It’s been quiet on my blog for a while, so I’ll fill in some space with my favorite jokes, and you can decide whether or not I am worth reading again in the future, or, if you know me personally, whether or not you actually want to speak to me again.
I like jokes that set the listener up for something and then fail to deliver. My favorite:
What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
How easy is that? It’s not necessarily laugh out-loud funny, but I like the set up and ease of delivery. In the same vein:
Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?
They taste funny.
And a light-bulb joke I learned from Cheers:
How many Surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
Oh, so dry. They’re all fine examples of the ironic, post-modern wit that I find myself drawn to. I understand if they’re not your cup of tea.
Don’t get me wrong. With the exception of not finding flatulence jokes funny, I find humor in most dumb comedies. Whenever I see Will Ferrell, I begin to snicker. His very presence is enough to get me to start laughing. I laugh at pratfalls and broad humor, but twists and failed expectations are bits that I relish. I may not laugh out loud at them, but I feel satisfied being in on the joke. Of course, I think, a stick! They taste funny! Fish! It all makes sense in a devious way, but we were set up for something different.
Which leads me to my all time favorite joke, the White Elephant. There are a lot of variations to this one, but this is how I first heard it (from my father, no less). By the way, before you read, there are no white elephants in this particular version, but it is still a White Elephant joke:
A son graduates from high school as a Valedictorian of his class. His father is extremely proud of him, and offers to get him a graduation gift that he’ll never forget.
The father says, “Son, you were Valedictorian, you were top in track, and you’ve earned a four-year scholarship to Yale. I am so proud. What can I get you for your graduation? A car? Top of the line computer system? What? Anything you want.”
The son considers this for a bit, and says, “Dad. Thank you. What I really want is a truck full of ping pong balls.”
“What?” the father asks.
“Yeah, Dad. You said anything. And what I want is a truck full of ping pong balls.”
The father doesn’t know what to make of this, but a promise is a promise, so he gets his son a truck full of ping pong balls. Four years later, the son is graduating Magna cum Laude at Yale and has signed up for Harvard Medical School. Again, his father couldn’t be more proud, and tells his son, “Son, I want to get you anything you want. New car. Down payment on a new house. A boat. Anything. What do you want?”
“Well, Dad. I’ve been thinking about this, and I want a truck full of ping pong balls.”
“Again?” his father screams. “What do you…? Okay. Okay. I said anything you want, and you want a truck full of ping pong balls again. Why mess with success?” So the father gets him another truck full of ping pong balls.
The son does his internship at a very prestigious hospital and opens his new practice. He serves his patience with care and quality. He becomes an asset to his neighborhood and is written about in the local paper. His father beams with pride whenever he talks about his hard-working, compassionate son. Again, the father offers to buy his son anything he wants, this time for his thirtieth birthday. When his son asks him once again to buy him a truck full of ping pong balls, the father sighs, but makes no complaints.
One day, the father and son are out walking around his son’s quiet suburban neighborhood when they hear the screech of a car braking right behind them. In a split second, the out-of-control car hops the curb and hits the son, hurtling him thirty feet in the air. The father, unscratched, rushes to his son’s side, and can tell he is very injured. The son is bleeding from his mouth and is pale and shivering. “Dad,” he says weakly, “I’m sorry.”
The father has tears streaming down his face. “Hang on, son. Hang on. Help is on the way,” he says.
“No, Dad. I’m not going to make it.”
Weird thoughts pop up in times of stress, and the father can’t think of anything else right now but one question. “Son, I don’t know why, but I have to ask you. What was with those trucks full of ping pong balls?”
The son smiles weakly and says, “It’s okay, Dad. I’ll tell you. The ping pong balls were for… urk!” And his tongue rolls out, his eyes cross, and he dies.
And that, my friends, is my favorite joke of all time.