Thursday, December 21, 2006

God's Own

Back in the 1990s I saw an ear-eye-nose-and-throat doctor in Memphis, Tennessee, seeking relief for an ear-infection that had bothered me for weeks.

In addition to a prescription for antibiotics, I received a lecture. The infection, the elderly physician was convinced, was the result of my abuse of q-tips, cotton "safety" swabs, which he was convinced were the root of all evil. "You should use only God's own q-tip," I was told.

"What?" I asked.

"Your finger."

The idea has become a family inside joke, and now I invite the world to contribute to its dissemination. At

I want to collect other examples of "God's Own."

Send your's to

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jokes: The Moron and the Clown

Dedicated to the late Dr. Marvin Thompson, from whom I first heard the story.

There was once a moron who had only one goal in life--to attend the circus. He had watched the big top on television and loved everything about it: the ringmaster, the lion tamer, the elephants, the trapeze artists, and, perhaps most of all, the clowns.

And then one day the circus came to town. The moron had bought his ticket a month in advance, and on opening night, there he was: sitting in the front row of the moron section. In person, he loved every minute of it. The ringmaster, the lion tamer, the elephants, the trapeze artists--the night was the highlight of his life.

And of course there were clowns. They rode on silly unicycles (and the moron laughed). Ten of them piled into and out of a tiny car (and the moron laughed). They did pratfalls and slapstick (and the moron laughed).

Then one clown, the lead harlequin, took center-stage. With the spotlight accentuating his every move (his very big shoes seemed especially prominent) he strolled right up to the moron and immediately began to pepper him with questions. "Are you a horse's knee?" the clown asked. The moron didn't know what to say and didn't realize at first that he was being set up in a shtick that had a new victim every night. He sputtered but said nothing.

"Are you a horse's mane?" the clown asked. And again the moron sputtered but did not respond. The crowd in the big top had begun to laugh uproariously.

"Are you a horse's ears?" the clown asked. Again, sputtering but no answer.

"Are you a horse's hoof?" the clown queried--with no response.

With an impressive somersault, the clown moved even closer to his victim. In his face, with the crowd hanging on his every word, he delivered (shouted into the microphone he was holding) the knock-out blow: "Then you must be a horse's ass!"

The laughter was deafening and continued for minutes as the clown returned to the center ring and took a big bow, accepting the cudos for his cruelty.

The moron, of course, was not amused. He did not really understand what had happened, but he understood he had been made fun of and knew that what was supposed to be the best night of his life had resulted in his degradation. As he slunk home from the circus that night, he vowed, in his own feeble-minded way, to seek revenge.

If he was, one day, to outfox his nemesis, he knew, almost instinctively, he would need an education. Though he had never made it past the second grade, he immediately began pursuit of a high school degree. Two decades later--after teaching himself to read, and after many, many, many hours of burning the minute oil--he had earned his GED. But even then he knew he was not yet smart enough, well-read enough, to take on the clown.

So he began his higher education. Five years later he had received his AA degree from a local community college. He took as many courses as he could in literature and philosophy, for someone had told him they would enhance his wit, further his skill at repartee.

Next, he enrolled in a nearby state college in pursuit of a B.A. degree, and ten years of struggle later, majoring in English literature, minoring in philosophy, he crossed the stage with a spanking new diploma.

Was he educated enough yet? The moron did not think so. After repeated denials (the fact he was technically a moron made many schools pass on his application), he was finally admitted to the M.A. program in English at a state university. Another ten years of hard work, and a thesis on "The Sarcasm of Mark Twain," and he had his Master of Arts diploma.

Once more, he asked himself if he was now ready for a showdown with the clown. Once more the answer was no. He would earn the PhD.

Ten years, and a three hundred page dissertation on Renaissance wit later, and he had received his terminal degree. Now, he hoped, he was properly prepared for his mission of revenge.

Returning to his home town, he was pleased to learn that the same circus he had so looked forward to decades ago was again coming to town. He would be there on opening night.

Though he now could list "doctor" as a title, he was, alas, still a moron and again had to sit in the moron section. Though now very well-educated, he still loved the circus: the ringmaster, the lion tamer, the elephants, the trapeze artists, and the clowns (who again rode on silly unicycles, again piled into and out of a tiny car, and again did pratfalls and slapstick).

Then the lead clown--it was, of course, his old nemesis, now, like the moron,a very old man--took center-stage. With the spotlight again accentuating his every move (and his very big shoes) he tottered right up to the moron, whom he recognized as his victim from fifty years ago and an easy mark.

"Are you a horse's knee?" the ancient clown asked. "Preposterous," the moron quickly and emphatically replied.

"Are you a horse's mane?" the hoary harlequin asked. "Decidedly not," the moron answered decisively.

"Are you a horse's ears?" the clown asked. "An outlandish suggestion," the moron insisted in response.

"Are you a horse's hoof?" queried the clown. "Patalogical nonsense" was the immediate answer.

With a painful-to-witness somersault, the clown moved even closer to his victim. In his face, with the crowd hanging on his every word (again spoken into the microphone he was holding), he delivered the knock-out blow: "Then you must be a horse's ass!"

The moment he had prepared for five decades was at hand, and the moron savored it, waiting for the laughter of the crowd, just as boisterous as it had been a half century before. The ancient clown stared at the ancient moron, and the moron glowered back. The laughter ebbed. The moron, with the aid of his cane, rose to his feet, and the clown stood his ground.

And the moron replied: "Oh yeah, f&#k you."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jokes: The Clone

Once upon a time, a multi-millionaire entrepreneur found himself overwhelmed by too, too many obligations. Jetting off to board meetings all over the world left him absolutely no time for himself.

So he invested some of his great wealth into having himself cloned and began to send his spitting image off to the far reaches of the globe to serve in his stead.

But something had gone horribly wrong in the cloning process: the Clone, while his exact double in appearance, was, for reasons his makers could not explain, incredibly profane. Every other word out of his mouth was highly objectionable. Like a Tourette's sufferer, his verbal output had no built-in censor. In the middle of a business meeting a string of swear words might pour forth, to the great shock of those present. Around women, the Clone was especially offensive, making utterly inappropriate remarks.

Since no one knew of the Clone's existence, everyone assumed the foul-mouthed one was the Millionaire himself. Needless to say, his reputation, previously unassailable, was becoming severely tarnished.

The Millionaire, anxious to put a stop to the deterioration, called the Clone in for a meeting. In a penthouse apartment on the twenty fifth floor of a New York high rise, the Millionaire and the Clone had a heart-to-heart, but it did not go well. The two came to blows, in the process stumbling out onto the balcony, from which the clone plummeted to his death.

Though startled by this unexpected outcome, the Millionaire felt no guilt. The Clone was his; he owed his existence solely to his actions. So what if he had killed him. No crime, he told himself, had been committed. He sat down, fixed himself a Manhattan, and relaxed.

His peace was soon disturbed, however, by a loud knock on the door. When the Millionaire answered, he found the cops there, guns already drawn.

"Is that your double down there, sir--the dead one prostrate on the roof of a car?" Without hesitation, the Millionaire acknowledged the being as his. "Well then," the cop insisted, "you are under arrest."

"For what?" the Millionaire responded defiantly. "What am I charged with?"

"Of making an obscene clone fall," the cop answered.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jokes: Telling a Joke

In the present post and several subsequent ones I want to record several jokes, all of them complex, all quite postmodern. I was trained in humor by Lee Bluestein, whose preference for long, complicated jokes with dubious punch lines I inherited.

Telling a Joke
At a remote prison, which had not had a new prisoner in years, a newcomer found himself feeling a bit alienated. During his second day in the yard, one of the veteran prisoners shouted out, seemingly without explanation, a number: "15." Uproarious laughter spread throughout the populace. The new prisoner turned to an older inmate, a Morgan Freeman-like figure with whom he had become friends, for clarification.

"Well," Morgan replied, "we have all been in here so long and heard each other's jokes so often, that we just decided one day to simplify things and catalog all the jokes, assigning each one a number."

Weeks passed, during which many jokes were told, and one day the prison newcomer, feeling more at home, more confident, more a part of the group, asked Morgan Freeman if it would be OK if he told a joke. "It's a free country," Morgan replied. "Sure, go ahead."

The newcomer took a deep breath and then, at the top of his voice, and with great emphasis and enthusiasm, announced "34." But no laughter resulted, only a deafening silence.

Taken aback by the response to his rookie effort, the newcomer asked Morgan "What happened?"

"Well," Morgan replied, "some people just can't tell a joke."