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Old 13 December 2007, 09:00 PM
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Icon402 FDR: “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

It has been said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was tired of the typical small talk and flattery he received when meeting with adoring guests at various White House receptions. FDR was certain that guests really weren’t listening to what he had to say, so at one particular event President Roosevelt decided he would make the exact same comment to each guest to see if, in fact, they were listening. As the guests arrived and shook the President’s hand he smiled politely and said in jovial tones, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

As Roosevelt expected, the guests simply gushed and paid the President a compliment and move along. It’s easy to think that President Roosevelt found the interchange both amusing and ultimately a bit sad. As the last of the guests were coming through a foreign diplomat shook Roosevelt’s hand and heard the President say, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The diplomat stopped for a moment and replied, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.”
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Old 13 December 2007, 09:11 PM
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That seems highly unlikely. I think most people, upon meeting the president, would be hanging on every word.

ETA: Maybe not the current president, if the word was Nookoolar.
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Old 13 December 2007, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simply Madeline View Post
That seems highly unlikely. I think most people, upon meeting the president, would be hanging on every word.

ETA: Maybe not the current president, if the word was Nookoolar.
Maybe a president would do this to a few guests as an inside joke maybe, but never to a foreign diplomat.
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Old 14 December 2007, 01:25 AM
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From W. Orton Tewson's column "An Attic Salt-Shaker," The Washington Post, 13 October 1929; Pg. SM15,

Quote:
Then [Arthur Guiterman, the poet] told us this story:

A certain naughty man made a bet with another naughty man that he could say anything he liked to his hostess at a reception both were attending and "get away with it." When it came to his turn to be presented he said:

"I murdered my wife this morning."

With a gracious smile the hostess murmured:

"How charming of you!"
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Old 14 December 2007, 01:30 AM
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What a naughty man!

(eta) If you were shaking hands with the President of the USA, or being greeted by the Queen, or equivalent, and rather than the usual inanities, they said "I murdered my grandmother this morning" to you, what would you do? I can't say, myself. I might indicate that I'd not heard properly, first. If they repeated it, I can't think of anything to say other than "Oh!".

Surely very few people would cause a scene? If they'd really murdered their grandmother this morning you'd already have heard, I assume, or if not, it would come out later when everybody was talking to each other and saying "Did she really say she'd murdered her grandmother? Is that true? What's going on?"

I don't know about the President, but for British royalty in this situation the greeting is usually a line-up or a one-on-one formal meeting in front of an audience. If it was a "social" situation, then perhaps I'd react differently. ("How do you mean, your Majesty?") That's not the point of the story though.

Last edited by Richard W; 14 December 2007 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 14 December 2007, 02:11 AM
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What's amusing about the version snopes presents is the thought that the grandmother of the President of the Untied States "had it coming to her."

A version of this tale, still featuring FDR, from the 1950s has a banker proclaiming "[s]he certainly had it coming," no doubt then a subtle political jab. (Rodney Dale reproduces nearly verbatim that which appeared in Reader's Digest in 1954.)

Me, I think someone tacked on an extra punchline to an existing anecdote about "naughty" behavior. (Perhaps the anecdote was also modified specifically so as to place FDR as the protagonist.)

-- Bonnie
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