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Funny True Stories

Updated on March 10, 2019
James A Watkins profile image

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and author of four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

The Identical Twin Brothers

My Dad has these rich friends who are identical twins, Jerry and Jack. I mean they are so identical that nobody can tell them apart. It is uncanny how much they look alike.

The brothers used to be in the country music business in Nashville. When that was over, they got into construction. Through some personal connections, they ended up building many of the new palaces in Saudi Arabia after the 1970s oil boom.

The brothers got in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service over income taxes from the millions they made in construction in Saudi Arabia. Only Jerry's name was on the paperwork for the business. He was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to a few years in federal prison. But his brother Jack got off scot free.

The sentence was to be served at Eglin Air Force Base Prison Camp. This is like a country club, with swimming pools, tennis courts, and a golf course. It is the kind of place where government officials go when convicted of corruption or high end tax cheats and Wall Street swindlers. It has no fence around it—just a fat yellow line you are not allowed to cross. There are no armed guards. It is on the honor system. But the incentive not to cross that line is strong. If you are caught, you have to go to a real prison with murderers and rapists.

So Jerry gets sent to prison. His brother Jack feels so bad that he agrees to a scheme whereby they will alternate serving the time. Every other month, Jerry sneaks out across the fat yellow line and Jack sneaks in to take his place. Nobody seems the wiser.

Well, it ends up that the boys get to know the warden very well. They find out that the warden is a huge Willie Nelson fan. It just so happens that the boys are best buddies with Willie. Jerry asks the warden how he would like it if he could get Willie Nelson to come and do a free concert at the prison. The warden is thrilled beyond belief. Sure enough, the boys get Willie to come and play for the prisoners for free.

Well, the show is great and the warden gets to spend some quality time with his idol. After it is all over, Jerry goes to see the warden and says, "Warden. I was kind of hoping you might lop some time off my sentence now." The warden looks at Jerry with a steely eye and replies: "Son. One of you is going to have to do the time."

James Watkins
James Watkins
Jim Watkins on the drum kit
Jim Watkins on the drum kit
My band: White Summer
My band: White Summer

What We Know That You Don't Know

I have two brothers, who are younger than me by an average of five years. Once upon a time, when I was about twenty-years-old, one of my brothers joined me and my dad on a 22-hour drive from Michigan to Florida in my dad's customized Ford van.

Now my brother, who shall remain nameless, might have taken some hallucinogenic drug on the way. At least that is what I suspected. He was acting kind of strange.

We left at night, intending to take turns driving and going all the way without stopping to sleep. Sometime after midnight, my brother, who was in the back, suddenly jumped up into the front in between my dad and me in our captain's chairs and yelled, "I want to know what you guys know that I don't know! I want to know what you guys know that you won't tell me!" He jumps back into the rear of the van. But he comes back several times to repeat these same pleadings. Frankly, we have no idea what he is talking about.

It ends up that we all really needed to urinate. It is late and there are no service stations around. We pull off to the side of the interstate to relieve ourselves. My dad and I take up positions in front of the van and get down to business. My brother jumps into a ditch in front of us to do the same. It is pitch black out there, and a strong wind is blowing.

Right then a car comes over the hill and its headlights shine right on us. I look at my brother and he looks at me. We can both see a fine mist of my piss blowing right on him. I say: "Son. Do you want to know what we know that you don't know? Don't stand downwind."

Me in my younger days
Me in my younger days

The Story of the Y-Pipe

I was once the top salesman at the largest volume Buick dealer in the world, Orange Buick in Orlando, Florida. One of the men I sold a new Buick to appeared in our showroom a few years later. He was out of control, screaming at the top of his lungs about what crooks we were (or Buick was).

My boss hurried over and told me to calm the man down, get him into my office and find out what his problem was. I was pretty good at that and I got him to relax and sit down in my office. He explained that he had developed a small hole in his exhaust pipe, up near the manifold that was making a lot of noise. The car was out of warranty.

It so happened that the exhaust pipe was shaped like a "Y" and what he was mad about was that the auto parts stores had told him he had to purchase the whole nine-foot pipe for well over $100. That was real money in 1983. He demanded of me that I find a way for him to only buy the little section of the Y-Pipe with the hole in it.

Well, I knew that the longer I could keep him calm the better things would be. We could not have a big scene in the middle of the showroom of a Buick dealer. This was a very quiet and dignified spaced at the time. So, I got him a sandwich and some coffee and told him that I would go to the parts department and try to solve his dilemma.

When I got to the parts department, there was a long line. So I had to wait. Finally, I got up to the parts clerk. The thing is, I grew up in the auto parts business. My grandfather started an auto parts warehouse in the 1940s that had grown into a huge family business and I had worked there for many years. I KNEW that there was nothing I could do. You cannot split a Y-Pipe. I was just buying time.

At that moment, I didn't want the parts clerk to think I was an idiot, so I said to him, "Joe, some dumb son-of-a-bitch wants to buy half a Y-Pipe." Joe looked strangely over my shoulder. I half turned around and there was my customer! He had gotten impatient and come looking for me. Thinking quickly on my feet, I exclaimed: "And this nice gentleman would like to buy the other half!"


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