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Bridge Over Troubled Waters

There were two old geezers living in the backwoods of the Ozarks: Rufus and Clarence.

They lived on opposite sides of the river and they hated each other.  Every morning, just after sunup, Rufus and Clarence would go down to their respective sides of the river and yell at each other.

"Rufus!" Clarence would shout, "You better thank your lucky stars that I can't swim, er I'd swim this river and whup you!"

"Clarence!" Rufus would holler back, "You better thank YOUR lucky stars that I can't swim, er I'd swim this river and whup YOU!"

Every morning.  Every day.  For 20 years.

One day the Army Corps of Engineers came along and built a bridge.  But the insults went on every morning.  Every day.  Another five years.

Finally, Mr.  Rufus' wife had had enough.  "Rufus!" she squallered one day, "I can't take no more!  Every day for 25 years you've been threatenin' to whup Clarence.  Well, thar's the bridge!  Have at it!"

Rufus thought for a moment.  Chewed his bottom lip for another moment.

"Woman!" he declared, snapping his suspenders into place.  "I'm gonna whup Clarence!"

He walked out the door, down to the river, along the riverbank, came to the bridge, stepped up onto the bridge, walked about halfway over the bridge, then turned tail and ran screaming back to the house, slammed the door, bolted the windows, grabbed the shotgun and dove under the bed.

"Rufus!" cried the missus.  "I thought you was gonna whup Clarence!"

"I was, woman, I was!" he whispered.

"What in tarnation is the matter?"

"Well," whispered the terror-stricken Rufus, "I walked halfway over the bridge and saw a sign that said 'Clearance, 13 feet, 6 inches.' He ain't never looked that big from the other side of the river!"

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