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Perspective Illustrations

  • lucy m montgomeryThere is a family nobody likes to meet,
    They live, it is said, on Complaining Street.
    In the city of Never-Are Satisfied,
    The River of Discontent beside.

    They growl at that, and they growl at this;
    Whatever comes there is something amiss;
    And whether their station be high or humble,
    They are known by the name of Grumble.

  • paper penRobert and Peter had applied for jobs at a large company and had to take an intelligence test as part of the application process. Though both of them found the test a breeze, they also both admitted to being momentarily stumped by the final question: "Name a 14 letter word for someone in charge of a plant."

    "How did you answer that last one?" asked Robert. "I thought it was tough at first... then I thought of Superintendent."

    "I think I got it right too," Pete said. "But I wrote down Horticulturist."

  • professorOne of my students could not take my college seminar final exam because of a funeral. "No problem," I told him. "Make it up the following week."

    That week came, and again he couldn't take the test due to another funeral.

    "You'll have to take the test early next week," I insisted. "I can't keep postponing it."

    "I'll take the test next week if no one dies," he told me.

    By now I was suspicious. "How can you have so many people you know pass away in three weeks?" I asked.

    "I don't know any of these people," he said. "I'm the only gravedigger in town."

  • sky raysThis is the beginning of a new day.

    You have been given

    this day to use as you will.

    You can waste it or use it for good.

    What you do today is important

    because you are exchanging

    a day of your life for it.

    When tomorrow comes,

    this day will be gone forever;

    in its place is something that

    you have left behind...

    let it be something good.

    - Author unknown

  • Movie theater etiquette.While watching a movie recently, I couldn't hear the dialogue over the chatter of the two women sitting in front of me. Unable to bear it any longer, I tapped one of them on the shoulder.

    "Excuse me," I said, "I can't hear."

    "I should hope not," she replied sharply. "This is a private conversation."

  • hand shakeThere is a special place in life,
    That needs my humble skill,
    A certain job I'm meant to do,
    Which no one else can fulfill.

    The time will be demanding,
    And the pay is not too good
    And yet I wouldn't change it
    for a moment -- even if I could.

  • policeA police officer arrives at the scene of an accident, in which a car smashed into a tree. The cop rushes over to the vehicle and asks the driver, "Are you seriously hurt?"

    "How should I know?" the man answers, "I'm not a lawyer!"

  • passportUnfortunately, getting a new passport required a new photo. As I handed my ten-year-old passport and the new picture to the clerk, I sighed. "I like the original better," I told her.

    "Trust me," she said. "Ten years from now, you'll like this one."

  • Offering hospitality to a strangerOur house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.

    One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my eight-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."

  • train station illustrationEach Friday night I drove my wife to the station for the train to Weimar, CA, so she could visit her sister who was ill. Ten minutes later, my sister arrived by train from Sacramento to manage our household over the weekend. On Sundays, this procedure worked in reverse with my sister departing by train ten minutes before my wife arrived.

    One evening after my sister left and while I awaited my wife's arrival, a porter sauntered over.

    "Mister," he said, "you are sure some man! But one of these days you are goin' to get caught!"

  • store hardwareOn Houston Street, a young priest saw a large sign over a hardware store: PINCUS AND O'TOOLE, and went in, to be greeted by man with a beard and yarmulke.

    The priest smiled, "I just wanted to come in and tell you how wonderful it is to see that your people and mine have become such good friends - even partners. That's a surprise!"

    "I've got a bigger surprise," sighed the old man. "I'm O'Toole."

  • tough motorcyclist illustrationOn the weekend of the biggest motorcycle gathering of the year, I was bar-tending at a club nearby. When the roaring machines pulled up outside, our patrons' eyes swung toward the door and conversation turned into uneasy whispering.

    A group of tough looking bikers walked up to the bar, and one of them asked me where the phone was. I pointed it out, and the silence in the room let everybody overhear what the biker said into the receiver.

    "Hi, Mom. Just want to let you know I'll be home late tonight."

  • military manWhen my best friend James came home on his first Army leave, my little brother asked him what he did in the service.

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders," James replied.

    Walking in town that day, James and I ran into a buddy who also asked him what he did in the Army. James gave the same reply:

    "I do calisthenics, shoot guns and follow orders."

    A while later, we met a former classmate, an attractive woman, and she asked the same question. This time, James said,

    "I'm studying communications, learning foreign languages and traveling around the world."

  • mountain pathBe thankful that you don't already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

    Be thankful when you don't know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

    Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.

    Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.

  • fireplaceWe cannot all be famous 
    or be listed in "Who's Who",
    But every person, great or small,
    has important work to do.

    For seldom do we realize
    the importance of small deeds,
    Or to what degree of greatness
    unnoticed kindness leads.

  • writingHere is a purported-to-be-true story someone found regarding exams at Cambridge University. It seems that during an examination one day, a bright young student popped up and asked the proctor to bring him cakes and ale. The following dialog ensued:

    Proctor: I beg your pardon?

    Student: Sir, I request that you bring me cakes and ale.

  • restaurant meal3Friends and I were chatting over dinner in a restaurant. A man at the next table told his cell-phone caller to hold on. Then he stepped outside to talk.

    When he returned, I said, "That was very thoughtful."

    "I had no choice," he nodded and said to me. "You were making too much noise."

  • prayer3Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
    So I will know my people's plight.

    Free me to pray for others;
    For you are present in every person.

    Help me to take responsibility for my own life;
    So that I can be free at last.

  • doorbellI was accompanying my eight-year-old daughter who was selling cookies door-to-door for the Girl Scouts. After visiting several homes, she commented on the different styles of doorbells: some buzzed, some rang, some warbled. We made a game of guessing what the next bell would sound like.

    At the precise moment she touched the doorbell at one house, the church tower began to chime. She wheeled around with a look of amazement on her face. "Now that's a doorbell!"

  • A joke about a little boy lost in a the women's locker roomA little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women’s locker room.

    When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover.

    The little boy watched in amazement and then asked,

    ‘What’s the matter, haven’t you ever seen a little boy before?’

  • Children ShoppingMy first-grade daughter and her friend both needed new boots as winter approached. Not many days passed before her friend got in the car one morning sporting brand new boots.

    "Beth," I commented, "I see you got new boots. Where did you get them?"

    "At the store," she answered.

    "Which one?" I asked.

    She began looking at her new boots and after a pause said, "Both of them."

  • manA preacher and the president of a soap manufacturing company went for a walk together.

    The president said, "What good is Christianity? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world! Still there, even after years, thousands of years, of teaching about goodness and truth and love and peace. Still there, after all the sermons and teachings. If Christianity is good and true, why should this be?"

  • shoppingChecking out of the grocery store, I noticed that the bag boy was eyeing my two adopted children curiously. They often draw scrutiny, since my son's a blond Russian, while my daughter has shiny black Haitian skin.

    The boy continued staring as he carried our groceries to the car.

    Finally, he asked. "Those your kids?"

    "Yes, they are!" I answered proudly.

    "They adopted?" he asked.

    "Yes," I replied.

    "I thought so," he concluded. "I figured you're too old to have kids that small."

  • sign languageI have worked for many years with the hearing impaired and on a visit to the library, I happened to notice a man and a woman, both deaf, signing with intense gestures, apparently in a heated debate.

    The man said something, and the woman seemed upset. She started signing her reply very fast, to the point where the man couldn't understand a word. That was when she started signing in big, wide gestures.

    Finally, looking strained, her companion took her hands, "silencing" her.

    Then he signed, very small and slowly, "You don't have to shout, I'm not blind."

  • judges gavelAfter a trial had been going on for three days, Harrison, the man accused of committing the crimes, stood up and approached the judge's bench.

    "Your Honor, I would like to change my plea from 'innocent' to 'guilty' of the charges."

    The judge angrily banged his fist on the desk. "If you're guilty, why didn't you say so in the first place and save this court a lot of time and inconvenience?" he demanded.

    Harrison looked up wide-eyed and stated, "Well, when the trial started I thought I was innocent, but that was before I heard all the evidence against me."

  • letterA minister was opening his mail one morning and drawing a single sheet of paper from an envelope he found written on it only one word: "FOOL."

    The next Sunday he announced, "I have known many people who have written letters and forgot to sign their name.

    "But this week I received a letter from someone who signed his name but forgot to write a letter."

  • rice bowlA young man, while bringing flowers to a cemetery, noticed an old Chinese man placing a bowl of rice on a nearby grave. The young man walked up to the Chinese man and asked, "When do you expect your friend to come up and eat the rice?"

    The old Chinese man replied with a smile, "Same time your friend comes up to smell the flowers."

  • bike pumpWaiting for an elevator at a local hospital, I was standing next to a maintenance person holding a bicycle pump.

    Noticing my curious stares, he looked at me and remarked with a smile, "It's the newest HMO oxygen program."

  • drum2There was once a small boy who banged a drum all day and loved every moment of it. He would not be quiet, no matter what anyone else said or did. Various attempts were made to do something about the child.

    One person told the boy that he would if he continued to make so much noise, perforate his eardrums. This reasoning was too advanced for the child, who was neither a scientist nor a scholar.

  • grandma grandkidsLaura and Freddy are cousins, and their grandma is babysitting them for the day.

    Although Freddy's mom is the renowned chef in the family, Laura's mom prepared lunch earlier, including potatoes in the oven. But one fell and got badly burnt. Grandma jumped on the occasion to show the kids how to draw with it on a piece of paper.

    Sad, Freddy observed:

    "My mom would NEVER burn potatoes for me!"

  • On shore leave in Mississippi, 4 officers were surprised.A US Navy cruiser pulled into port in Mississippi for a week's shore leave.

    The first evening, the Captain was more than a little surprised to receive the following letter from the wife of a wealthy plantation owner:

    "Dear Captain, Thursday will be my daughter Melinda's, coming of age party. I would like you to send four well mannered, handsome, unmarried officers. They should arrive at 8:00 p.m. prepared for an evening of polite southern conversation and dance with lovely young ladies. One last point: No, Mexican's. We don't like Mexican's."

  • Danger! Do Not Touch!Our supply clerk at the factory was in a dither. A box had been left on the loading dock with this warning printed on it: "Danger! Do Not Touch!"

    Management was called, and we were told to stay clear of the box until it could be analyzed. When the foreman arrived, he donned safety goggles and gloves, and then he carefully opened the box.

    Inside were 25 signs that read: Danger! Do Not Touch!

  • world mapAt the company water cooler, I bragged about my children's world travels: one son was teaching in Bolivia, another was working in southern Italy, and my daughter was completing a year-long research project in India.

    One co-worker's quip, however, stopped me short. "What is it about you," he asked, "that makes your kids want to get so far away?"

  • newspaper1Ernest Shackleton's recruiting advertisement for his 1912 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition:

    "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success."

    If Shackleton were advertising today:

    "Members wanted for adventure trek. Low cost, cool sights, lots of fun nights, thrills galore, insurance available. Get your picture in 'Outdoor' magazine."

  • restaurant boothMy husband and I had gone to a restaurant with friends. When the hostess led us to a circular booth, we noticed the vinyl seat was covered with crumbs and asked if it could be cleaned off.

    The young woman sat down at one end of the booth, slid around to the other side, then sprang up with a smile as she asked, "Did I get it all?"

  • laundry machinesIt was 6 p.m., and I was about to leave the coin laundry where I was employed. My boss called me over and asked if I would mind dropping off someone's laundry on my way home.

    "It's for my cousin," she apologized, "who's eight months pregnant and can't get out much anymore." I cheerfully agreed and, driving to the address, knocked at the door. A little girl, the sister-to-be, answered.

    "Hi, there," I said with a big smile. "Is your mommy home?" Holding up the white bundle of clothes, I explained, "I have a delivery for her."

    The child's mouth dropped, and her eyes went wide.

    "Mom!" she shrieked. "Come quick! It's the stork!"

  • blind caneI was listening to a lady who called a radio pastor. The pastor was a wise, grandfatherly gentleman who has that calm reassuring voice that can melt all fear. The lady, who was obviously crying, said, "Pastor, I was born blind, and I've been blind all my life. I don't mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed."

  • parachuteA passenger is in a plane enjoying the view of the clouds when a man in a parachute appears at the window. The man says "Would you like to join me?"

    The passenger responds with, "No thanks."

    The man says, "Suit yourself, I'm the pilot."

  • teenagers boysThe two teenagers were arrested for disorderly conduct. The police sergeant told them they were entitled to a phone call. Sometime later a man entered the station and asked for them by name.

    The sergeant said, "I suppose you're the lawyer?"

    "Nope," the chap replied. "I'm just here to deliver their pizza."

  • doctor3A man visited a psychiatrist to talk about his dreams. "Every night," the man said, "I dream that these three hideous monsters are sitting on the edge of my bed, ready to attack me."

    "Hmmm," said the doctor. "I feel sure I can cure you of this problem. But the treatment will cost you somewhere between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars."

    "Thirty thousand dollars!" the man gasped. "Never mind getting rid of the monsters, Doctor. I think I'll go home and try to make friends with them!"

  • arrow drawA salesman is driving down a country road when he sees a young kid in front of a barn. On the barn are 5 targets with arrows in the bull's eye of each target. Screeching to a stop he runs out to the kid amazed that this kid could shoot so well.

    "Son," he says, "how did you hit all those bull's eyes?"

    "Well sir," the boy replied, "I take the arrow and lick my fingers like this, then I take my fingers and straighten the feathers like this, take aim with my hand against my cheek, let go and where ever the arrow hits, I draw a bull's eye."

  • cake eatSometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!

    A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

    "Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers.

    "Yuck," says her daughter.

  • police pull overA speeding motorist was caught by radar from a police helicopter in the sky.

    An officer pulled him over and began to issue a traffic ticket. "How did you know I was speeding?" the frustrated driver asked.

    The police officer pointed somberly toward the sky.

    "You mean," asked the motorist, "that even He is against me?"

  • children playI want to be a kid again. I want to go back to the time when...

    * Decisions were made by going "Eeny-meeny-miney-mo."

    * Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do over!"

    * "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

  • man oldA wealthy old man looked around the table at his two sons and five daughters and their spouses gathered for a family reunion.

    "Not a single grandchild," he said with a sigh.

    "Why, I'll give a million dollars to the first kid who presents me with a little one to bounce on my knee. Now, let's say grace."

    When the old man lifted his eyes again, his wife was the only other person at the table.

  • GratefulnessBilly Brown decided it was time to buy a new house, so he decided to sell his old house and put the matter in a real estate agent's hands.

    The agent wrote up a sales blurb for the house that made wonderful reading.

    After Bill read it, he turned to the agent and asked, "Does my house have everything your ad says it does?"

    The agent said, "It certainly does. Why do you ask?"

    Bill replied, "Cancel the sale. It's exactly what I'm looking for."

  • fire building2Thomas Edison's laboratory was virtually destroyed by fire in December, 1914. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison's life's work went up in spectacular flames that December night.

    At the height of the fire, Edison's 24-year old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind.

  • What a farmer might do if he won 10 million dollars.I saw an interview on TV with an old farmer who won ten million dollars in the lottery.

    Naturally he was asked what he was going do with all that money.

    He scratched his head and said, "Not sure as I know right off. Guess I'll keep farmin' till it's all gone."

  • Helping FamilyMy husband Ronnie volunteered to strip the bricks from the exterior of my parents’ house. One morning he was out front chipping away when a man came by looking for my father.

    "He's not here," Ronnie said.

    The man thanked him, watched him remove a few more bricks, and said, "I'll bet next time they'll leave the key for you."

  • form manServing as a Marine recruiter in western North Carolina, I found a young man who met all the requirements and was ready to enlist. I explained the importance of being truthful in the application, and he began filling out his paperwork.

    But when he got to the question "Do you own any foreign property or have any foreign financial interests?" he looked up at me with a worried expression. "Well," he confessed, "I do own a Toyota."

    We enlisted him the next day.