Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tell me a Story, Please.

I am engaged in an autobiographical work concerning the years 1945-1959. I am particularly interested in the jokes that we as small children and adolescents found funny. If I remember right the jokes became smuttier the older we became. I am also interested if the ladies told jokes to the same extent as their male counterparts. If anyone is willing to share their childhood humour I would be grateful. The fact that perhaps you belong to a different era as myself is not important. It's the fact that they are examples of childhood and adolescence that is important. How much have times changed, I wonder. And were the jokes dependent on where we lived, plus how universal were they. Any help gratefully received.

The following is the blog concerning the subject I wrote on the July 2008. My apologies for repeating myself. (Again!)

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.
Posted by Grumpy Old Ken at 10.7.08
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ADDY said...

I remember some of the jokes I heard in my childhood but they are definitely too rude to print here!!

Nota Bene said...

Top jokes. The Lions in Trafalgar Square I was told by a (Scottish) girlfriend changed to two tigers were walking down Princes St (Edinburgh). Still funny as it normally takes a few second for the penny to drop

Bernard said...

This first bit is True.
My friend, some years ago, went into Halfords and was approached by an assistant who said "Can I help you sir"
My friend said "Do you sell Whitworth spanners?"
The assistant replied "No I'm sorry sir, we only sell our own make"
Now, if you start me on jokes we could be here all night...I will give it some thought and get back.

Eddie Bluelights said...

I could tell you many. Heard a new one today.
A lady liked to hang her washing outside and the neighbours marvelled at how she always managed to get it right and always hang the washing out on a sunny day and never a rainy day.
"How do you do it?", asked her friend next door.
"Easy!" I always look at my husband's Willie when he's lying down. If it points to the right it will be fine - if it points to the left it will be rainy- and if it is larger and points upwards then I do not do any washing!"

Bernard said...

Thinking back to school-days, there were lots of "Mummy, mummy can I" jokes.
"Mummy, mummy what's a vampire?"
"Shut up and eat your soup before it clots!" ....circa 1952 ?
and a not very nice one...
"Mummy, mummy can I lick the bowl?"
"No, pull the chain, like everyone else!"......circa 1953 ? did ask!!!

Bernard said...

They keep coming back to me Ken.
It was the done thing at junior school (8 year olds) to try and get each other to say 'naughty' words.
This was one way:-
"If wooden cows have wooden ears, and steel cows have steel ears."
"What do brass cows have?"

Not really naughty by todays standards but in those days brassieres were 'unmentionables' and I don't suppose many of todays kids know what they even are!!!

Kitty said...

The cowboy joke make me laugh. My kids favourite joke of the moment:
Knock Knock.
Who's There?
Dunnup Who?

(You have to say it out loud ... never fails to make them chuckle. Tsk kids).


Strawberry Jam Anne said...

My 5 year old grand-daughter told me the banana joke too Ken. I'd love to be able to help re older jokes but I really cannot remember any from way back then! One "Irish" joke I remember from about 30 years ago - "An Irish man was showing a friend around his newly refurbished house. The friend remarked that the ceilings seemed to be very high. "it was my wife's idea" replied the Irishman "she wanted two rooms knocked into one"!

Good luck with your research. A

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I wonder if they are ruder than the kids tell now?


Nothing changes I suspect.


Any jokes greatfully received. Do you remember ANY that began 'An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman?

Grumpy Old Ken said...


Very good!

Modern kids love this sort of thing. The funny thing is you remember them after you hear them again.

Funny enough I dont remember the brass ears joke. Thanks

Grumpy Old Ken said...

i wonder who thinks them up. Adults? The dunnup joke to me four goes before it clicked!


Now there's a joke I've Not heard before!