Tell Me a Joke

November 3, 2010 | By | 10 Replies More

Sunday evening I was at a Halloween party, just milling around. Suddenly a tall twenty-something blond in a little black dress appeared in front of me, eagerly brandished a bag of candy, looked directly into my eyes, smiled shyly, and said, “Tell me a joke.”


I draw a blank. In casual conversation , I am usually full of amusing allusions, anecdotes, word play, and allegory. But I stare helplessly at this vision with her eager smile, silent. I can’t think of a thing to say. She stands there waiting.

Anyone who has been through college knows about test freeze. You have the answers somewhere in your head, but an impenetrable  glacial wall prevents you from getting to them. It was much like that. My mind was a-whorl and adrift. I know that I know a few thousand jokes. Too many of them unusable for a variety of reasons, mostly obsolescence. But I cannot come up with anything.

Then another young woman comes up behind me and offers answers. She starts in with a series of blond jokes! Oy, I think, vay. This isn’t helping. I mutter something like, “Catch me later,” and wander off.

Now in retrospect, I ask myself, “Where are my jokes?” I never have been an adept social animal. But I have read dozens of joke books, and scholarly articles on humor. But my lifestyle may also cripple me. I am not agoraphobic, but I don’t often meet people in conversational settings. I work from home, communicating primarily by email. I field few phone calls; spending maybe a half hour of phone time a week. Face time? Aside from my wife, I usually go for a week at a time without conversing beyond pleasantries. This is far from the typical office or factory setting where one interrupts conversations to get occasional hours of work in, or where one can converse while working.

Most of the joke books I have predate color television. Jokes about FDR or LBJ don’t play well any more. Those jokes that I can use are pretty long. Too long to use as a glib response to, “Tell me a joke.”

I also haven’t watched television or listened to talk radio for a couple of months, so I have no idea what currently is passing for¬† humor. But enough about my infirmities.

Tell me a joke that I can collect in a repertoire, in case I get another such opportunity.


Category: Communication, Humor, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (10)

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  1. Joe The Juggler says:

    What kind? Original? Adult? Tasteful or otherwise?

    I'm a great fan of the pun, which of course makes me a social pariah.

    My all-time favorite is a Tom Swifty:

    "I'm honestly not sure how I feel about gay necrophilia, " said Frank half in dead Ernest.

    Another one I like: I was riding my motorcycle with my girlfriend Ruth. I hit a pothole, but I went on Ruthlessly.

  2. Joe The Juggler says:

    Then there are much longer jokes that depend a bit more on delivery. I think of them more as performance pieces. They don't work well in print like this. For example:

    A friend of mine used to be assistant manager of the produce section at the grocery store. One day a customer approached him and asked if he could possibly buy half a head of lettuce.

    "I live alone," he said, "and I can never finish a whole head before it goes bad. It would save me some money if you could let me buy half a head."

    He tried really hard to get the guy to just buy the entire head, pointing out that it only costs 89 cents or whatever. Finally he told the guy he'd have to talk to the manager.

    He walked back to the manager's office, unaware that the customer followed him. As he approached the boss, he said, "Some asshole out here wants to buy half a head of lettuce!"

    Instantly he could tell by the boss's facial expression that the customer was right behind him. Thinking very quickly, he turned and continued, "And this gentleman has kindly offered to buy the other half."

    After the satisfied customer was gone, the boss told him that he really liked the way he could think on his feet like that. As a reward, he wanted to make him the manager of the produce section at their newest store–in Canada.

    "Canada?!" my friend said. "Nobody lives there but hockey players and whores!"

    "My wife is from Canada!" said the boss.

    "Oh really?" my friend quickly responded. "What team does she play for?"

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    A joke I heard several times this Halloween:

    Q: What did the farmer say when he couldn't find his tractor?

    A: Hey, where's my tractor?

  4. Joe The Juggler says:

    Speaking of farmers. . .

    A buddy of mine was a farmer. Last year his wife left him. She ran off with another farmer. She left a note telling him she was leaving and that she was taking his favorite tractor.

    It was a John Deere letter.

  5. Ben says:

    Blonde: Tell me a joke!

    Dan: I have a really funny knock-knock joke for you. Say 'knock-knock'.

    Blonde: Okay! "Knock-knock"

    Dan: "Who's There?"

    Blonde: Um… me?

    (Group laughter)

  6. Karl says:

    Along the lines of tractor jokes. A farmer placed an ad stating: Wife wanted, must be able assist with farm duties, please send picture of tractor.

  7. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Conversation between two hookers:

    Hooker 1: "Eeeewwwwhhh!!!!, Why do you LIKE doing lepers?? That's just NASTY!!"

    Hooker 2: "Honey, lepers are the BEST.. especially when they leave me the tip!"

  8. Okay, this is my current favorite joke.

    A pair of leprechauns appeared suddenly on the desk of the Mother Superior of the largest convent in Ireland. At first, she is startled, but one of the leprechauns pats the air and says,

    "Sorry t'bother ye, Mother Superior, and please forgive the manner of our comin', but we have an urgent question needs resolvin'—"

    "You have an urgent question," the other one says, "I already told you what you did."

    "Shut up! Now, Mother, this is where all the records are kept for all the convents all over the world, is it not?"

    Recovering a bit, Mother Superior allows that it is.

    "Excellent! Then I'd like t'know—how many leprechaun nuns d'ye have in Ireland?"

    "Why, none."

    "Told you," the other leprechaun says.

    "I said shut up! What about in all of Europe?"

    "I'm afraid there aren't any there, either," Mother Superior says, "but you see—"

    "What about throughout the world? Surely there must be a few out of whole planet of nuns!"

    "I told you you shouldn't have asked," the other leprechaun says.

    "And I told you to shut your yap! Mother Superior?"

    "I'm afraid," she says, "that we have no leprechaun nuns anywhere and never have had. Why do you ask?"

    The first leprechaun is turning red. The other one starts to laugh and jabs him with a finger and says:

    "I told ye you fucked a penguin!"

  9. Jim says:

    For a good recent joke book, try Garrison Keilor's Pretty Good Joke Book. But lots of good jokes are the old ones.

  10. Tim Hogan says:

    I'm so going to burn in hell for laughing so damn much at the penguin joke! Snort!

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