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Thursday November 20th



The Blackpool comedian Eddie Gray was a great practical joker. He once began talking into a letter box in the street. When a crowd had gathered, he called into the letterbox in a loud voice. “Well how the hell did you get in there in the first place?” When the police turned up, he just sidled off leaving the police and the crowd shouting in to an empty letter box. On another occasion he found himself in London and at a loose end. Clutching a length of rope, he walked up to a suited gentleman and explained that he was an architect and would the gentleman please help him by holding the end of this rope. He explained that he was going to nip around the corner of the building and when he pulled on the rope, it would be most helpful if the gentleman could pull on his end as hard as possible. Eddie disappeared around the corner and spun the exact same story to another similarly clad gentleman. He then crossed the road and watched the two strangers straining and pulling their guts out on each end of his rope.


Many years ago Alan Jackson now with radio Merseyside used to host the Mannin Line on Manx radio. I have never believed in the flying saucer theories, and one day decided to prove it. I called the Mannin Line and explained that I had seen a flying saucer the previous night out at Derbyhaven. I kept to the standard descriptions, cigar shaped, and with flashing orange lights. Alan of course showed great interest, and before long quite a number of callers were calling in to say they had seen it as well. Right near the end of the programme some sod from Ballasalla called in and said, “Now just howld a minute yessir. That guy who first phoned in about this flying saucer lark, sounded very much like Tom Glassey from Castletown to me, and he is as blind as a bat!”


Sometimes I think life itself is one big practical joke. I am not sure who is laughing loudest or indeed who has the last laugh. However, there is usually a funny side to everything. Sometimes it can take a long time to find it and sometimes we might not find it at all. I have spent most of my life laughing. Yes for sure, the laughter stopped for a while last January when I was told I had terminal cancer, but now some 8 or 9 months on, the tears have turned back to laughter once again. I thought my laughing days were over, but I was wrong again. It’s difficult to laugh at cancer. However, every time you manage a smile or a laugh, you do serious damage to its armour. No, you can’t simply laugh your way out of cancer. However, laughter is the best medicine and cancer doesn’t like it. With love and laughter we can conquer all evil, if we only had enough of it!


This is Tom Glassey, still laughing on the banks of the Silverburn River.


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