Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old Joke

A 70-year-old, and 80-year-old and a 90-year-old were sitting around at the nursing home discussing their health.

The 70-year-old said, “My health is pretty good. In fact, my life would be perfect if I could just take a healthy piss.”

The 80-year-old nodded. “My health is pretty good, too. In fact, my life would be perfect if I could just take a healthy shit.”

The 90-year-old shook his head. “Every morning at 7 o’clock, I take a healthy piss. Every morning at 8 o’clock I take a healthy shit. My life would be perfect if I could just wake up before 9 o’clock.”

This is not my joke.

I heard it on HBO back in the 1980’s (maybe even the 1970’s) on a pre-historic version of “Last Comic Standing.” The winner told the joke as a John Wayne impersonation. It turned out that, even though he was very funny, comedy wasn’t his true love and he couldn’t wait to ditch her for the girl of his dreams – directing movies. He used his 15 minutes of fame (okay, it was more like 90 seconds) to beg for an opportunity to do that.

If anyone remembers his name, please leave a comment. I’d like to research what happened to him, because I’m interested to learn whether he was successful in making the transition.

Because here’s the thing: this is a guy with perfect comic timing, but he didn’t really like comedy.

He reminds me of a programmer I used to work with. She was really good – she once wrote a nine-dimensional table (even if you’re not a programmer, just try to conceive of tracking something in nine dimensions – it makes my brain hurt to even think about it) but she hated office work. She wanted an outdoor job. So, she quit and became a meter-reader for the local utility company. And, up until the day that a Doberman chewed off a big chunk of her right calf, she loved it. (Despite some very weird stuff that happened to her, like the guys playing poker who locked her in the basement and kept laughing while she pounded on the door, trying to get out, or the guy who led her past the open door of a room where he had his naked girlfriend tied to the bed.)

It’s hard for me to fathom someone who has a gift to excel at something, but isn’t really interested in that thing. It would be like Mozart saying, “Music’s not really my bag. What I really want to do is carpentry.”

Or, I like to think, me spending the last 33 years in IT, instead of writing this goofy stuff.


  1. Mr. Horton had been laughing himself silly. He had grown up around wonderful women, practically all of them smart and funny, but he never knew a gal one like this one. She had this intellectual muscle that made a man want to stand around the corner and wait....just to make sure she wasn't gonna spring claws and trap him into some kind of cat and mouse game.
    "Dang it, she can write some funny anecdotes...and still be wholesome, ornery, and adorable all at once", he thought.

    Just then, the movie was over and he woke up. He walked out of the back door and felt the heat of East Dayton punch him in the nose. He fell stunned onto the stony alley behind the Alhambra, glass cutting his elbow as usual.

    He looked up and saw her standing there in the year 2009. She looked down at him and laughed, " Don't you see who I am?"

    Mr. Horton tried to be cool and adapted his best impression of Morgan Freeman and replied, " How you know how I see, lessin' you can see out my eyes?"

    Mr. Horton thought about calling his good friend Dale Huffman and sayin, "You really gotta check out this Miss Raisy. She's somethin' else!"


  2. If Ms. Raisy were half as clever as she likes to think she is, she’d have figured out the Torrance/Horton connection out before this, but, as anyone who has been acquainted with her for any time at all knows, she has a tendency to get focused in on one thing and ignore all extraneous details. (aka “head up her butt” syndrome)

    Ms. Raisy would be extremely grateful for any assistance in promoting her blog, which she dreams of parlaying into an income-generating proposition, allowing her to stay home and write instead of re-entering the corporate world, where she has always felt alien.

    Now that I know you grew up in East Dayton in the 60’s, though, I can challenge you to a trivia contest based on the Elvis epic, “Blue Hawaii,” which the Alhambra must have owned, since it showed as the second feature on about half the double-bills there. To this day, when I see that that movie is scheduled for the late-late show on some local channel, I’m back in the buttered popcorn-scented atmosphere of the old theater, finding my seat by the flickering light of the previews, and knowing the 50-cent admission price will take me somewhere else for a few hours – England, Paris, 17th century Scotland.

    But mostly Hawaii.


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