Old clean jokes
The joke maker’s association had a feast. They exploited their humorous abilities, and all made merry, save one glum guest. At last, they insisted that this melancholy person should contribute to the entertainment. He consented, in response to much urging, to offer a conundrum:
“What is the difference between me and a turkey?”
When none could guess the answer, the glum individual explained:
“I am alive. They stuff turkeys with chestnuts after they are dead.”
The urchin was highly excited, and well he might be when we consider his explanation:
“They got twins up to sisters. One twin, he’s a boy, an’ one twin, she’s a girl, an’ so I’m a uncle an’ a aunt.”
* * *
The bridegroom, who was in a horribly nervous condition, appealed to the clergyman in a loud whisper, at the close of the ceremony:
“Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?”
The clergyman might have replied:
“Not yet, but soon.”
* * *
The young man addressed the old grouch:
“When a fellow has taken a girl to a show, and fed her candy, and given her supper, and taken her home[Pg 139] in a taxi, shouldn’t she let a fellow kiss her good-night?”
The old grouch snorted.
“Humph! He’s already done more than enough for her.”
The subject of kissing was debated with much earnestness for a half hour between the girl and her young man caller. The fellow insisted that it was always possible for a man to kiss a girl at will, whether she chose to permit it or not. The maiden was firm in maintaining that such was not the case. Finally, it was decided that the only solution of the question must be by a practical demonstration one way or the other. So, they tried it. They clinched, and the battle was on. After a lively tussle, they broke away. The girl had been kissed-ardently for a period of minutes. Her comment showed an undaunted spirit:
“Oh, well, you really didn’t win fair. My foot slipped … Let’s try it again.”
* * *
The tiny boy fell down and bumped his head. His Uncle Bill picked the child up, with the remark:
“Now I’ll kiss it, and the pain will all be gone.”
The youngster recovered his smiles under the treatment, and then, as he was set down, addressed his uncle eagerly:
“Come down in the kitchen-the cook has the toothache.”
* * *
Some Scottish deacons were famous, if not notorious, for the readiness with which they could expound any passage of Scripture. It is recorded of a certain elder that as he read and commented on the thirty-fourth Psalm, he misread the sentence, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” He carelessly read the last two words: “squeaking girls.” But the astonishing phrase did not dismay him in the least, or cause him to hesitate in his exegesis. He expounded instantly and solemnly:
“It is evident from this passage, my brethren, that the Scripture does not absolutely forbid kissing, but, as in Christianity everything is to be done decently and in order, we are here encouraged by this passage to choose rather those girls that take it quietly, in preference to those that squeak under the operation.”
Josh Billings said:
“Laff every time yu pheel tickled-and laff once in a while enny how.”
The lawyer explained to the client his scale of prices:
“I charge five dollars for advising you as to just what the law permits you to do. For giving you advice as to the way you can safely do what the law forbids, my minimum fee is one hundred dollars.”
* * *
Some physicians direct their patients to lie always on the right side, declaring that it is injurious to the health to lie on both sides. Yet, lawyers as a class enjoy good health.
“What did you do last night?”
“I went to a slight-of-hand performance. Called on Laura Sears, and offered her my hand, and she slighted it.”
“Did you give up anything during Lent?” one man asked another.
“Yes,” was the reply, uttered with a heavy sigh. “I gave up fifty dollars for a new Easter bonnet.”
The World War has incited veterans of the Civil War to new reminiscences of old happenings. One of these is based on the fact that furloughs were especially difficult to obtain when the Union army was in front of Petersburg, Virginia. But a certain Irishman was resolved to get a furlough in spite of the ban. He went to the colonel’s tent, and was permitted to enter. He saluted, and delivered himself thus:
“Colonel, I’ve come to ax you to allow me the pleasure of a furlough for a visit home. I’ve been in the field now three years, an’ never home yet to see me family. An’ I jest had a letter from me wife wantin’ av me to come home to see her an’ the children.”
The colonel shook his head decisively.
“No, Mike,” he replied. “I’m sorry, but to tell the truth, I don’t think you ought to go home. I’ve jest had a letter from your wife myself. She doesn’t want you to come home. She writes me that you’d only get drunk, and disgrace her and the children. So you’d better stay right here until your term of service expires.”
“All right, sir,” Mike answered, quite cheerfully. He[Pg 143] saluted and went to the door of the tent. Then he faced about.
“Colonel dear,” he inquired in a wheedling voice, “would ye be after pardonin’ me for a brief remark jist at this toime?”
“Yes, certainly,” the officer assented.
“Ye won’t git mad an’ put me in the guard house for freein’ me mind, so to spake?”
“No, indeed! Say what you wish to.”
“Well, thin, Colonel darlint, I’m afther thinkin’ thar are at the prisint moment in this tint two of the biggest liars in all the Army of the Potomic, an’ sure I’m one av thim-I have no wife.”
A certain famous preacher when preaching one Sunday in the summer time observed that many among the congregation ware drowsing. Suddenly, then, he paused, and afterward continued in a loud voice, relating an incident that had no connection whatever with his sermon. This was to the following effect:
“I was once riding along a country road. I came to the house of a farmer, and halted to observe one of the most remarkable sights I have ever seen. There was a sow with a litter of ten little pigs. This sow and each of her offspring had a long curved horn growing out of the forehead between the ears.”
The clergyman again paused, and ran his eye over the congregation. Everybody was now wide-awake. He thereupon remarked:
“Behold how strange! A few minutes since, when I[Pg 144] was telling you the truth, you went to sleep. But now when you have heard a whopping lie, you are all wide-awake.”
The woman was strong-minded, and she was religious, and she was also afflicted with a very feminine fear of thunder storms. She was delivering an address at a religious convention when a tempest suddenly broke with din of thunder and flare of lightning. Above the noise of the elements, her voice was heard in shrill supplication:
“O Lord, take us under Thy protecting wings, for Thou knowest that feathers are splendid non-conductors.”
The kindergarten teacher questioned her tiny pupil:
“Do you know, Jennie, what a panther is?”
“Yeth, ma’am,” Jennie replied, beaming. “A panther ith a man who makes panth.”
The class had been told by the teacher to write compositions in which they must not attempt any flights of fancy, but should only state what was really in them. The star production from this command was a composition written by a boy who was both sincere and painstaking. It ran as follows:
“I shall not attempt any flites of fancy, but wright just what is really in me. In me there is my stommick, lungs, liver, two apples, two cakes and my dinner.”
The visitor from the city stopped in at the general store of the village, and inquired:
“Have you anything in the shape of automobile tires?”
“Yep,” the store-keeper answered briskly, “life-preservers, invalid cushions, funeral wreaths, doughnuts, an’ sich.”
The mother came on her little son who was standing thoughtfully before the gooseberry bush in the garden. She noted that his expression was both puzzled and distressed.
“Why, what’s the matter, little lamb?” she asked tenderly.
“I’m finkin, muvver,” the boy answered.
“What about, little man?”
“Have gooseberries any legs, muvver?”
“Why, no! Of course not, dear.”
The perplexity passed from the little boy’s face, but the expression of trouble deepened, as he spoke again:
“Then, muvver, I fink I’ve swallowed a catapillar.”
The two old Scotchmen played a round of seventeen holes without a word exchanged between them. As they[Pg 146] came to the eighteenth green, Sandy surveyed the lie, and muttered:
Quoth Tammas, with a snarl:
The philosopher calmly defined the exact difference between life and love:
“Life is just one fool thing after another: love is just two fool things after each other.”
LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT
The little girl came in tears to her mother.
“God doesn’t love me,” she sobbed.
“Of course, God loves you,” the mother declared. “How did you ever come to get such an idea?”
“No,” the child persisted, “He doesn’t love me. I know-I tried Him with a daisy.”
The pessimist quoted from his own experience at poker in illustration of the general cussedness of things:
“Frequent, I have sot in a poker game, and it sure is queer how things will turn out. I’ve sot hour after hour in them games, without ever takin’ a pot. And then, ‘long about four o’clock in the mornin’, the luck’d turn-it’d take a turn for the worse.”
* * *
“How did you find your steak?” asked the waiter of a patron in the very expensive restaurant.
“Just luck,” the hungry man replied, sadly. “I happened to move that small piece of potato, and there it was!”
* * *
The new reporter wrote his concluding paragraph concerning the murder as follows:
“Fortunately for the deceased, he had deposited all of his money in the bank the day before. He lost practically nothing but his life.”
* * *
The editor of the country paper went home to supper, smiling radiantly.
“Have you had some good luck?” his wife questioned.
“Luck! I should say so. Deacon Tracey, who hasn’t paid his subscription for ten years, came in and stopped his paper.”
The lunatic peered over the asylum wall, and saw a man fishing from the bank of the river that ran close by. It was raining hard, which cooled the fevered brow of the lunatic and enabled him to think with great clearness. In consequence, he called down to the drenched fisherman:
The man on the bank looked up, and shook his head glumly.
“How long you been there?” the lunatic next demanded.
“Three hours,” was the answer.
The lunatic grinned hospitably, and called down an invitation:
The retired colonel, who had seen forty years of active service, gave his body servant, long his orderly, explicit instructions:
“Every morning, at five sharp, Sam, you are to wake me up, and say, ‘Time for the parade, sir.’
“Then, I’ll say, ‘Damn the parade!’ and turn over and go to sleep again.”
The juryman petitioned the court to be excused, declaring:
“I owe a man twenty-five dollars that I borrowed, and as he is leaving town to-day for some years I want to catch him before he gets to the train and pay him the money.”
“You are excused,” the judge announced in a very cold voice. “I don’t want anybody on the jury who can lie like you.”
* * *
The tender young mother detected her baby boy in a deliberate lie. With tears in her eyes, and a catch in[Pg 149] her voice, she sought to impress upon him the enormity of his offense.
“Do you know,” she questioned severely, “what happens to little boys who tell falsehoods?”
The culprit shook his head in great distress, and the mother explained carefully:
“Why, a great big black man, with horns on his head and one eye in the center of his forehead, comes along and grabs the little boy who has told a falsehood, and flies with him up to the moon, and keeps him there sifting ashes all the rest of his life. You won’t ever tell another falsehood, will you, darling? It’s wicked!”
Mother’s baby boy regarded the speaker with round-eyed admiration.
“Oh, ma,” he gurgled, “what a whopper!”
“I wish I could know how many men will be made wretched when I get married,” said the languishing coquette to her most intimate confidante.
“I’ll tell you,” came the catty answer, “if you’ll tell me how many men you’re going to marry.”
The unhappy man explained the cause of his wretchedness:
“I’ve never made a speech in my life. But last night at the dinner at the club they insisted on my making some remarks, and I got up, and began like this:
“As I was sitting on my thought, a seat struck me.”
It is told of Prince Herbert Bismarck that at a reception in the Royal Palace in Berlin he rudely jostled a high dignitary of the Italian church. In answer to the prelate’s expression of annoyance, the Prince drew himself haughtily erect, and said, “I am Herbert Bismarck.”
“Ah,” replied the churchman, “that fact is perhaps an apology; certainly, it is a complete explanation.”
* * *
The tenderfoot in the Western town asked for coffee and rolls at the lunch counter. He was served by the waitress, and there was no saucer for the cup.
“What about the saucer?” he asked.
The girl explained:
“We don’t hand out saucers no more. We found, if we did, like’s not, some low-brow would drift in an’ drink out of the saucer, an’ that ain’t good fer trade. This here is a swell dump.”
* * *
After treading rather heavily on her foot, the man in the street car made humble apology to the woman. She listened in grim silence, and, when he had made an end, spoke very much to the point:
“That’s it! Walk all over a body’s feet, an’ then blat about how sorry you be. Well, I jest want you to understand that if I wasn’t a puffick lady, I’d slap your dirty face!”
During the Saturday night revels in a frontier town, the scrawniest and skinniest beanpole-type citizen got shot in the leg. The only doctor in the town had done celebrating and gone to bed. A posse of citizens pounded on the doctor’s door, until he thrust his head out of a window.
“Whazzamazzer?” he called down.
“Comea-runnin’, Doc. Joe Jinks’s been shot.”
“In the laig.”
“Some shootin’!” And the doctor slammed the window shut.
Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.
* * *
The mild little husband was appealing to the court for protection from the large, bony belligerent and baleful female who was his wife.
“Let us begin at the beginning,” said the judge. “Where did you first meet this woman who has thus abused you?”
The little man shuddered, and looked everywhere except at his wife as he replied:
“I never did, so to say, meet up with her. She jest naturally overtook me.”
* * *
An African newspaper recently carried the following advertisement:
Small nicely furnished house, nice
locality, from August 1st, for
nearly married couple.
* * *
The solemn ceremony of marriage was being performed for the blushing young bride and the elderly gentleman who had been thrice widowed. There was a sound of loud sobs from the next room. The guests were startled, but a member of the bridegroom’s family explained:
“That’s only our Jane. She always cries when Pa is gettin’ married.”
* * *
* * *
Deacon Gibbs explained why he had at last decided to move into town in spite of the fact that he had always declared himself a lover of life in the country. But his explanation was clear and conclusive.
“My third wife, Mirandy, she don’t like the country, an’ what Mirandy she don’t like, I jist nacherly hev to hate.”
* * *
The wife suggested to her husband that he should pay back to her the dollar he had borrowed the week before.
“But,” the husband protested indignantly, “I’ve already paid that dollar back to you twice! You can’t expect me to pay it again!”
“Oh, very well,” the wife retorted with a contemptuous sniff, “never mind, since you are as mean as that.”
* * *
The very youthful son of a henpecked father was in a gloomy mood, rebellious against the conditions of his life. He announced a desperate purpose:
“I’m going to get married. I’m bossed by pa an ma, an’ teacher, an’ I ain’t going to stan’ for it. I’m going to get married right smack off. A married man ain’t bossed by nobody ‘cept his wife.”
* * *
The woman was six feet tall and broad and brawny in proportion. The man was a short five feet, anemic and wobegone. The woman haled him before the justice of the peace with a demand that he marry her or go to jail.
“Did you promise to marry this lady?” the justice asked.
“Guilty, your honor,” was the answer.
The justice turned to the woman: “Are you determined to marry this man?”
“I am!” she snapped.
“Join hands,” the justice commended. When they had done so he raised his own right hand impressively and spoke solemnly:
“I pronounce you twain woman and husband.”
* * *
A lady received a visit from a former maid three months after the girl had left to be married.
“And how do you like being married?” the lady inquired.
The bride replied with happy enthusiasm:
“Oh, it’s fine, ma’am-getting married is! Yes’m, it’s fine! but, land’s sake, ma’am,” she added suddenly, “ain’t it tedious!”