I love jokes, but I can never remember them. I laugh my fool-head off when someone tells a good one and can't wait to spread the joy by telling it to my husband or kids or whomever, but gol-darned if the thing doesn't fly out the back of my head by the time I get around to the opportunity.
It's really a strange thing how I can categorize some things in my head but not others. I can remember certain phone #s for life after using them just once, but I can't recall many of my own former phone #s, even ones I had for a few years. I can remember directions to places I haven't been in years, decades even, but I can't necessarily recall any of the street names or addresses. I can recite all the nursery rhymes, sing the entire Muppet theme song, and recite the Japanese alphabet after taking one semester my freshman year of college, but I can't tell a d*mn joke.
I had a friend named Dean in high school who could tell joke upon joke upon joke for hours and hours and hours. He'd entertain us at parties and keep us in stitches, laughing at his own jokes the entire time. It was a hoot - and a highpower-given talent, I now believe. I recall something about a koala bear with the punchline of "Eats bush, shoots, and leaves".... (classy)... but... well.. no, of course I don't remember the set-up.
Another time I flew the red-eye alone into Denver for a family reunion. I'd never met many of these particular family members, and after 36 hours with no sleep, it may not have been an extraordinary feat for a long-lost cousin to have me laughing until tears poured down my cheeks for a couple hours straight, but it was entertaining nonetheless. There was one about a bug on a windshield that had us busting a gut... but... nah, I don't remember it.
Even my mom can tell a better joke than me, although she's got my father's habit of having only a few and telling them over and over. One of her infamous jokes, which I'm sure she'll be thrilled to hear I'm sharing, is the one about the Big-Mouth Frog. All I'm gonna say is you need a big mouth to tell that joke effectively. (Who loves ya, Mom?)
And I was taken back to the good old days when another familiar joke appeared in my email inbox today. It was from mom and it's an "oldie but goodie." She told this joke many, many times, and somehow had a way of telling it that had us all groaning and giggling.
Before I forget how it goes, here it is:
An Italian, an Irishman, and a Chinese fellow are hired at a construction site. The foreman points to a huge pile of sand and says to the Italian guy, "You're in charge of sweeping."
To the Irishman he says, "You're in charge of shoveling."
To the Chinese guy, "You're in charge of supplies."
He then says, "Now, I have to leave for a little while. I expect you guys to make a dent in that there pile." So the foreman goes away for a couple hours, but when he returns the pile of sand is untouched.
He says to the Italian, "Why didn't you sweep any of it?"
The Italian replies in a heavy accent, "I no gotta broom, an' you tella me da Chinese-a guy supposa ta bringa da supplies, but he disappear and I no finda him."
So the foreman turns to the Irishman and asks why he didn't shovel. "Didn't I tell you to shovel it?"
The Irishman replies in his heavy brogue, "Aye, that ye did, but I couldn't get meself a shovel. Ye left the Chinese fella in charge of supplies, but I coulden find 'im."
The foreman is really angry now, and storms off looking for the Chinese guy. He can't find him anywhere and is getting angrier by the minute.
Just then, the Chinese guy springs out from behind the pile of sand and yells...