Tom Thornhill

Back in the ’70s, I was taking classes at Portland Community College and became great friends with a Computer Programming instructor, Tom Thornhill.

Scranton, Oh

Perhaps you’ve heard that a comic is someone who tells jokes, whereas a comedian is funny, just being himself. Tom is a comedian. He’s very creative and makes me laugh. For example, back then, he started calling me “Scranton”, vs. Stanton, my last name at the time, positing that I came from Scranton, Ohio. “How’s the weather up there in Ohio?”, he was wont to say. Just today he sent me the picture above with the note: “By the way, I saw this shot of Scranton, OH.  Nice!” I’m assuming he’s being sarcastic and implying that I come from a dilapidated neighborhood. So my response was the following:

“Yah. I was born in that building on the left, several years after my mother died (bless her soul), and it was my home for 14 years, till I moved to a log cabin I had helped my father build some 20 years before. ” Tom will recognize that statement to be a rearrangement of one of the first jokes he told me: “I was born in a log cabin I helped my father build, six years after my mother died.” (An impossibility, of course).

Once I went to his apartment for a small party. He asked if I’d like a cup of coffee, and I said, “Sure, thanks!” Approaching me with the cup, he pretended to stumble, implying that I was going to be covered in hot coffee, but he was in control, nothing was spilled and we had a good laugh.

At the same party, the phone rang, Tom picked it up and said, “Just a minute…”. Tom came over to me and said, “It’s for you. Who knows you’re here?” I shrugged my shoulders, picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?”. The voice on the other end of the line said, “Dave, how’s it going man?” Confused, I said, “This isn’t Dave. You must have the wrong number.” I looked up at Tom. He was cracking up. He knew all along that it was a wrong number!

Another time, he and I went out to lunch with Dan, another fellow PCC employee, in Dan’s old pickup, all of us on the one seat. Upon returning, as we pulled back onto the campus, Tom, who was riding shotgun, ducked down so that it would appear to anyone seeing us that Dan and I were sitting a little too close to each other. Hillarity ensued.

Last, but not least, consider the limerick he would recite:

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