...Dolichos stepped over and whisked the blindfold away from Phaseolus’ head, and there was his surprise:

Twelve dinner guests
seated around the table
for a surprise anniversary party!



Editor’s note: I suppose a word of explanation is in order here.

Perhaps you may be puzzled to find this crude humor — splendid, yet crude nonetheless — on my otherwise refined and dignified web site! Without a doubt, I have received more email about this page than any other page on my site, maybe even more than all the other pages combined! Comments have ranged from “That was so funny it had me on the floor” to “That is the most juvenile and disgusting thing I have ever read.”

Well, there is a good reason I have included this as a part of Ethereal Esoterica.

I have an uncle living in Virginia who, over 25 years ago, suffered a staggering health disaster. He had such a violent heart attack that his heart literally exploded, leaving behind something like a fourth of the original organ. He was, of course, hospitalized, but with little hope of recovery according to the doctors.

I, 3000 miles away on the other side of the United States, could not be there to visit him in the hospital but wanted to do something for him. So I did the next best thing I could: I sent him a care package with all sorts of goodies — things to draw and color ... cartoons ... humorous newspaper clippings ... stories ... and an early version of “The Gastronomical Bean Story” that I had quickly typed out from a joke someone had told me with a similar story and punch line.

My aunt called to let me know the package had arrived and that he loved all of it. “But Charles ... the thing he loved the most was that bean story! He has never laughed so hard at anything in his life! That darn STORY nearly did him in; never mind the heart attack!” She went on to tell about how much better he was doing and credited that amazing rebound in large part to people cheering him up and lifting his spirits.

My uncle eventually made a miraculous and unexpected recovery and lived for more than 20 years after that horrific heart attack. Considering what happened to him he was lucky to be survive at all, never mind that he was been able to enjoy an active life for two more decades after that.

I had already believed in the healing power of laughter, and this anecdote just made me all that much more certain of it! I am convinced that the flood of joy, happiness and laughter that many people — not just me — were moved to bring to my uncle helped heal him and return him to a full life. There really was not much that doctors or medicine could do for him. The damage was too great. Yet ... he did receive a miraculous healing. Yes, this healing did, of course, come from “a higher power” — certainly none of us mere mortals could take credit for it — but my point is that I believe God used HUMOR as a healing balm for my uncle and helped bring him back from near-death to resume a full and active life.

So ... while you may find this story tasteless and juvenile, there may be someone lying in a hospital bed who could use a laugh or two. Print the bean story out; provide your own sound effects at the appropriate moment (maybe have a bowl or two of beans beforehand...!) and take this to your infirmed friend or loved one. I guarantee you they will enjoy the story and be glad you brought a few laughs to them. If you do do this, please write and let me know about it. It will make me very happy to know that I have made someone else laugh and maybe feel a little better at a dark time in their life.

With warm wishes and jolly laughs,

Charles Richard Lester

Footnote: My uncle died in the summer of 2000, not from his heart condition but other health issues. He was an amazing man and is dearly missed.

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- Here's a "kinder, gentler" video version of the same basic story -
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