There’s A Joke For That

September 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.



  1. Nice to see you have recovered from my video nasty Lol.

    • Just about. Keep thinking of butterflies and flowers. Take the nasty video away…

  2. Apparently I live one house past the end of the Grapevine… (under a rock too LOL) Needless to say I’m usually the very last to hear of jokes and usually I find them out when they are “old news”.
    Not that I don’t enjoy them, just that I’m not so much part of the “in crowd” and I don’t have a mobile phone and therefore don’t text. And it doesn’t bother me. Simple as that really.
    I’m trying to learn to Tweet (I must be really technically challenged because I’m actually finding the Twitter site hard to navigate and learn)
    And whilst I’m not the fat boy in the group, I have been known to come out with some pretty pithy and cut like a knife one-liners usually in retaliation to some stupid remark directed to me or anyone I love.(you know the sort, the nasty mean thought wrapped up on the outside to look seemingly “innocent” at first glance.)
    Ohhh Nooo, I “got it” the first time Thanks and I can “give” as good as I get when you mess with me and mine LOL. Touche!
    Himself however does jokes in a completely different way.. simply by weird or silly comments as part of everyday life.
    He asked me if I wanted some more wine once, I said “Yes” …neither of us realised that there was less than a centimeter of wine left in the bottle, (well, Himself did, when he picked up the bottle again)… he poured me HALF (I mean it struggled to cover the bottom of the glass!) I waited patiently for him to keep pouring…
    His reply? “What??? You want ALL of it???!!!!!”
    The he looked at the few teaspoons left in the bottle and we were both giggling like little kids.
    Yes it would sometimes be nice to be “in on the joke” but so often when I finally catch up I’m left wondering where the joke actually is as so much of what does around is complete rubbish.
    Yep, that will be why I’m not in the in-crowd eh? LOL

    • You’re hardcore, Kiwi. Wouldn’t want to mess with you! Himself is a bit of a wag, isn’t he? No wonder you married him.

      You’re learning to Tweet? That’s really cool in my jaundiced eyes. But there again, most people have been on it since God was a boy, so wouldn’t see it as such a big deal. I, on the other hand am suitably impressed. I will put it down to being Officially Old™.

      • LOL, you notice that I said I’m learning to tweet, err there was nothing in there that said I’d actually mastered it. (I was trying to hide the true depths of my computer ignorance for as long as possible here, don’t you go blowing my cover eh? I think I’m officially “old” too btw).
        I’ve given up on it for a now anyway, got a cold and cough that have turned my brain to mush so I’m more interested in trying to sleep in between coughing fits every 3 minutes. Thanks goodness for blog posts on automatic schedule.
        Back to your topic, mastering the art of the pithy retort saved me a lot of grief and bullying at school as I was the arty tall gangly clutzy girl that was less interested in all the “stuff” that the hip crowd were into.
        That said, the bullies had a very good go at first, but I discovered that the wit of some sharp double entrendre delivered with a smile, was very effective indeed.
        Bullying in schools was viewed then, more as a case of ” Go on, learn fast to stand up for yourself” than a social disease that needed tackling at the perpetrator end, and this was the only weapon I mastered.
        “nothingprofound” is right, it’s also a very good survival mechanism, when you are in a position of powerlessness, then words can be a very strong device indeed for retaliation and escape.
        Possibly some of our most creative thinkers, artists and comics were bullied as kids too? As I get older I hear it more and more often and it certainly resonates with my own experience. (but NOT to mean that I count myself as one of the most creative thinkers, artists to comics LOL)
        The survival instinct would certainly apply to stress situations and people who work in them constantly, you’d need an outlet that didn’t result destructing yourself or others around you.

  3. It’s true. Whatever the catastrophe, somebody thinks of something funny to say about it. I suppose it’s all a part of our instinct to survive.

    • I hadn’t thought about that, but you could be right. It’s probably why people working in the most difficult areas like the emergency services and the military have gallows humour, which can be seen as insensitive to those of us who are not in that world. Or those who seek to be offended.

  4. I agree with nothingprofound. Have you ever noticed that when someone, even a friend, gets hurt, you have this horrible urge to laugh? I think that the “insensitive” jokes might be connected to that instinct somehow.

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