Thursday, July 2, 2009

That Was A Joke

Sometimes when you're teaching, you just have to entertain yourself. For example, you can try telling some classification jokes: There are three types of people in the world--those who can count and those who can't. Here's another related one: There are two types of people in the world--those who classify everything into two types and those who don't. A few years ago, I told both of these jokes to my Freshman English class just as we were finishing up a unit on classification as a rhetorical style. The collective response was one great big blank look. Oh, I take that back, I think a few students did ask, "What's the third kind?" Anyway, I gave up and said, "Well, does anyone else have a classification joke before we move on?" One totally confused student raised his hand and said, "Duh . . . I didn't know we were supposed to bring one in." Boy oh boy. That's when I knew it was time to teach them the four saddest words in the English language: "That was a joke."


Two Kinds of People

there are two
kinds of human
beings in the word
so my observation
has told me
namely and to wit
as follows
those who
even though they
were to reveal
the secret of the universe
to you would fail
to impress you
with any sense
of the importance
of the news
and secondly
those who could
communicate to you
that they had
just purchased
ten cents worth
of paper napkins
and make you
thrill and vibrate
with the intelligence

by Don Marquis, American Humorist, 1878 - 1937

Story People ~ Brian Andreas


I had finished my dinner
Gone for a walk
It was fine
Out and I started whistling

It wasn't long before

I met a
Man and his wife riding on
A pony with seven
Kids running along beside them

I said hello and

Went on
Pretty soon I met another
This time with nineteen
Kids and all of them
Riding on
A big smiling hippopotamus

I invited them home

by Kenneth Patchen, American Poet, 1911 - 1972

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