Alan Clark

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. James Gregory, a comedian from the Atlanta area dubbed “The Funniest Man in America.”

He particularly enjoys expounding on the most common things he witnesses as he travels all over the South and, indeed, the world. For instance, one of his famous gags is about a sign on a local shop in town.

“Lawn mower repair and income tax service,” he points out. “Lord knows we’ve been needing something like that, because how many times have we taken our lawn mower in to get it fixed, and while we were there said to ourselves, ‘I’d like to get my taxes done while I’m waiting.’”

Such a sign exists in Tullahoma, where a local car wash also advertises itself as an income tax service. You could get your car washed and receive a refund at the same time.

Or, Gregory might point to familiar warnings on products like the one on a can of Foamy Shave Cream: “Do not use near open flame.”

“Do you know what that means?” he asks. “Sometime in the past, some nut has said to his wife, ‘Honey, I think I’ll go sit in the fireplace to shave.’”

Gregory is on target here. The fact that such a ridiculous warning even appears on these products does, in fact, probably mean that someone has done something stupid in the past and sues the company for millions, thus creating the obvious warnings. Preparation H may be a good example.

“Preparation H is not an impulse purchase,” Gregory notes. “If you go to the store for Preparation H, you have a problem.”

But on every tube of Preparation H there is a warning that says “For External Use Only.”

 “You know what this means?” he says. “Sometime in the past, some nut has said to himself, ‘I wonder how this would taste on crackers?’”

“It could be a law, I don’t know.”

I saw a sign in a quick-stop market just recently that Gregory would love. You know, one of those places where you go to fill up on gas and step inside to pick up a beverage or maybe a newspaper and a lottery ticket. This particular one in Estill Springs stood out.

Now, we are all familiar with the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” warning on the doors of these places, as well as restaurants. Heck, even Kenny Chesney popularized the concept with his song, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.”

But the sign I saw said, in bold black letters on a white sheet of paper taped to the door, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Pants, No Service.”

I can just hear Gregory now, with a deer in the headlights look, asking, “Do you know what these people are telling us? Sometime in the past, some nut went into this store in his underwear, paid for gas and bought a lottery ticket!”

I do not know if Gregory has ever appeared here, but he has in nearby McMinnville, which was the last time I saw him in person. He was as funny then as I am sure he is now, and if Mr. Gregory ever runs out of material for his show, I suggest he visit us here in Franklin County.

Alan Clark has a signed photo of James Gregory, calling him “My Number One Fan.” His editorials often smack with the same down-home humor of The Funniest Man in America, always with tongue firmly planted in cheek.