Just joking!


Every month has “special” days to celebrate, many of them weird and wacky. August is filled with them: National Underwear Day, Work Like A Dog Day, Wiggle Your Toes Day, Tooth Fairy Day, Bad Poetry Day, among them. I’ve decided that August 16 –Tell A Joke Day – works best for me. I have been collecting and telling jokes for as long as I can remember. I only use my A-rated material on special occasions but because it’s Tell A Joke Day and because it’s you, I’ll drag out a couple. If you have a dry sense of humor, I’m sure you will like these. If you’ve heard ‘em before, enjoy them again. If you have no sense of humor, I suggest you watch cable news channels on the 16th.

1. A young junior minister was asked by the county coroner to conduct a grave-side service for a homeless man. The burial was to be held at a county cemetery way out in the boondocks, and he got lost repeatedly on the back roads looking for the cemetery. Running an hour late, he finally spotted a back hoe and a couple of men seated on a mound of earth eating their lunch next to the freshly dug site. Jumping from the car, he hurried forward, profusely apologized for his tardiness, and seeing the concrete vault lid already in place assured the workers he wouldn’t hold them up more than a few minutes more. The workers stood and joined him as he began his eulogy, still eating their sandwiches. But, as he preached, they began to get into the moment themselves, adding “Amen”, “Praise the Lord”, “Glory”, and “Alleluia.” Well, that kind of got the young minister wound up too, and he began to preach like he’d never preached before, from Genesis to Revelations. Finally, bathed in perspiration, he ended the lengthy service with prayer, closed his bible and walked exhausted to his car. Just as he was opening the door and taking off his coat, he overheard one of the workers say: “You know I ain’t never seen anything like that ever before, and I’ve been puttin’ in septic tanks for twenty-five years.”

2. The phone at the hospital reception desk rang. The volunteer answered to hear an elderly lady’s voice ask: “Could you please tell me how one of your patients, Holly Finkle in room 202, is doing? The volunteer replied “hold a moment please,” called up to the nurses station and shortly came back on the line saying: “Well, good news my dear! I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that Holly is doing quite well. Her vital signs all seem to be normal. In fact the doctor says she may be released as early as tomorrow morning. Isn’t that wonderful news?” The elderly lady acknowledged that yes indeed it was. “Are you Holly’s grandmother?” asked the volunteer. “H—- no! I am Holly Finkle! Nobody tells me nothin’ around here!”

3. Herbert and Myron, a couple of not entirely bright entrepeneurs came up with a new money-making idea they called “bungy jumping” and decided to field test it across the border in Mexico. After erecting a tall wooden tower and attaching what they called a bungy cord, they climbed the ladder to the top to test it for the crowd of villagers below. Herbert drew the short straw and made the first jump, down he went and as he catapulted back skyward to the top of the tower, Myron could see that Herbert’s shirt was torn and his arms scratched. Momentum carried him down again to the crowd below, and when he hurtled back to the top of the tower again he had a black eye and his shirt was entirely gone. As he flew past, he screamed: “What’s a piñata?”

4. A heart surgeon walked into the service area just as the mechanic was finishing work on his Jaguar. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked: “So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get $25 bucks an hour, and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?” The surgeon smiled, leaned over, and replied: “Ever tried doing it with the engine running?”

5. One-Liners: My favorite joke writer and stand-up comedian was Henny Youngman whose one-liners were used or stolen by virtually all comedians over the years and still are. Here is just a sampling, many involve doctors and also his loving wife of many years:

Doctor calls a patient and says: “Mrs. Cohen, your check came back.” Mrs. Cohen replies: “So did my arthritis!”

My wife loves a bargain. Yesterday she came home with an escalator marked “down.”

Patient: “I have a ringing in my ears.” Doc: “Don’t answer!”

Patient: I’ve broken my arm in two places. Doc: “Don’t go in those places.”

A homeless man says to a passerby: “Give me $10 till payday?” The passerby replies: “When’s payday?” The homeless man says: “I don’t know! You’re the one that’s working!”

Two drunks are staggering along Fifth Avenue in New York City. One of them veers down the stairs into the subway and then comes up the exit stairs a block later. “Where you been?” said the other drunk. “Down in some guy’s basement. You oughta see his train set!”

Laughter is wonderful medicine. August 16 would be a good day to play doctor yourself. Tell a joke; maybe even one or two of these!

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By Mel Grossman

Mel Grossman is a local resident and weekly columnist.