What's funny? What isn't? And why do I never get a laugh when I tell that joke about the moose?

Monday, October 4, 2010

P is for Pets

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
 Groucho Marx

Pets are funny for a couple of reasons: first because they behave like humans, and second because they DON’T behave like humans.

We laugh with recognition when a beloved pet tries to “use” the computer, or shows an “almost human” awareness. On the other hand, it also amuses us to see how little a canary cares about money, or how a cat spills water on electronics. (I'll tell you all about it later.)

I haven’t the statistics on tap, but seems pretty obvious that where many animals were originally domesticated to work for humans, those jobs are mostly done by machines today. Those domesticated animals are mostly kept as pets.

Yes, that’s right, animals were thrown out of work by automation.

The life of the wild animal versus the pet is particularly important to moralists and to folks like the people of PETA.

Wild animals need to hunt for every meal and a safe place to sleep. Pets are well fed and have a warm place to sleep (unless they’re fish, in which case they don’t want a warm place, and may not even sleep—I’m not sure.)

Wild animals are always in fear of whatever animal is higher up on the food chain. Pets don’t have to worry about predators—but on the other hand, they are frequently spay or neutered.

Let’s call it a wash.
After some thought, a woman selected a parrot from the pet store. The pet store owner warned the woman that she was not the parrot’s first owner. He’d been kept for years by a navy man, and had learned some bad habits. Bluntly, the parrot swore, well, like a sailor.

Despite this warning, the woman brought Polly home.

Within an hour, the mail carrier came, delivering the post. The woman brought out Polly to meet the mail man.

“#$@@!” said the parrot.

The postman smiled, and left quickly.

“Now, Polly, that wasn’t nice,” said the woman. “You mustn’t talk like that.”
Later that day, a neighbor appeared at the door to borrow a cup of sugar.

“#$@%!” said the parrot.

The neighbor gasped, dropped her measuring cup, and fled.

“Polly, I don’t want to have to warn you again,” said the woman. “Nice birds don’t speak that way. Now, the pastor is coming to visit this evening…if you don’t mind your language, I’ll have to punish you!”

That evening, the pastor comes by. He rings the doorbell, and the parrot shouts out:
“#&^@!!!” said the parrot.

Well, that was it. The woman apologized to the pastor, grabbed the parrot, shoved it into the freezer and slammed the door shut behind the bird.

After about ten minutes, a timid knocking came on the door of the freezer. The woman opened the freezer door and found the parrot, shivering and dispirited, standing in there.

“I’m sorry I spoke the way I did,” said the parrot.

“Well, you should be,” said the woman.

“If I promise never to speak that way again, will you let me out?” asked the bird.

“Yes,” said the woman.

“Okay,” said the bird. “I promise.” The parrot hopped out of the cage and onto the woman’s shoulder.

The parrot stood silently for a few minutes. Then he cleared his throat.

“I understand why you locked me in the freezer,” said the bird.

“You left me no choice,” said the woman.

“I know,” said the parrot. “I’ve just got one question: What did the chicken do?”

An elderly lady was walking down the beach one day, when she found a bottle. She rubbed the bottle, and a genie emerged.

“Thank you for freeing me,” said the genie. “You know, as a thank you, you get three wishes.”

“Three wishes, really?” said the old woman delightedly (she had apparently read very few fairy tales). “All right, my first wish: I wish I were young and beautiful again.”

The genie clapped his hands, and in a flash, the old woman was once again 23 years old, and she was absolutely ravishing.

“Second,’ said the woman. ‘I wish that I was fabulously wealthy.”

The genie clapped his hands, and in a flash, the woman has become the weathiest woman in the world.

“Third,” says the woman, “I want Tommy-boy, my beloved cat, to be turned into a handsome young man who is wildly in love with me.”

The genie claps his hands, and in a flash the woman’s spoiled Persian has been turned into a tall, handsome young man. The young man grabs the woman in his arms and kisses her passionately. Then, holding her faces inches from her own, he murmers: “Darling! Aren’t you sorry now you had me fixed?”