It’s a freaky thing, I’ll admit, but I’m absorbed with gags. I pick them up at funerals, on bar stools, in church pews, the Internet, and even in the first class section of airliners, and the truth is I pilfer them with utter disregard for origins.
Many of them sprout from scholars like my wife Marilyn, who also lifts them with utter disregard for origins. Still, I’ve heard her often recite from the infamous Rev. Spooner whose reputation for tangling words resulted in the linguistic term “spoonerisms.”
Her favorite spoonerisms are: “Work is the curse of the drinking class,” and “Strange bedfellows make politics.”
So when I’m asked to speak to groups of well-meaning folks, I dig out some of my own favorite one-liners and become the hit of the evening. These gags are so engrossing I can put any restless group to sleep in 10 minutes, which pleases many and comes in handy if I want to sneak out early with an extra dessert.
Last week I ventured into the Land of Professors Emeriti (Latin for: Their bedtime is 8 p.m.) and before I reached the second page of my notes, I was able to sneak covertly out the door with two — yes, two — extra desserts under my jacket. I would have taken an entire meal, but they’re not making jackets big and baggy like they used to.
Aside from my reputation as a somniferous hypnotist, I’m also a neatnik. In other words I categorize my one-liners under relevant headings and store them away for dull days, as follows:
QUESTIONS WITH NO ANSWERS: Why don’t we ever see a headline that says, “Psychic Wins Lottery?” Why do they call it the PRACTICE of medicine? Why do we call the third hand on a watch the second hand? Why do we need a driver’s license to buy liquor when it’s unlawful to drink and drive?
WHY MEN CAN’T WIN: If a man says how nice his secretary looks, it’s sexual harassment, but if he keeps quiet, it’s male indifference. If a man keeps in shape, he’s vain, but if he doesn’t, he’s a slob. If your wife has a boring job at low pay, it’s exploitation, but if you have a boring job with low pay, you ought to get off your lead fanny and get something better.
AGGIEISMS (Mostly Texas): What does the Aggie football player get on his SAT test? Drool. Why do Aggie cheerleaders wear bibs? To keep chew off their clothes. What are the longest four years in an Aggie’s life? His freshman year? How do you get an Aggie graduate off your front porch? Pay him for the pizza?
POLITICALLY CORRECT INSULTS: He’s a few beers short of a six-pack. The wheel’s spinning, but the hamster’s dead. He’s proof that evolution can go in reverse. His antenna doesn’t pick up all the channels. There’s not much grain in his silo.
WAYS TO WAKE FOLKS UP: Write “For Sexual Favors” on all your checks.
ANSWERING MACHINE QUOTES: A police officer’s phone message: “I’m out of pocket right now, but please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be recorded and may be used against you in a court of law.”
THINGS I CAN’T MENTION IN MIXED COMPANY: Now this is a real shame, because there’s some really good stuff in here.
THINGS A MOTHER WANTS TO FORGET: If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor isn’t strong enough to lift a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a bath towel cape off the floor. Double pain glass in sliding doors will not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan. The spin cycle on the washing machine will make a cat dizzy. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
QUOTES ABOUT TERRORISTS: What we know about Osama bin Laden is he’s worth $300 million, he has five wives and 26 kids, and he hates Americans for their excessive life styles. Last year 11 members of the Dallas Cowboys were exposed to a mysterious white powder they had never seen before — a goal line. After 9/11, President Bush’s popularity rose to 90 percent, so if he ran for president today, he might actually be elected.
CONFUCIUS SAYINGS: Man with one chopstick goes hungry. Man who stands on toilet is high on pot.
WANT ADS: For sale, cows and some calves, never bred, also one gay bull. Nice parachute, never opened, used only once. Must sell washer and dryer, joining nudist colony.
Shhhh, is everyone asleep now? Let’s grab another dessert and get outta here.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.