At a college with a shady reputation, the new dean responded to investigations into the basketball team by suspending any basketball player who wasn't maintaining a passing average. Furious, the coach came storming into the dean's office, followed by one of his star players.
"You can't keep him from playing!" the coach roared. "We won't win this weekend without him!"
"I don't care," the dean said. "Things have gotten out of hand at this college."
"What do you mean, out of hand?" the coach demanded.
"I'll show you what I mean," the dean said. He turned to the basketball player and said, "Tell me,how much is six times seven?"
The player thought for several seconds. Then he said, "Thirty-one?"
The dean turned to the coach and said, "I rest my case."
"Oh, come on now," the coach said. "Why are you making such a big deal of it? After all, he only missed it by one."
My grandfather worked in a blacksmith shop when he was a boy, and he used to tell me, when I was a little boy myself, how he had toughened himself up so he could stand the rigors of blacksmithing. One story was how he had developed his arm and shoulder muscles. He said he would stand outside behind the house and, with a 5 pound potato sack in each hand, extend his arms straight out to his sides and hold them there as long as he could.
After awhile he tried 10 pound potato sacks, then 50 pound potato sacks and finally he got to where he could lift a 100 pound potato sack in each hand and hold his arms straight out for more than a full minute.
Next, he started putting potatoes in the sacks.
A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for 25 cents each. Every day a young man would leave his office building at lunch time and, as he passed her pretzel stand, he would leave her a quarter, but would never take a pretzel.
This went on for more than five years. The two of them never spoke. One day as the man passed the old ladies pretzel stand and left his quarter as usual, the pretzel woman spoke to him,
"Sir, I appreciate your business. You are a good customer, but I have to tell you that the pretzel price has increased to 35 cents."
The basketball coach stormed into the university president's office and demanded a raise right then and there.
"Please," protested the college president, "you already make more than the entire History Department."
"Yeah, maybe so, but you don't know what I have to put up with," the coach blustered. "Look."
He went out into the hall and grabbed a jock who was jogging down the hallway. "Run over to my office and see if I'm there," he ordered.
Twenty minutes later the jock returned, sweaty and out of breath. "You're not there, sir," he reported.
"Oh, I see what you mean," conceded the president, scratching his head. "I would have phoned."