Words & Stuff

b: I've Jibe and Joke (Reader Comments)

(5 February 1997)

Elliott Moreton wrote:

I've heard the "no subject" story as a Gladstone-Disraeli joke (so it was a Jewish prime minister, so sue me), where G. says he's heard that D. is so clever he can make a joke on any subject, and then dares him to make one on Victoria -- a personal friend of Disraeli's. "Sir, H.M. is no subject."

Dominus sent in a joke about a tunnel:

Four passengers are in a second-class train compartment en route to Moscow. There is an old woman, a young woman, a Russian soldier, and a Czech.

The train goes into a tunnel. Everything is dark. There is the sound of a kiss, and then the sound of someone being slapped.

When the train emerges from the tunnel, the old woman thinks, "Good for her! The soldier tried to kiss her when the lights were out, and she let him have it!"

The young woman thinks, "What a funny soldier. I wonder why he tried to kiss the old woman instead of me?"

The soldier thinks, "That Czech guy sure is smart! He kisses the girl, and i'm the one who gets hit."

The Czech thinks, "I sure am smart! I got away with slapping a Russian soldier, and all I had to do was kiss the back of my hand.

And Peter (my father) told me that the whole bit about the tunnel was wrong anyway:

[I]n my recollection, I was never asked to tell one about a tunnel. In fact, I believe the first time I offered this entertainment, I was asked to tell one about an Indian. I told about one who had an extraordinary memory. He was asked by a tourist, "What did you have for breakfast twenty years ago today?" He replied, "Eggs..." Ten years later, the tourist again sees the same (elephantine) Indian, and greets him: "How!" The Indian replies, "Scrambled."

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Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>