And on the sixth day…

A friend told me a joke the other day:
“How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?”
Answer: “None. Feminists can’t change anything.”

Alright, pretty much the funniest joke I ever heard. And then the friend said, “Yeah, Ryan came up with that the other day.”

He came up with that? I’m a little skeptical. People don’t just come up with jokes. They’re just there. Nobody writes them.

“Yeah,” another friend said. “The jokes have been here always, like God created them on the sixth day.”

But it did make me think. Where do jokes come from? Who writes it? I guess somebody must.

In a research paper, when quoting something you didn’t write, you must
cite your sources. Can you imagine if we had to do that for jokes?

“Two men walked into a bar. The third one ducked. Copyright John Smith 1983.”

“Why did the turtle cross the playground? To get to the other slide (Rogers 51).”

“Mary Bennett said in 1995 that a man went into a library and
approached a librarian. According to Bennett, the man said, ‘Hi, can I
have a hamburger?’ Bennett continues that the librarian exclaimed,
“What are you talking about? This is a library.’ The man, Bennett
writes, said, in a whisper, ‘Oh, sorry. Can I have a hamburger?'”

My dad had a story about this that I thought was funny.
    “I used to write limericks on the wall of the men’s room in Annie May
Swift Hall. I signed them ‘J’ or ‘Collected by J,’ as I thought that
the writers should get credit for their creativity.
    “So one day, at some kind of fancy dinner, I ran
into the Dean of the School of Speech. He said to me, ‘Are you J?’ I
said, ‘I’m not saying I am, and I’m not saying I’m not, but if you buy
the paint, I’ll repaint the bathroom.’
    “So the next day, there were a couple of gallons of
white paint by the door to the bathroom. (I was a house painter during
college, so I had all of the appropriate equipment.) So I painted the
bathroom, and did a darn good job of it.
    “I don’t endorse vandalism, of course, but I also promote creativity.”
–Jonathan Lehrer, 2005

So, in the future, try citing your jokes. Give credit where credit is due!

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8 thoughts on “And on the sixth day…

  1. The more I hear about your dad, the more I like him. Was this during the same conversation where you guys wrote a limerick about me?

  2. By the way, I don’t think that feminist joke is that funny, considering how much feminists have changed. I mean, do you consider you should have the right to vote? Thank feminists. Do you think that when you are married you might use birth control (whether the pill or even just a condom) to limit the number of children you have to whatever number you want to have, say, 2 or 3 or 4 or 5? Thank feminists. Do you think that you should be paid for your work the same amount as a man would be paid for that same work, and that if you were married or pregnant, your boss shouldn’t be allowed to fire you solely on that basis? Thank feminists. Feminists can totally change stuff – they have already many times. Just saying.

    As for your jokes, well, I always give the Lehrer family credit when I use one of theirs. But now I’m wondering if it was even yours to begin with – maybe I’ve been citing the wrong people this whole time!

  3. Alright, alright, I’m sorry if I offended you and anyone else.

    While I find the joke humorous, I do not agree with it, as is the same with many jokes.

    For example, I do not advocate the killing of babies. However, dead baby jokes are sort of a little funny.

    I also highly respect the Jewish religion and I think that it should be saved for humans only to practice it. However, when a joke mentions a parrot or a dog wearing a tallit and davening, it’s kind of funny.

    It is also not good for a Hebrew-speaking bear to attempt to eat Jewish hunters. But, hey, in a joke about that very topic (ask if you haven’t heard it), I’ll admit that I laugh.

    I also have many blonde friends, such as yourself, and many others. I would venture to guess, however, that even you yourself might chuckle upon hearing a blonde joke.

    I have a great deal of respect for string and brass players. But saying that you take off your shoes to jump on a trampoline but not a viola–that’s funny. And saying that the difference between a large pizza and a trombone player is that a large pizza can feed a family of four–also funny.

    So I do deeply apologize for offending you. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to laugh at the jokes I tell in the future.

    I can’t think of a funny way to end this post. Sorry. Everyone close your eyes and think of your favorite joke. Ahh, that’s better.

  4. Haha, I was not offended, I merely did not find the joke funny, and wanted to mention the misnomer (being that feminists cannot change anything) to ensure that future jokes are funnier.

    As a blond Jewish brass player, I admit that all three genres of jokes are funny (as are those about woodwinds or conductors, as well as those that are just plain punny).

    I will be certain to laugh at more of your jokes in the future, that is if I have not already heard Michael and/or your father tell them.

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