Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Punch Line"

          I have a sense of humor. Sometimes the serious aspects of life take over, and it’s the warped humor rippling through my veins that keeps me sane. My friends and family have learned not to tell jokes if I’m drinking or eating. Nothing burns like Coke squirting out the nose! I’ll roll helplessly on the couch weeping copiously at The Ghostbusters. I love puns, satires, riddles, and even knock-knock jokes.
          I have a sense of humor, and I cannot tell a joke.

          It’s a horrible thing to admit. I admire those people who can memorize and recite long passages from poetry or plays. I have in-laws who watch a movie once and replay dialogue word-for-word. I’m lucky if I can remember the title once I’ve left the theater! Jokes? They seem so simple. A few lines, the right intonation, and then the punch line. No matter how much I try to remember it all, it gets jumbled and botched.

My mother always told me to leave the house with a little extra time and money. But I arm myself with my joke, too. Over the years, I’ve managed to refine the telling of one specific joke. I carry it prepared in case I’m in a social situation where a joke becomes necessary. “Better safe than sorry” really describes my up-bringing.

The Joke

          Several teachers were driving between Austin and San Antonio one day when they saw the sign for the town Buda. They began arguing about how to pronounce the town’s name. One person insisted the pronunciation was “Booda”. The other claimed it rhymed with “You da.” Finally, the driver in the car decided to settle the argument. She pulled into the local Dairy Queen and drove up to the take-out window.
          “Excuse me,” she said politely when the young girl asked for her order. “I need to ask you, how do you pronounce the name of this place?”
          The girl looked puzzled for a moment, and then she said very slowly and distinctly, “Dare—ree—Queeeen!”

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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