Thursday, November 26, 2009


So this week in class, we're teaching a lesson on American jokes. Never has their been a comedy audience simultaneously so perfect (in that they haven't even heard the "A man walked into a bar and said, 'Ow'" joke) and so awful (in that some of them don't know what the word "bar" means).

Many of you might be grumbling that there are a lot more important things than jokes, and many of you might be right, but I will say that many non-native English speakers don't know how to properly participate in knock-knock jokes, and so I'm doing them a real service by teaching them that. Of course, every time I teach this lesson, halfway through I remember, oh wait, I hate knock-knock jokes. "Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning" can only get you so far in life, comedically speaking.

There are good knock-knock jokes, but most of them are anti-knock-knock jokes (including my favorite one, which is unfortunately impossible to type), and the ones that aren't involve September 11th. So what's a teacher supposed to do?

Well, what a teacher is supposed to do is look on wikipedia, which is exactly what I did, where I found what I believe to be the best knock-knock joke of all time.

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Sobers. [The reader at this time thinks that the legendary Gary Sobers is perhaps at the door]
Sobers who?
Sau baras se khatkhata rahen hain, Ab to darwazaa kholo. [This last Hindi line meaning "I have been knocking on the door for a long time; please open it" changes the complete orientation of the reader, where Sobers becomes "Sau baras" or a hundred years (figuratively signifying a long period)]

Wikipedia obviously knows me very well, because my thought process while reading this joke went something like: "Wait, could it be -- it is! The legendary Gary Sobers!!!!!!!!!!! wait why is someone talking to me in Hindi." But if Gary Sobers comes to your door, man -- better ask him to sign your Wifflepoofter. I challenge anyone prove that that is not a real cricket term.

Anyway, one of the jokes that I tell to my students (or, actually, have one of my students tell to the rest of the class) goes like this:
Q: What does the elephant say to the naked man?
A: It's cute, but can you really breathe through that thing?
I don't explain the joke (because I don't want to get accused of sexual harassment haha!!), but I give the students a few seconds to think about it, and, invariably, the female students who get the joke react with revulsion and terror. Welcome to China, where to 16 year old girls the very idea of the existence of a penis is utterly horrifying.

Hey, speaking of jokes, guess what came in this beautiful silk lined golden package?


The protein powder that Gus and I bought yesterday, another step in our (seemingly quixotic) quest to weigh more than 140 pounds.