Friday, August 15, 2014

Lying for a living: Paul Harvey, Snopes, sermons, studs... and the semiotics of waking up in hell

I have great childhood  memories of  sitting with my grandpa on the couch (see pic of my brother and I at his farmhouse)  either watching The Tonight Show (..with Johnny Carson, of course) or listening to Paul Harvey on the radio ("Page two," anybody?).

Little did I know that years later, as a pastor, I would be plundering Paul Harvey books for sermon illustrations.

I'm still a pastor type..though I've given up sermons.  It turns out that many of Paul Harvey's classic stories  (as well as i preach=lie for a living" )
my grandpa's) were urban myths (No Snopes yet);  You know how
many "preacher stories" told as true stories are not true!It's partly another  well-meaning Paul's fault : Paul  Lee Tan.   (See  i preach=lie for a living" )  Anyway, one PH "rest of the story" story ...even if not true...always stuck with me.  No one could tell it like Paul Harvey:

The Kilgore, Texas, News-Herald reports to our For What It’s Worth Department … Motorist removed unconscious from his wrecked car and carried to a nearby gas station. Then he came to. Opened his eyes and began to struggle violently. Eventually he was subdued and removed to a hospital. Asked later why he had struggled to get away from his rescuers – he explained. They’d taken him to a SHELL station. And somebody was standing in front of the “S"  link

In a way, I think that anecdote may have inspired my now famous (oops, infamous), collection of funny signs.  Note that several of them are a version of the missing letter (or burned out letter on the sign: HO--- DEPOT" etc) theme.

Like this cheesy one...

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