[Ads-l] "Only When I Laugh!"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 10 17:04:02 EST 2018

Interesting topic, JL. Excellent citations, SG and JL. Here is an
instance in a Scottish newspaper in December 1939. The anecdote
concerns soldiers of an "earlier generation" fighting in Africa.

Date: December 16, 1939
Newspaper: The Falkirk Herald
Newspaper County: Stirlingshire, Scotland
Article: Courage (Filler Item)
Quote Page 6, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt]
One the grizzled type of real old soldiers was talking to some young
Militiamen. He was endeavouring to impress upon them how tough were
the men of an earlier generation who fought the dusky warriors of
darkest Africa.
. . .
Yes, they were tough! The day came when the British soldiers were
fighting a desperate rearguard action. One of their number was soon
pinned to the ground by an assegai. Does it hurt much, mate?” inquired
his colleagues. "Only when I laughs,” replied the stricken soldier.
[End excerpt]


On Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 4:38 PM Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> This may be the earliest printed ex. in the U.S.:
> 1943 _Midland Journal_ (Rising Sun, Md.) [6]:
>                                              NO EXAGGERATION
> The old man loved to spin a yarn around the general store stove.
> "Well, sir," he was saying this time, "so there I was - pinned to the tree
> by fifteen Injun arrers. And there I stayed for nigh a week."
> "Uh-huh," put in a young fellow, winking at the others, but didn't the
> arrows hurt you?"
> The old man fixed him with a baleful eye. "Nope, son, only when I laughed."
> JL
> On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> > Subject:      Re: "Only When I Laugh!"
> >
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > At 4/12/2013 11:32 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
> > >6 July 1940
> > >...The toughest man I've heard of was a gentleman who had the
> > >misfortune to run into an assegai in the Zulu War.
> > >"does it 'urt much?" asked his mate?
> > >"Only when I laugh," he answered.
> >

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