"Do you know why a cow wears a bell? Because her horns don't work."
"This firefighter had twins. He named one José and the other, Hose B."
And then the jokes came so quickly I'll have to paraphrase: How do Chinese parents name their children? They throw silverware up in the air, and when it lands, it makes sounds—chung, ching, wang, wong.
I'm riding the subway, and there's a young guy sitting across from me with blue, red and yellow hair. I'm looking at him, and he says, "What? You've never done anything wild?" I tell him, "Twenty years ago, I had sex with a parrot. I thought you were my son."
"I like to soak up the presence of successful people," McFarland said.
McFarland has been a pastor for 25 years, has five children, cares deeply about Third World poverty and never thought much about his own finances, he said.
Phil Town changed that. Following that stock-market investor's midmorning presentation, the pastor walked to a table, filled out paperwork and signed up—no commitment, he said—to attend a follow-up class.
"There's more in the scriptures about finances than about heaven and hell," McFarland said.
Ophelia Robles was also pumped up about the investing class. The Upland-based realtor leapt out of her seat in the first row of the regular Pond stands, hurrying to reach the nearby sign-up table.
"I just wanted to be the first," she said later.
Instead, the black-leather-jacket-clad Robles caught her three-and-a-half-inch high heels on the top of the Pond boards—like Sergei Fedorov catching a skate during a late line change. Robles tumbled to the carpet, and her cell phone went flying. She got right up and raced to the table.
"I was very excited," Robles said. "And motivated."