
Throughout his book Danny encourages his readers to look for similar events and circumstances in their lives, situations that took an unpredictable turn, so they can find funny experiences to share with others. His point is that the absurd stuff, the off-the-wall moments of surprise in our lives, provide a needed rhythm and relief and release from serious living. Such "gifts of humor" can inject a little welcome fun into the situations that we have to face.
I heartily agree. Next time I want to share with you Danny’s story about "the Commode Man." You’ll love it!