June: Turning around, she takes the hand of the kid with the gun and
turns it aside, saying, “You kids don’t mean that. Now get out of
here.” Surprised by her authority, they ran off.
To the element of surprise, this story adds acting with authority. Most
people, when they encounter a person of unquestionable authority,
automatically defer to it. June’s would-be muggers were completely
cowed by her firmness.
Bishop Tutu. Setting: Sometimes humor is the best medicine.
Narrator: The scene is apartheid South Africa. Bishop Desmond Tutu is
walking by a construction site on a temporary sidewalk the width of one
person. Tutu is at the beginning of the sidewalk.
A white man appears at the other end and recognizes Tutu: “So it’s you,
Bishop Tutu. I don’t make way for gorillas.” At which Bishop Tutu
steps aside, makes a sweeping gesture, and says, “Ah, yes, but I do.”
Dick Gregory. Setting: African-American activist and comedian Dick
Gregory tells of the time, shortly after desegregation, that he entered
a formerly all-white restaurant and ordered fried chicken. Just before
he began his meal, three big white men approached him and said, "Nigger,
whatever you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you."
Gregory put down his utensils, picked up the chicken, and kissed it. The
three men backed away immediately.
(Some folks add that the particular part of the chicken he kissed also
had something to do with the situation. Alternative ending: “and kissed its tail”.)
Sanitary Napkins. Setting: Narrator: During the struggle of
Solidarity in Poland, the communist government was no longer able to
supply the most basic necessities. A group dressed in Santa Claus
outfits distributed scarce sanitary napkins to women free as a way of
dramatizing the difficulty of obtaining essentials. (Santas on sidewalk
pass out sanitary napkins to passersby.) “Step right up, get your fresh
clean sanitary napkins right here. Never before used.” The Communist
government, embarrassed, arrests the Santas. (Santas being taken to