The season of schmoozing is upon us again. While some look forward to all the party talk, I am the sort that is intimidated by it. I love to listen but am not always great at responding. Too often my quick wit button gets set on delay which means I come up with the perfect reply but it's after I get home. You wouldn't believe the clever retorts that enter my brain while lying in bed at four am.
God bless the gifted raconteur, especially the one who knows how to tell a good joke. Here's one for you now: Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them suddenly collapses. His eyes are rolled back in his head and he doesn't seem to be breathing. His friend whips out his cell phone, calls 911 and gasps out, "Help, my friend is dead! What can I do?" In a very calm, soothing voice the operator replies, "Now take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure that he's dead." There's a few seconds of silence, then the operator hears a gun shot. The guy comes back on the line and says, "Ok, now what?"
Apparently someone did a survey and that's what was voted the funniest joke in the world. I was going to mention it at the outset, but a cardinal sin of joke telling is to oversell the joke before you tell it. Nothing sucks out the funny like being told, "I heard the funniest joke. It was SO funny! Just wait until you hear it. You're going to die laughing."
Now clear all that from your mind, because I've got another joke for you. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes," replies Watson.
"And what do you deduce from that?"
Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?"
"Watson, you idiot!" Holmes replies. "Someone has stolen our tent!"
And here's one more. A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says, "Now that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!" Fuming, the woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down. She turns to the man seated next to her and says, "The driver just insulted me!" The man says, "Really? You shouldn't stand for that. You go right back up there and tell him off. Go ahead; I'll hold your monkey for you." That one is considered the funniest joke in the U.K.
Speaking of monkeys, recently I had a man came up to me and loudly exclaim, "It's cold enough to freeze the balls right off a brass monkey!" Then he looked at me intently and added, "I sure hope I didn't offend you. You are familiar with a brass monkey's balls aren't you?"
What does a person say to something like that? In my usual delayed fashion I mumbled something about being familiar with a brass monkey's balls, but not too familiar.
"They're on a ship you know," he informed me, his eyes twinkling.
"A ship?" I asked, wishing one of us were on one right now.
"Yes ma'am. A brass monkey is what they called the contraption that held the cannon balls. As I'm sure you know, when things get really cold brass doesn't contract as much as iron."
"Of course," I stammered. "Who doesn't know that?"
"So whenever it got really cold the iron balls would shrink and roll off the brass monkey."
After I got home I did a search and found out he was right. Who knew? Well, besides him. And maybe you. Oh, well. If anyone should ever bring up the topic again, I'm ready for them. And now I have a couple jokes committed to memory as well. Life is good. Let the schmoozing begin.
Shannon McKinnon writes from her home in the Peace River country. You can catch up on past columns at www.shannonmckinnon.com