A Very Good Joke: ‘I’m Afraid I Have Bad News About Your Husband, Ma’am.’

posted in: Joke 7
Ah, love. A wedding in Barcelona someplace — because the language of love is universal. Image: Wikipedia.


For you, tonight, a joke:

A wife and husband are at the doctor’s office. The doctor finishes the check-up on the husband and looks concerned.

“How’d I do, Doc?” the husband asks.

“Sir,” the doctor says, “I’d like to ask if you would give me a few minutes to speak to your wife privately. Please have a seat in the waiting room and we’ll call you in just a minute.”

The husband says sure, and he gets up and heads out of the exam room, closing the door behind him. His wife looks at the doctor.

“What is it, doctor?” she asks. “Is … Is my husband going to die?”

The doctor looks pained. He takes a deep breath. “Ma’am, I’m afraid I have very bad news for you. Your husband is terribly ill. It’s one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen. He’s … He’s on his way out.”

The woman gasps; her hand flies to her mouth. “Is there anything to be done, Doctor??”

An intense look comes over the doctor’s face and he takes the wife’s hand. Very gravely, he says, “Yes, ma’am. There is one thing you can do to save your husband.”

“Tell me, please!”

The doctor takes a deep breath and says, “You must treat him like a king among men.”

The wife is confused. “What?”

“You must cook and serve him his very favorite foods. Any movie he wants to see, any sporting event — grab the keys, get in the car. You drive. He gets to play on his phone. If he wants to golf, go with him. Buy him presents. If he wants sex, you must have sex with him. You must have more sex with your husband than you’ve had in the past 35 years of marriage! And if he wants you to read to him, rub his feet, or scratch his back, you must do it. If you do all this, ma’am, your husband can expect a full recovery.”

The woman thanks the doctor and leaves the office to find her husband in the waiting room reading a magazine.

“What’d he say?” the husband asks.

“You’re gonna die.”

A Monkey ‘Jote’ Because It’s Essentially Finals Week

posted in: Joke 4
Wikipedia has offered me this picture of a “salt dough monkey,” and darn if the thing doesn’t look like it fell out of a tree. Thanks, Wikipedia.


And now, a joke.

Or, as my friend Irena would say, “a jote.”

It’s funnier, right? Jotes?

The reason that I am going to post this jote, which is very silly and slightly weird — okay, very weird — is that it’s finals week, I’ve got a deadline for the magazine and a deadline for the other magazine and intricately woven narratives are my favorite kinds of posts but I have to eat something for Lord’s sake and who’s gonna finish these captions? But there’s another reason why I want to post this jote: I like the jote. The jote is interesting. So we tell the jote.


Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?
A: Because it was dead.


:: drops mic ::

I Wrote a Joke! I Wrote An Actual Joke!

posted in: Joke 20
A dino!! Photo by Ashley Van Haeften courtesy Wikipedia.
A dino!! Photo by Ashley Van Haeften courtesy Wikipedia.


I wrote a joke! I wrote a joke, I wrote a joke, I wrote a joke!

This is huge! I’ve never written a joke before!

And when I say I “wrote” a joke, I mean that just now, as I crossed the room to get something, this joke came to me. It just came to me in my actual brain. Scout’s honor, I have not heard this joke, not ever. I have never heard this joke and that means that I wrote it, right?? Probably other people have written it, too — it’s not too wild n’ crazy— but if other people have come up with this, I have never met those people or, if I have, they did not tell me this joke. And seeing as how I like to tell jokes and seeing as how plenty of people know what I do for a living, if this joke existed before this moment, doesn’t it stand to reason I’d have heard it by now?? Yes! So I’m claiming it!

Don’t get too excited. This joke is not going to set the world on fire. But it’s not too shabby for a first-time joke writer! Are you ready for this??

Q: What’s a writer’s favorite dinosaur?
A: The Thesaurus.

The Thesaurus!! Dinosaur! Writers…!! *

I kill me!

Oh, man. That was great. That was just great, that moment. I wonder if it will ever happen again. I don’t care. Thesaurus! What a knee-slapper.

I’ll be here all week.


*Ugh! Now I’m wondering if the punchline should be just “Thesaurus.” And you tell it like, “The. Saurus.” You know? With a clean break between the syllables. You tell me: Is the joke better if the answer is “The Thesaurus” or “The. Saurus.” And you’d have to do a little mischevious waggle of the head when you tell it with the second option. If you tell jokes a lot, you know what I mean. Writing jokes, people. Not easy.

The Funniest Things I Have Ever Heard. (Don’t Get Too Excited.)

posted in: Day In The Life, Joke 20
It's an outhouse! Image: Wikipedia.
It’s an outhouse! Haha. Image: Wikipedia.


On the bus the other day, I was thinking about the funniest things I have ever heard. I wasn’t thinking “What are the funniest stories I’ve ever heard?” and I wasn’t thinking about the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard, either. You might be thinking, “What else is there?” but I can explain.

You see, I remembered something out of nowhere that I hadn’t thought about in years — and I recalled that, at the time I came across it, I had never heard anything so hilarious in my entire life. I was eight, so don’t get too excited.

It was a little handwritten sign in a bathroom in Door County. The sign read:

“If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.” 

I was helpless with laughter. I had never known anything more genius and silly and funny and gross in all my life. It was a real gem for eight-year-old Mary, let me tell you. Clearly, it stayed with me.

So after thinking about that for awhile and, yes, chuckling a little (mostly about me at eight, giggling until I could hardly breathe, not so much about the pee thing), I wondered about other things like that. What were the other funniest things I have ever heard?

The second thing that came to mind happened when I was in high school, so again: No need to brace yourself for nuanced, sophisticated comedy, here. I was working as a waitress at the local Pizza Hut.

…and that’s it. That’s the funniest thing: Me, in high school, slingin’ pies at the local Pizza Hut.

I’m kidding! Although there is some comedic value to that sentence. It has something to do with the word “Hut.”

But seriously: The Pizza Hut’s manager’s name was Steve. That poor guy. He had a bunch of ne’er-do-well high school kids to corral all day and his “office” was a computer shoved into corner near the walk-in. He could’ve been a jerk — but he was so nice! He was understanding and cool but never inappropriately cool. Like, Steve wouldn’t buy us beer or let us take pizzas home for free. Steve was great. He was also a real cornball. That means he told corny jokes and was fond of puns.

One day, I got to work and Steve had clearly gotten a haircut. I said, “Hey, Steve! You got your haircut!”

And Steve snapped his fingers and pointed to me and said, “No, Mary: I got ’em all cut.”

I blinked. I cocked my head. And then I got it. And I loved it. I thought it was genius. Ha! Got ’em all cut! Because you don’t get a hair cut! You get ’em all cut! Oh, man. What a knee-slapper.

The other other thing I came up with was that my friend Nellie told me in college that she and her sisters, when they were kids, used to roll down this hill in the backyard. One day, her sister pooped her pants as she was rolling down the hill and after that, they called it “Poopy Hill.”

Yes, I am aware that two of the three of the funniest things I am claiming to have ever heard have to do with the bathroom. I sincerely hope that if I keep thinking about more wildly hilarious things, this will not be the case.

The Big Orange Head Joke.

posted in: Joke 3
Big. Orange. Head.
Big. Orange. Head.

Tonight, a joke.

I’d heard this one before, but driving in Wisconsin not long ago, I heard it again on the radio. It’s a keeper for sure — and the kids love it.

A guy is walking along the street one day and he sees his friend Tom. But Tom looks different. Tom has a big orange head. Like, his head is big and orange. The guy goes over to Tom right away.

“Tom! Hey, man… What happened to your head?” asks the guy.

“It was the darndest thing,” says Tom. “I found one of those magic genie lamps. You know, the ones where you rub the side and the genie comes out and grants you three wishes?”

“Wow!” says the guy. “That’s amazing!”

“I know!” says Tom. “And he wasn’t kidding. I wished for a million bucks and poof! The genie showed me on my phone that I had a million bucks in the bank.”

“Holy cow!” says the guy.

“Yep. Then, I wished for a beautiful wife and poof! this amazing woman appeared and we’re married and she’s incredible, look.” and Tom shows the guy a picture of his beautiful wife.

“Dang,” says the guy. “That’s unbelieveable!” Then, eyeing Tom, he says, “What was the third wish?”

“Well,” said Tom, “For my third wish, I wished for a big orange head.”

[that’s it]

PAM’ing the Pan or “My Family Is Hilarious!”

posted in: Family, Food, Joke 12
PAM, ladies and gentlemen.
From the PAM can. (I love it when ingredients lists use 50-cent words like ‘trivial.”)

A few months ago, up at the lake house, an inside joke was born — and it’s one for the ages, too. I wasn’t there the moment “PAM the pan” came into existence, but by now the whole thing has a mind of its own and it doesn’t matter; family jokes are good like that.

Here’s what happened.

My sister’s fiancee, Jack, was making dinner. Jack is gifted in the kitchen and had made something delicious in a pan that unfortunately was giving him a little trouble. Stuff was sticking. My stepdad, Mark, not trying to be funny or ironic in any way, asked,

“Did you PAM the pan?”

PAM is a non-stick cooking spray, as most of us recognize. I am feeling very annoyed that I have to capitalize it like that, but it turns out “PAM” is an acronym: Product of Arthur Meyerhoff. Isn’t that something? Some dude figured out that you could spray canola oil on a pan and keep stuff from sticking to it and he actually named it after himself. Astonishing. Anyway, that’s what PAM stands for and none of that has to do with the story, though it is relevant that a) PAM is an inherently funny, plosive sound and b) non-stick cooking spray isn’t really Jack’s style in the first place.

So Mark’s question, “Did you PAM the pan?” was just too aurally/verbally fantastic to let go. Everyone in the room tried it out, and all were gleeful with the results — but they were not satisfied, no. I’m pretty sure my mom was responsible for the initial escalation because my mother is hilarious. Note: if you’re in a place where you can actually read these lines aloud, you should.

“Are you gonna make ham? Better PAM that pan.”

Then, my sister: “Damn! That ham pan need PAM!”

Then, Mark, chuckling: “Ask Sam. He’s got PAM. He’s got PAM for every pan.”

Mom again: “Look at that man, Sam. He can sure PAM a pan — why yes, he can!”

Then Jack: “Please stop.”

Jack is frequently the straight man to Fons women hijinks. He loves it, though — enough to marry my sister, which is solid evidence. All this PAM talk went on and on and finally made its way to me when Mom told me the story. My sister Nan in New York learned about it, too, and since then, we’ve had entire family email threads playing this game. Some of my favorites have included:

“Gram never PAM’ed the pan, no ma’am. Ham or lamb, she used a no-PAM pan.”


“Hotdamn, Stan, you better scram if you ain’t gon’ PAM that pan. Makin’ flan calls for a PAM’ed pan, man!”

The best things in life aren’t always free. I mean, I love a great handbag and those ain’t free, let me tell you. But there isn’t an admission charge to my family’s weird sense of humor and this stuff is priceless. You maybe had to be there, and that’s okay. But if you were there, you’d be laughing.

This Post Is a Joke: “The Mistress”

posted in: Joke, Word Nerd 4
Mary Robinson, b. 1757, Bristol England. Famous for poetry, novels, acting -- and for being the first public mistress of George IV.
Mary Robinson, b. 1757, Bristol England. Famous for poetry, novels, acting — and for being the first public mistress of George IV.

I am fan of jokes. I love jokes!

There’s a small suitcase of jokes in my brain. I frequently find opportunities to pull them out. Some are not appropriate in mixed company, many are highly appropriate in mixed company, and many of them serve to blend everyone: humor is the great equalizer. I have no choice but to have and hold my little jokes; creating and maintaining a solid, if modest, joke repertoire is necessary if I’m ever to be described as a raconteur. I have a long way to go (too excitable) but you have to make a start on these things.


Reading a joke is a different experience than hearing someone tell it, but I kinda like reading them. I’ve never tried writing them down, though. Today is the day. Let me be clear: I didn’t write this joke; this is an old joke that I am telling in my own way, here on PaperGirl. I’m not sure I’ve ever written a joke from scratch. I think I’d remember, don’t you? That’s the next step.

For now, know what you’re reading:

joke |jōk|
a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, esp. a story with a funny punchline: she was in a mood to tell jokes.

Let’s begin.

A husband and wife are having dinner at an extremely chi-chi restaurant in the city. Lobster tails, pate, stuff like that.

Right before the dessert course, this gorgeous young woman comes over to the couple’s table. She waltzes up and kisses the husband smack on the lips! She’s like, “I’ll see you later, tiger.” And she sashays away.

The wife freaks out, of course. “Who the hell was that?” she hisses.

“That’s my mistress,” says the husband.

“That’s it,” says the wife. “I’m done. Enough of this sham — I want a divorce!”

The husband chews his steak. A divorce would be very costly and disruptive. He takes a swig of wine.

“I can understand your desire to leave me,” he replies. “But consider: if we get a divorce, say goodbye to the country club. There will be no more skiing trips to the Alps. No more Bentley, no more Rolls. Yacht club, gone. Summers in Tuscany, gone. Your little side trips to Chanel will end. But the decision is yours.”

At that moment, the couple’s mutual friend Larry enters the restaurant with a sexy young thing on his arm.

“Who’s that woman with Larry?” asks the wife.

“That’s his mistress,” says her husband.

The wife take a bite of salad and says, “Well, ours is prettier.”