Cumberland Times-News

Columns

December 28, 2013

If you’ve heard seven, you’ve heard them all

I get to read my buddy Maude’s column before you do (and before she gets to read mine), and she sometimes provides a spark of inspiration.

Her efforts today reminded me of a conversation I frequently have with some of my contemporaries.

It has to do with the fact that although we have heard most of the existing jokes, in one form or another, we still have the fun of inflicting them upon younger folks who haven’t heard them.

Legend has it that there are only seven basic jokes. Having spent four years in high school riding in football, basketball and track team buses, I have heard virtually all versions of them.

A friend of mine is a retired Navy chief, and he heard the same jokes on shipboard that I did on those buses. It is our impression that jokes take about 30 years to make it from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast and back again, because that’s the frequency with which we hear them.

Here, then, is a story I last remember telling my old friend Frank Calemine one day while we were out hunting or fishing, and that’s been a good 30 years.

I heard a version of it not long ago, so like a homing pigeon it has found its way home again.

A farmer is down on his luck after his crops had failed due to a drought and is telling a neighbor about his woes.

The neighbor has an idea.

“You know that sow of your’n?” he asks. “Why don’t you take her down the road and innerduce her to that boar hog of Old Man Zigafoose’s? You’ll get some piglets out of that, and piglets bring good money.”

The farmer brightens up for a moment, but then his face clouds over.

“How’m I gonna do that?” he asks the other man. “My truck’s broke down and I ain’t got no money to fix it.”

“You got a wheelbarrow, ain’cha?” the neighbor asks, and the farmer says he does.

Soon as the farmer gets home, he calls Old Man Zigafoose and makes the necessary arrangements. Old Man Zigafoose says all he needs out of the deal is one of the piglets.

Next morning, the farmer is up bright and early. He goes to the shed, fetches the wheelbarrow and heads to the sow’s pen.

Bear in mind that this sow has been eating well — even if nobody else on the farm has.

It takes the farmer a bit of coaxing and heaving to get the sow into the wheelbarrow, and then he faces the task of manhandling her down a bumpy and rutted dirt road to Old Man Zigafoose’s place, a mile or so away.

The journey is downhill, which means the farmer has to keep putting on the brakes to keep the wheelbarrow from running away ... only there are no brakes except those he was born with. The return trip is, of course, uphill — and that requires considerable shoving and grunting on the farmer’s part.

Anyway, the sow and the boar are introduced to each other and quickly become friends.

The farmer returns the sow to her pen and the wheelbarrow to the shed, then goes into the house to take a hot bath and have dinner.

Next morning, he looks out the window and sees the sow alone in her pen.

“Damnation,” he mutters. “They ain’t no piglets. I reckon it didn’t take.”

You’re probably thinking the same thing I’m thinking. Since we’re both on the same page, we’ll let it go at that.

The farmer gets dressed, goes to the shed and gets the wheelbarrow, takes it to the sow’s pen and farmerhandles her into it. Down the road they go to Old Man Zigafoose’s.

The boar immediately recognizes his new buddies and is happy to see them.

Next morning, the scene plays out again: No piglets. And it’s the same every morning for a week. After a couple of days, the farmer just leaves the wheelbarrow in the sow’s pen.

Finally, it happens that the farmer finds that he can’t get of bed. Everything from the top of his head on down hurts. He hurts in places he didn’t even know he had.

So he calls to his wife.

“Look out the window,” he says, “and tell me if they’s any piglets.”

“Ain’t no piglets,” says his wife, “but the sow is in the wheelbarrow waitin’ on you!”

——————

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Cathy and Harry, our friends who come to visit the captain and me at Gettysburg, and their daughters.

Daughter Sarah told us she has pretty much gotten over a penchant for laying her chapsticks out in a row, arranging them in an order that would be of no significance to anyone but her.

“I just put them in a jar, now,” she said.

Cathy used to move Sarah’s chapsticks around now and then, just to mess with her.

We had heard about Sarah, but never got to meet her until earlier this year.

Cathy told us, “You probably thought she was our made-up daughter.”

No, I said. Hannah is the made-up daughter. That would be the Diva Princess — age 15, or DP-15 for short. She will become DP-16 right around the time I become JG-66.

DP-15 had discovered makeup when we got together earlier this year (which makes her the made-up daughter). She seems to be concentrating on her eyes, but is doing it well. Not overdoing it.

I told her that a number of years ago, the style people thought they would try to get men interested in using makeup.

Other than appealing to some of the metrosexuals — look it up if you need to — the idea went over like a (flatulence event) in church.

“Goldy,” said DP-15, “I could give you a complete makeover, if you like.”

“Honey,” I told her, “you didn’t bring enough equipment to do that.”

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • Build it now Build it now

    Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fronts, highs, lows determine weather

    Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.

    July 13, 2014