John W. Pinkerton

Shelby, a young friend of mine,  and I played golf at Pecan Lake the other day.  An older fellow playing alone caught up with us. We invited him to play along with us: in return, he told us a joke.

A golfer who often played alone was losing his sight.  He asked the club manager if he knew of a caddy who really had sharp eyes to keep trackof his golf balls. “Yeah, Hawkeye. He's a little old, but his vision is super.” 

Great thought the golfer.

The next time he went to the course, he asked for Hawkeye.  On the first tee after teeing off, the golfer turns to Hawkeye and asks if he had seen where his ball had gone.  Hawkeye responded, “Sure did.”

The golfer continued, “Well, where did it end up?'  Hawkeye hung his head and replied, “I forget."

When I was a young fellow, I loved jokes and often told them to Mom and Dad.  Mom was a better audience.  You know, jokes like, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” or “Why did the cookie go to the doctor?” Answer: “It felt crummy.”  Or knock-knock jokes. “Knock, knock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Sawyer.” “Sawyer, who?”  “Tom saw yer underwear.”  or “Knock Knock” “Who's there?”  “Tarzan.”  “Tarzan who?”  “Tarzan Stripes Forever.”     

Jokes are great fun for kids and travel quickly through an elementary school: “What’s the worst thing you’re likely to find in the school cafeteria?”  Answer: “The Food,” or “How do you get straight A’s?”  Answer: “By using a ruler.”

All ages like puns although adults are reluctant to admit that they find them amusing: “A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: ‘I'm looking for the man who shot my paw’” or “This duck walks into a bar and orders a beer. ‘Four bucks,’ says the bartender. ‘Put it on my bill.’”

Some of the best puns are a little more complex.

An American couple was being shown around Moscow one day when the man felt a drop hit his nose.

"I think it's raining," he said to his wife.

"No, that felt more like snow to me," she replied.

"No, I'm sure it was just rain," he said.

Well, as these things go, they were about to have a major argument about whether it was raining or snowing.

"Let's not fight about it!" the man said. "Let's ask our guide, Rudolph, whether it's officially raining or snowing."

As their tour guide approached, the man said, "Tell us, Comrade Rudolph, is it officially raining or snowing?"

"It's raining, of course," he replied officiously.

But the woman insisted, "I know that it felt like snow!"

The man quietly replied, "Rudolph, the Red, knows rain, dear!"

When I was a teenager I moved beyond puns and knock-knocks into authentic adult jokes like the following:

One day as three men of the cloth met for their weekly lunch, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't reallyall that hard.  A real challenge would be to preach to a bear.

One thing led to another, and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the experience.Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.

"Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear, and when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around.  So I

quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lamb.  The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.

Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip.  In his best fire and brimstone

oratory he claimed,  "WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear, and then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD!  But that bear wanted

nothing to do with me, so I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED

his hairy soul, and just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus."

They both looked down at the rabbi who was lying in a hospital bed.  He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors  running in and out of him.  He was in bad shape.  The rabbi looks up and says, "Looking back on it, circumcision maynot have been the best way to start."

Part of the humor is predicated on the fact that folks normally don’t discuss religion which causes tension in the listener, and part was  based on stereotypes each religion has of the other.  There is a nasty version of this joke, but, of course, I won’t relate that version

Ethnic jokes are also based on our stereotypes.  I told ethnic jokes as a youth, but I put them aside when I realized that they could be truly hurtful to the butt of the joke.

In spite of this, I still like a good Irish joke, and being Irish, I claim privilege:

Two Irishmen, Patrick Murphy and Shawn O'Brian, grew up together and were lifelong friends. But alas, Patrick developed cancer and was dying. While on his deathbed, Patrick called to his buddy Shawn,

"O'Brian, come 'ere. I 'ave a request for ye."

Shawn walked to his friend's bedside and kneels.

"Shawny ole boy, we've been friends all our lives, and now I'm leaving 'ere. I 'ave one last request fir ye to do."

O'Brian burst into tears, "Anything, Patrick, anything ye wish.  It's done."

"Well, under me bed is a box containing a bottle of the finest whiskey

in all of Ireland. Bottled the year I was born it was.  After I die, and they plant me in the ground, I want you to pour that fine whiskey over me grave so it might soak into me bones and I'll be able to enjoy it for all eternity."

O'Brian was overcome by the beauty, and in the true Irish spirit of his friend's request, he asked, "Aye, tis a fine thing you ask of me, and I will pour the whiskey.  But, might I strain it through me kidneys first?" 

Once again, it’s based on stereotypes, but with all good jokes there is an element of truth in it.

The dirty or nasty joke I’ve always avoided telling.  Although admittedly many are amusing, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with them.  However, I have been told every dirty joke invented by man.  It seems as though men and, even worse, women have sought me out from miles away suffering great inconvenience to share their dirty jokes with me.  What is it about me that says that I’m the perfect subject to  be told one of these tales? 

When I was a youth, I knew hundreds of jokes and told them regularly to ready listeners.  My presentation must have been pretty good because they were well received.  Somewhere, I believe in my thirties, I lost my timing.  Timing, as you probably know, is crucial to the telling of a joke.  After repeatedly being met with blank stares upon the delivery of the punch lines, I retired from telling jokes concluding that the fault did not lie with the joke or the listener, but with me.

I normally no longer tell a joke to be humorous, but I may tell one to make a point.  The following is an example of a joke which could be used to make a point without stabbing the fellow you’re telling it to.

A fellow goes to work for a company at which everyone is a union member, but the fellow declines the initial offer to become a member of the union.  Union representatives visited the fellow repeatedly

patiently explaining to him the advantages of being a union member. 

Each time the new fellow respectfully declined the offer.  Finally the  union reps had had enough of the reluctant fellow.  They went to his home and beat the crap out of him.  He immediately and willingly

signed up to be a union member.  The union reps then asked him why he hadn’t signed up before they beat the crap out of him.  He replied that no one had explained it to him before.

This joke could be used to explain why “card check” is not really a very good idea.

One of my favorite jokes was originally told by Justin Wilson, a really amusing Cajun comedian.


It seems that Boudreaux runs into his friend Thibodeaux.  He sees that Thibodeaux has a bundle of dynamite hanging on his chest connected by a string around his neck.  Naturally Beaudreaux felt compelled to ask Thibodeaux why he had the

dynamite hanging from his neck to which he replied, “You know Broussard?  He makes me so damned mad.  Every time I come to town, he hits me dead in the chest.  I’m gonna blow his damned

            hand off.”

Once again it’s a joke which illustrates a point: it’s an interesting  way of expressing the old adage that one shouldn’t cut one’s nose off to spite one’s face.

Years ago, before the internet, people often pondered how jokes spread across the country so quickly.  Some attributed the rapid spread of jokes from coast to coast to telegraph operators who had spare time on their hands.  Today, jokes can go “viral” on the internet.

I guess jokes are just as funny today as they ever were.  I guess the difference today is that they usually don’t come on you like the latest gossip, suddenly and unexpectedly.  A good joke heard was a prize to be shared as soon as possible.  I know why I don’t tell jokes much anymore, but I suspect others don’t because we’ve become so dependent upon media for our entertainment.  There is something to be said for a good jokes well told; they’re democratic: they can come from anyone and can be shared with anyone...well, almost anyone.


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