Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I just realized...

...that it's but 3 weeks to the Inauguration. Gawd, it'll be good to have complete sentences in the White House again. Someone who can say "nuclear" rather than "noohkyaler" and "Social Security" rather than "Sosh' Sekyertee" and who doesn't sound like he's spitting or drooling when he speaks. Someone with a measurable IQ. I have so missed that the past 8 years.

Debriding the office

No, there shall be no photos, as it's rather ugly work. But I am debriding the office, which is a layer removal job. It's working out nicely: I've sifted a huge stack of magazines and put the ones that I don't need into a box. STC magazines are sorted and in a box. (I'm not reading them at the moment, but they're at least neat and tidy.) Piles of mail is in the box for shredding and I've got about 20 Yule cards that I haven't opened yet. And there's floor and desk space opening up.

Best of all, I'm pulling all the bills together for putting together taxes for 2008. That'll be nice to get done.

SpeakerSite.com: a website for professional speakers

There's a new website that I've signed up on, called SpeakerSite.com. It's aimed at professional speakers of all stripes. It's very interesting. I'm enjoying being outside my normal venue. I'd really like to try my hand at more speaking, particularly more well-paid speaking.

I started a SIG within the site for authors, which is about to become the most popular SIG on the whole site. Well, well, well, I tapped into something there!

If you're interested in hanging out online with speakers, sign up. Feel free to ping connect with me when you get there.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Telling the dumbest joke in the world

I was reminded by a "punchlines-only" blog forum elsewhere of something I hadn't thought of for a while. It's a story about the dumbest joke in the world.

In August of 1996, when I was dating the former g/f, I had been at her house and I was leaving late in the evening. She was standing on her porch and I said "Wait, wait, wait, I have a joke to tell you."

"Okay," she said, "Tell me your joke and then go home."

"Two carrots are walking down the street," I say. She looks at me with this look of "You're telling me a joke about carrots?!??" (Trust me, I've seen this kind of look before; I was unfazed by this from her.)

"So, they're walking down the street and they get to a crosswalk. One of the carrots starts to cross against the light--"

"Carrots are crossing against the light??" she says.

"--so one of them starts to cross the street against the light and the other carrot says 'Hey, that's not safe,' and the first carrot says 'Hey, I can see for blocks and there's nobody coming.' The second carrot says 'I dunno; I think I'll wait until the light changes,' and the first carrot says 'Suit yourself.'

"The first carrot makes it halfway across the street and a truck comes screaming around the corner on a left-turn and BLAM! There's carrot juice everywhere. They rush the carrot to the hospital and they're operating on him in emergency surgery. The other carrot is pacing back and forth and back and forth in the waiting room. Five hours later, the surgeon comes out and says 'You a friend of that carrot in there?' and the carrot says 'Yes, I am.' The surgeon says 'I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we saved your friend. The bad news is that he's going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.'"

At this point, I crack up. This is, after all, one boffo joke and I do tell it well if I say so myself. It's really funny stuff. Said former g/f is laughing some and looking a bit shocked. (Bless 'er, that was a bit easy to do sometimes.) I go home. She did say later that she was appalled that I was telling her a joke about two carrots and tried to claim that she was laughing only because I was laughing so hard. A-hem, yes, well, I didn't believe this for a moment, but I also knew that she'd hate to admit that she'd actually found a joke that dumb to be funny.

Fast forward a couple months. I'm spending the night over there and she's going to drop me at the airport early in the morning. I'm heading out to speak at my first STC regional conference elsewhere in the country. I'm going to be well-received, I know, but I'm still really quite nervous because I knew virtually nobody there at that point except for a few folks that I'd only met at the STC annual conference in May. We're snuggled up in bed and I'm expressing my nervousness about this appearance and the g/f is bolstering my courage.

"You make friends easily and they really want you to be there and you'll be a hit, so don't worry."

"Well, that's true," I said.

"You'll be able to tell them stories, too."

"Yes, that'd be fun!" I said, brightening.

"And you can always tell them the joke about the two carrots," she said. I made a noise of assent, further cheered.

We were okay up 'till that point, but then she ventured onto the really thin ice: "That's got to be the dumbest joke in the world."

"Oh, no, it's not!" I said with great alacrity, followed by "Three strings walk into a bar--"

"You know a joke about STRING??!?!?!?"

"THREE STRINGS WALK INTO A BAR," I said loudly, and I then proceeded to tell her the three strings joke. (I repeat it here only in case you've not heard this but that's not the point of this whole anecdote.)
Three strings walk into the bar. They sat down and they didn't get waited on so the first string walked up to the bar and asked for three whiskies. The bartender said, "I'm sorry, we don't serve strings in here." The string walks back to the table and and tells his friends what the bartender said.

"I've been here before and gotten a drink; I'll take care of it," said the second string. The second sting walks up to the bar and politely asks the bartender for three beers. The bartender says, "I thought I told your buddy we don't serve strings in here." So the second string walks back and and tells his friends what has happened.

The third string says "I come in here all the time. Let me take care of it." The third string unravels one end and then unravels the other end and then ties this big hairy knot in the middle and sorta wobbles up to the bar and says "Gimme three whiskies!" to the bartender.

The bartender looks him up and down and says, "You a friend of those strings over there?"

"No," the string replies, "I'm a frayed knot!"
...And at that point, having delivered the punchline, I was careful to go absolutely deadpan.

There was this second or two pause while the punchline registered with the g/f and then she exploded laughing. After a few seconds of this, the outrage that I'd conned her with what, indeed, was probably the world's dumbest joke, hit her hard and she started growling loudly at me. Then the laughter would hit again. Then the outraged growling.

The laughter and the outrage seesawed back and forth about three times, at which point, she started losing control of extraneous things like her bladder and she leapt out of bed and ran to the bathroom, still alternating between laughing and growling. I heard her peeing in the other room, still laughing and growling.

By this time, I was laughing myself to the point of near unconsciousness. A moment later, there was a flushing noise from the direction of the bathroom, and a large, handsome naked g/f came tearing out of the bathroom and leapt on the bed on top of me and started slamming my shoulders onto the bed, screaming at me "OOOOOH!! OOOOOH!! I am so angry with you!!! You told me a joke about string and I listened to it!!!!"

I was laughing so hard that I couldn't have defended myself against, well, even three strings, let alone a really pissed, muscular woman who outweighed me by about 40 pounds and was slamming me repeatedly into the mattress. I just hooted and laughed until she ran out of steam. I'm frankly rather surprised under the circumstances that I still got laid that evening.

She dropped me off at the airport and I flew off to the conference. Yes, it was wonderful, and we ended up in the bar the first night swapping stories. I told them the whole saga that I've written down here. It was a huge hit and I made friends I've kept to this day.

And for the rest of my years together with the former g/f, people would occasionally meet her and say things like "Oh, you're the one he told the story about the three strings to!"