Thursday, 10 July 2008

I think that's Funny

My grand daughter, aged six told me two jokes.
"Why did the banana go to the doctors?"
"I don't know, why did the banana go to the Doctors?"
"Because he wasn't peeling very well!"
"Doctor, doctor, I don't feel very well, I feel like a pair of curtains."
"Pull yourself together."
Interestingly enough, the doctor joke I remember from my own childhood, which set me thinking. Do children in general still tell jokes, if so, have they changed in the main from my childhood?
We tended to tell jokes that began, "There was an Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman." They all finished with the Irishman being the butt of the joke, definitely politically incorrect nowadays. Some of our jokes were smutty, repeated away from adult ears as we knew they would not approve. I recently asked a delightful young lady of my acquaintance, aged sixteen to tell me the kind of joke circulated amongst her peers. The result was a very funny story but unrepeatable, enough I suspect to make a hardened navvy blush. In our early adolescence our humour too tended to reflect our growing occupation with sex. An example is the following story, deemed rude by ourselves but mild by today's standards.
Three cowboys walked into the local store to buy provisions. An attractive young lady stood behind the counter.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“A bag a’ raisins” requested the first cowboy.
The young lady moved a ladder to the shelves behind the counter and proceeded up it until she could reach the top shelf, showing a large expanse of stocking as she did so. She returned to the counter with a sack and gave it to the cowboy.
She looked at the second cowboy. “A bag a’ raisins,” he too requested. The young lady returned to the ladder and proceeded upwards, showing even more stocking and flesh. She returned to the counter with the sack and turned to the third cowboy.
"A' raisin?" she asked.
"No, just a' twitchin," replied the cowboy.
I have asked many of my contemporaries for stories from their childhood. With few exceptions virtually none can now be remembered which in a way is a shame. The cowboy story was told to me by a village friend of more than fifty years ago. I personally remember only two other repeatable jokes beside the doctor joke from those childhood days.
Firstly a joke I probably considered sophisticated in my early grammar school days.
Two lions were walking near Trafalgar Square in London. One turned to his mate and said, "Isn't it quiet for an Easter Monday."
And last but not least my favourite joke for at least the past sixty years.
This couple always wanted a child and they were thrilled to have at last a baby boy. An unusual child, different in that, instead of having a belly button, he had a small golden nut and bolt, a half inch Whitworth nut and bolt. (We were of course unaware of the more delicate term navel for belly button. Of any case belly button was good enough for us.)
People came from far and wide and his parents would roll down his nappy so that they could view this amazing sight. But as the child grew up he became embarrassed by the fact that he was different from other children. Girlfriends were amazed, but also amused and it wasn’t doing his sex life any good. So he visited his doctor. The doctor was worse than useless, so were other specialists in The National Health Service. He was desperate, willing to visit anyone who might be able to help. There appeared no way that conventional medicine could help. Which is why he found himself consulting a witch doctor in darkest Africa.
“My son,” said the witch doctor, “there is only one cure for your condition. You must find a field of ripe corn. On the night of the full moon you must lie down on the ground. At exactly midnight you must pull down your trousers and wait."
With mounting excitement he returned home. Summer came and he found a field matching the witch doctor’s requirements. On the right day, an hour before midnight, secretly he lay down in the centre of his chosen field. He rolled down his trousers and waited. At exactly midnight the clouds parted, the moon shone brightly and a little angel, holding a white napkin floated down from the sky. The angel alighted amid the corn and carefully unwrapped the napkin, revealing an exquisite gold spanner, a half inch Whitworth spanner. Expertly handling the spanner, he proceeded to unscrew the nut and remove the bolt.
He placed them carefully in the napkin, smiled at the young man and flew silently away. The young man lay in the corn and joy overcame him. He could not believe that at long last he was the same as anyone else. His troubles were surely over, and he joyously jumped to his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “Look at me, look at me, I’m cured, I'm cured.” And then his backside fell off.
Presumably children all over the world still tell jokes and stories. Any examples gratefully received. You never know, we may be able to blog in the future with your examples.