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Monday, June 26, 2017

June 27 is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links and a selection of (non-PC) jokes

Helen Keller (wiki). in addition to being an inspiration for millions (is there a better example of the overcoming of adversity in recent history?) was also the inspiration for a lot of jokes, mostly one-liners. These are wildly non-PC today, but a few decades ago they were quite popular. The jokes are at the bottom of the post, but first some quotes:

The mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew than that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, joy, set it free!

~ Helen Keller (The Story of My Life, Ch. 4)

The hands of those I meet are dumbly eloquent to me. The touch of some hands is an impertinence. I have met people so empty of joy, that when I clasped their frosty finger-tips, it seemed to me as if I were shaking hands with a northeast storm. Others there are whose hands have sunbeams in them, so that their grasp warms my heart.

~ Ibid., Ch. 23

Helen Keller and Mark Twain
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

~ Ibid., Ch. 22

I am charmed with your book - enchanted. You are a wonderful creature, the most wonderful in the world - you and your other half together - Miss Sullivan, I mean, for it took the pair of you to make a complete and perfect whole.

~ Mark Twain (letter to Helen Keller, 17 March 1903)

Of late our periodicals have been filled with depressing revelations of great social evils. Querulous critics have pointed to every flaw in our civic structure. We have listened long enough to the pessimists. You once told me you were a pessimist, Mr. Clemens, but great men are usually mistaken about themselves. You are an optimist.*

~ Helen Keller, (letter to Mark Twain - read the whole thing, via Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1)

June 27 is the anniversary of the birth in 1880 of American writer, lecturer, and humanitarian Helen Adams Keller (wiki) (1880-1968), who was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months. Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Keller was deprived of her sight and hearing by a childhood disease, but her private tutor, Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) - through a series of innovative teaching methods - gradually taught her to understand and communicate with others. 

Keller became a world-famous advocate for the blind and disabled, and in addition to The Story of My Life (1903), wrote Midstream, My Later Life in 1929 and lectured on the issues of blindness all over the world. Helen Keller seems to be fading from public memory, but the dramatization of her early teaching by Anne Sullivan in William Gibson's play, The Miracle Worker (1960), is still regularly performed, and the film version, starring Anne Bancroft as Sullivan and a young Patty Duke as Keller, is available. 

*Much more on the friendship between Helen Keller and Mark Twain at Open Culture.

Here's a video of Helen Keller visiting Martha Graham's dance studio - I'm not sure of the date on this:

Jokes after the jump. If you're offended by this kind of stuff, don't read it.

Did you know that Helen Keller had a dollhouse in the backyard? Neither did she.

How did Helen Keller burn her ear off? Answering the iron.

How did she burn the other one off? They called back.

What is Helen Keller's favorite color? Velcro.

How did Helen Keller drive herself crazy? Trying to read a stucco wall.

Why can't Helen Keller drive a car? Shes a woman.

How did Helen Keller break her arm while in the car? Trying to read a stop sign going 80.

Whats the name of Helen Keller's favorite book? Around the Block in 80 Days.

What do you call a tennis match between Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder? Endless love.

How did Helen Keller drive her car? One hand on the wheel, the other on the road.

How did Helen Keller meet her husband? On a blind date.

How did Helen Keller pierce her ear? Answering the stapler.

How did Helen Keller's teachers punish her for talking in class? They made her wear mittens.

Why didn't Helen Keller change her baby's diaper? So she could always find him.

How did Helen Keller pick her eyes out? She shouted hysterically.

Have you seen a picture of Helen Keller's dad? Neither has she.

How do you tell if Helen Keller is alive? If you hear something fall down the stairs.

Why does Helen Keller play the piano with one hand? Because she sings with the other.

Why did Helen Keller's last relationship not work? Her boyfriend complained about how she never listened to his problems.

Why is it okay to tell Helen Keller jokes? Because she can't hear them anyway!

What is Helen Keller's favorite color? Black.

Remember the Helen Keller doll? You'd wind her up and watch her walk into walls.

What was the worst day in Helen Keller's life? The day she burned her mouth, and couldnt taste anything, either.

How did Helen Keller drive a car? With one hand on the wheel, and one hand on the road.

What did Helen Keller name her dog? Nymphdrumpherlmf.

How did Helen Keller's parents punish her? By walking on her Braille books with golf shoes.

Why does Helen Keller have holes in her face? She tried eating with a fork.

Why did Helen Keller's dog kill itself? You would too if your name was sajifjlsisdjifiuopoo.

How did Helen Keller's parents punish her? They stuck a plunger in the toilet.

If Helen Keller fell down in the woods, would she make a sound?

What did Helen Keller's room look like? She didnt know either.

What was Helen Keller's favorite childhood game? Musical Chairs.

If Helen Keller were psychic, would she call it a fourth sense?

What did Helen Keller say to the shop assistant when she knocked over a product-display in the store? Just looking.

Why couldnt Helen Keller play on her high school football team? Because shes a girl.

Why was Helen Keller's leg yellow? Her dog was blind too.

What did Helen Keller's parents do to punish her for swearing? Washed her hands with soap.

How did Helen Keller burn her hands? She was trying to read a waffle iron.

What did Helen Keller do when she fell down the well? She screamed and screamed until her hands turned blue.

How do you get Helen Keller to keep a secret? Break her fingers.

Why did Helen Keller cross the road? What, like she knows where she's going!

Whats this (slowly waving fingers)? Helen Keller moaning


  1. How could someone who advocated for the deaths of disabled people be described as an "advocate" for them?

    She called doctors "juries for defective babies" and considered allowing "defectives" a "weeding of the human garden that shows a sincere love of true life.”

    She was a despicable human being. The whitewashing of history does not change her virulent eugenics support.

    1. The second sentence should read, "She called doctors "juries for defective babies" and considered allowing "defectives" TO DIE a "weeding of the human garden that shows a sincere love of true life.”

    2. I am not convinced that Helen Keller ever "said" anything meaningful. Anne Sullivan wrote everything Keller is reported as thinking.

  2. Corduroy is a funnier favorite Helen Keller color.