I’ve been all work and no play for quite a while. I spend most of my waking hours alone, working. Someone, who shall remain nameless, but if you know me at all you’ll know who I mean, thought it would be a fabulous idea for me to take on the added responsibility of Laila the Boxer. Laila has a lower lip and an underbite. She comes to work Monday through Friday, sometimes she has a weekend sleepover. Every single morning she looks for me and when she finds me she puts her paws on my shoulders and licks my whole face. She says, “Thank Gawd you’re still here! I knew you wouldn’t abandon me to fend for myself in this unsupervised chaos.” We understand one another. We have a comfortable routine that consists of work interspersed with Laila breaks. Laila has taught me to bark. We do not like the school bus, the Fairpoint bucket truck, or the UPS truck. We hate the fluffy orange cat who wanders wherever she wants just to taunt us. We do not rip the fur off her skanky old ass because we’re pacifists.
Recently I read this joke-
How I Learned to Mind My Own Business
I was walking past the mental hospital the other day.
All the patients were shouting,
The fence was too high for me to see over
but I saw a little gap in the planks
so I looked through
to see what was going on.
Some idiot poked me in the eye
with a stick.
Then they all started shouting,
I love this joke, it makes me laugh every single time I write or tell it. It’s funny because I can identify with both the protagonist and with the mental patients, who represent the desire of the collective unconscious to see the underdog emerge victorious.
I remember a time when we told jokes and laughed often. The jokes we told were not at the expense of others, they were poking fun at ourselves and our humanity, collectively and individually. My friend, the Bob Dylan Republican, used to tell a joke that described a brother’s desire to see his sibling cured of an affliction. It began, “My brother Bill, he’s a cripple you know” and went on to describe the trip they made to see the Pope at the Vatican with Bill flinging his crutches one after the other. As the BDR told the joke his audience was ever hopeful that Bill would be cured, which of course he wasn’t. “Hell no, he fell flat on his ass because my bother Bill, he’s a cripple you know.” That joke poked fun at all of us for being hopeful against reason. My brother Brian, who had arthrogyposis and never walked unassisted, loved that joke. Everyone in my family loved that joke, no one was offended. We used to admire irony and clever word play.
How is it that jokes offend us but Donald Trump fails to offend his base?