There’s A Joke For ThatSeptember 19, 2010
I received a joke text from my brother this week. It was in reference to that muppet ‘pastor’ Terry Jones who threatened to set fire to copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of 9/11. I won’t repeat the joke here at the risk of offending, but it made good use of computer terminology like download and burn. Although I was seriously unimpressed by Mr Jones and his ideology, I did laugh at the joke. It was short, with an unexpected double meaning in the punch line, using a popular phrase. It reminded me once again how people can make jokes out of the most awful situations. It set me thinking about the authors of these jokes. Who’s the first person to come up with them, and what makes them good enough to pass around?
It was ever thus. I remember there was one boy on the estate where I grew up, who was known for finding and passing on these jokes. We were convinced he created most of them. He was a fat boy in the days when it was a rarity, before obese children became two a penny in this country, if you believe the papers that is. However, he was one fat boy who was picked on by nobody because he was hard. Whatever the event, as fast as lightning he’d have a joke for it. And it would spread like wildfire. I have to say wildfire in a relative sense, because with t’internet in general and Twitter and Facebook in particular, these jokes can now get to you in seconds rather than days or weeks.
And here’s another thing. Not everyone gets to hear of these jokes, or receive them on their phones. So now I ask the second question: how do you find yourself in this bad joke club? Does it say something about the company you keep? Or are you so hip, you’ll always be in the loop? Just wondering.