Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Jokes you need to stop telling

Jokes.  Humorous stories that end with a punch line.  A punch line is the final phrase that makes the whole situation funny.  Without it, the joke is just a story that doesn't really end, it just sits there.  Another form of joke is known as the 'one liner'.  This is a single comment about a situation that is funny on it's own.  Usually just an observation about something, a well executed one liner is a question of being clever and having good timing.  Done properly, a one liner looks much easier than it is.  At your given office/workplace there is someone there that is the unofficial funny guy.  The one that everyone expects to hear something funny from.  If you don't know who that person is, either you are it or you don't get around much and you get a lot of work done.  In which case, good for you.  So this is a list of the types of jokes that really don't need to be told anymore.  They are so overplayed that they don't really get much more than a wry chuckle.

- not PC jokes - The politically Incorrect Joke.  When I was a kid, I remember hearing my first Pollock joke.  by Pollock I mean to say a stupid or oblivious person, not someone from Poland.  For a long time as a child I thought that was what the word meant.  It was synonymous with stupid.  That became politically incorrect and rightly so.  Then they replaced that joke with the 'blonde' joke which for some reason was even more oblivious and quite a bit more stupid.  Not quite as offensive as the Nationality Joke but still offensive if you were a blonde and not particularly bright.  Mostly because blondes had an anecdotal history of acting stupid to get what they want.  Now if you want to tell a joke about someone stupid you don't need to set it up with a label because we're pretty much all stupid.  The reason beyond the obvious that you need to stop telling these jokes is because they have been told for ages and are recycled through different stereotypes the jokes themselves haven't changed and are not that funny anyway.

- Job jokes -  These are jokes based on your job.  The classic would be the following:

Checker:  Did you find everything ok?

Painfully smart customer:  Why? were you hiding something?

This is of course not limited to checker jobs.
Call center service rep for Bank/Service/Anything:  Is there anything else we can do for you today?
Mensa customer:  Sure, could you add 100k to my account?
ha ha ha.

Cleverly calling accountants 'bean counters'  doesn't even register as a joke anymore.  Every profession has their distinctive elements and those elements are only too well known to the person working them.  Your observations about their job are not only not unique, but are at best slightly annoying.  

- Job jokes part 2 - These are different job jokes,  they are the ones where the manager wryly makes a joke about everyone having enough 'on their plate'.  Usually couched in irony a manager will say something like 'I'm sure nobody has anything to do before the weekend, so I wanted to give you this to chew on'.  This isn't even met with a laugh, it's his way of telling you that he hasn't been able to do his job and you are going to pay the price.  his job being managing the flow of work to the employees.  It's no joke.

- Twin jokes - These jokes are only available when you meet someone you find out is a twin.  You will be tempted to break out the 'evil' twin joke.  'Which one is the evil one?'  or 'Do you ever switch dates?' sure it seems a fertile ground for levity, it's more of a painful groundhog day where every time someone finds out you are a twin you become 1/2 a person and now must bear hearing about a show someone saw, or the little fact about child actors often being twins because they can't work as long as adult actors.  Just stop.

- tax jokes -  I have been just as guilty of these jokes every year as anyone.  I don't think people should stop telling them.  I think they should stop thinking they are jokes.  The observations that the Government spends money without thought or wisdom is all too real.  The reason we tell these jokes is because we feel we have nothing else we can do.  We are helpless and so we make a joke as a gesture of surrender.

- political jokes - Not the jokes told by us about the other party (in America anyway), these are specifically jokes by politicians.  They are usually told during campaigns, but can be told during press briefings and other events as well.  Here is the problem, do you want to elect a comedian?  Probably not.  Some people are naturally good joke tellers or even comedic observers.  If they are, that's fine.  If they are a stiff bought-out party shill, they are not going to be good at telling a joke, so there is really no point.  It hurts to listen to someone who doesn't have a good sense of timing tell a joke.

- school rivalries jokes - These are also political jokes, but these are told by people about the other party or school.  Here is a classic I'm sure you've heard over and over:
A student from University X walks into a bathroom at University Y.  After finishing he starts walking out and a student from University Y says 'At university Y we learn to wash our hands after using the bathroom'  Quickly the student from University X replies 'At University X we are taught to not pee on our hands'  Yay.  This is a twist on the stupid joke that applies politically to whomever the opposition is.  Just say no.

- puns - Not jokes, just a play on words.  The interesting part is in other languages, puns don't really work out very well.  People don't appreciate them.  In another language I purposely used to the word that indicates an animal eating to describe myself eating but trying to imply that I was so hungry I would eat like an animal.  I was told I was using the wrong word.  Some people go on pun riffs and thats fine, but I've found the conservation of energy around a pun does not allow it to ever be funny.  That is, the energy used to create or use a pun outweighs the laughter energy created by it.  I will say that puns incorporated with a picture furthering the joke does get a lot more mileage for the pun and may be a rebirth of the art form the visual part moves it up a notch.

- automated response jokes - Primarily set in the phone answering machine or call screening service, you are calling someone and a voice will ask you please state your name.  Smartly nearly everyone will say 'me'.  Ha, wow.  that's is not only funny, but will probably cause you to have to call again because the person on the other side won't respond to 'me'.  Still very funny.  I'm still laughing.  I remember the days before caller ID when you were anonymous until announced and people would say 'Guess who' .  That was usually a good way to get hung up on.

- Name jokes - The classic.  Lets take the case of Wright, my own name.  I know and have known EVERY joke that concerns that name since I was 8.   There is not a joke you could tell me about Wrong, Left, Mister, or Always that I haven't heard more times than should be socially acceptable.  Accentuated during my dating years every so often it still will trigger some 'clever' response to which I am obliged to laugh politely.  I then usually say something like 'I remember the first time I heard that one.  I think I was at recess at school'  I should stop saying that as well.

Honestly, there are plenty of ways to tell funny jokes without using these tired subjects.  If you can't find any; that might be a signal that you probably shouldn't tell jokes.  I for one will probably still use all of them because I need all of the humorous crutches I can find.  But the rest of you?  no.  don't do it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

10 Ages

This is simply the 10 ages of a person.  Since I've found myself at the door of another birthday I realized that there are only 2 hands full of significant birthdays. Exactly.  10, no more no less.   Of course I'll have reasons why.  It's what I do.

-- birth - Obviously the single most important birthday of your life.  Not much more can be said about it except you won't remember any of it.  nope, not a thing.  you may have vague songs or pictures that may spur a deja vu-ish kind of recollection but really you'll have nothing.  On the other hand you are doing so much learning every day you don't even know all of the things you are doing when you are just a newborn.  Sure you are dependent on everyone, but on the other hand pretty much everyone loves you.  Nothing wrong with that.

-- 2-4 ish - At this point just absorbing information ambiently has kind of run it's course.  Yes, you are still doing that, but now you are more interested in all of the things there are around you.  Things like electrical outlets and power tools.  Also you are creating internal profiles for people you like and don't like.  You are not at all concerned with peoples feelings, just your own.  So Grandma gives me lots o presents, oh yeah, she's great.  Aunt kisses me too much?  ummm...yeah, i'll pass.  You're walking and possibly talking as well as causing trouble that you don't understand but you roll with it.  From here on out, you are just getting better and better at being a kid.  You are ok with mom and dad's rules, but you think there might be too many of them.  All of these birthdays just kind of melt together.  Really it's more of a personal payday than anything.  Of course Christmas is the other payday, but everyone gets that.

-- 13 - Well you are a teenager now.  Really the larval stage of becoming an adult.  You are really interested in being an adult but you kind of go here and there with your experiences.  Your teenage years will be among your most memorable.  If you are lucky, some of the friends you make in the next few years will be among your best.  Full of firsts and achievements.  Now you're thinking independently and starting to weigh consequences v.s. your decisions.  Getting in trouble isn't enough to dissuade you from trying some things.  The next few years you will be able to do a lot to forward or retard your progress as an adult. You start this series of years likely being very much yourself and end this bunch of years figuring out what your adult face is going to look like.  How you will behave around others v.s. around family or friends.  You learn by trial and error; this can be among the cruelest of years with plenty being both dealt and received.

-- 18 - Also known as the legal age of majority (except in Alabama, Nebraska, and Mississippi where the ages are 19, 19, and 21), lots of reasons this is significant.  Up until now, you have been more or less not responsible for your crimes.  Instead of sending you to prison for doing something wrong, they send you to a youth facility where you will hopefully pull yourself out of your tailspin.  On the other hand it's also significant because you can vote!  Sure it doesn't mean much to you, but it's time to be more aware of the world around you.  By now you are ready to ditch the burger flipping jobs and get into something a little more career like.  You may or may not further your education, but whatever you do, you have probably at least partially cut the apron strings to your parents.  You feel much more ready for life than you actually are, but now you have what it takes to do it.  Remember this feeling of semi-bewilderment.  It's one you'll have most of your life, but you will only feel it as strongly as you do right now as you are considered an adult.

-- 21 - Fast on the heels of 18, 21 is the age at which nothing that is legal is barred from you (except you will find that renting cars is still surprisingly difficult)  You can do it all, you can gamble, you can own stuff easily, you are fully responsible for yourself.  The world assumes you've got enough on the ball that you should be able to do all kinds of things.  Really the only thing that makes it different than 18 is 3 years and drinking (In most states, some will let you get away with it younger) and gambling.  Neither of these pursuits are particularly grand.  Once tried a couple of times you should probably realize that they are both more expensive than you like and not nearly as exciting as they are cracked up to be.

-- 26 - While nobody ever threw you a 26th birthday party as though it was something special, 26 is the age at which they estimate that your brain stops developing.  Also, it's the age at which you will get lower insurance rates depending on your insurer as well as that all important being able to rent a car thing.  26 is a bigger deal than people let on because it's the point at which you have really no excuses left for the life you are leading.  If it's not what you like, you can still turn it around.  This is also the age at which you are starting to get out of shape and you never realized how it happened.  Your youth is starting to leave you and you aren't sure that you like it, but for the most part you can ignore it.  You're still young.  Enjoy it!

-- 40 - Wow, so there were no important days in the 30s?  Not really no.  You are hopefully an adult earning a living.  You may or may not be married but honestly there is nothing special about being in your 30's except that you aren't 20.  So what makes 40 so special?  A friend of mine told me that at 40 you are the young of the old.  Look at it this way, the average age around here is 80 (acutally 79, but the closer you get the more you hope, right?)  so 40 is the 1/2 way point.  You stop understanding what is going through the heads of those 20 year olds and you wish they would learn about the things you know about.  Everything you did when you were young was a little better in some ways and a little worse in others, but you are at the age that people start paying attention to your life experience.  That's not as true if you are living on welfare in a trailer, not that you don't have life experience, but you are more of a road map of what not to do.

-- 50 - What's the big deal about 50?  Well up till now, your bodily injuries were probably fixable one way or another and they people you knew in high school, you could probably know now.  Possibly one or two deaths that happen because of accidents or congenital troubles.  But now you are starting to see people die that just decided to live long term bad decisions.  You know, all the stuff they keep nagging you about, no exercise and eating crap like you are 20, well that chicken is going to start coming home to roost.  It will still be considered a young death, but you'll hear about them more and more.  Hopefully you got into your healthier lifestyle in your 40's if not maintained it since your youth.  Bad news.  From here on out pretty much everything you used to do without thinking about it becomes a thought exercise in survival.  Example.  If you are in your late 20s and you happen to have a couple of kids, you probably took them to Disneyland and you walked the park and rode the rides and a good time was had by all.  Now, you think about going to Disneyland and all you can think about is if your feet and back can take it.  The last time you want to your local carnival, you thought you might have kinked your neck on the ferris wheel.  Every activity that doesn't include sitting in your basement and watching TV is evaluated on a risk reward basis.  That's not all, you are starting to realize that a lot of things just don't work the same way.  I'll be kind and limit this to your eyes and hearing.  yep, they are starting to go.  Can't hear a LOT Of the sounds you could hear in your youth and your vision has become blurry at best.  At 50 you start reading about medical advancements with a LOT more interest.

-- 65 - Retirement!  Yipee!  or at least it's when you are supposed to retire.  If you didn't take part in some of your employment 401k then you are probably  just looking at 65 with the thought that it's getting harder and harder for you to be hired.  You find it's harder to learn new things (that old dog new trick thing wasn't just fooling around) you also find that there isn't much more you can do.  You feel like the grasshopper that's been laughing at the ants.  Well those ants are the ones laughing now.  So you take your Social Security and realize that there just isn't much there.  So you end up looking for the same jobs you looked for when you were in your 20's something that just pays enough but isn't too taxing.  You'd rather stop being in charge of anything and just do as you're told and draw a check.  On the other hand if you WERE the ant, you notice that your grasshopper friends all think that you shouldn't be able to take the money that you had forcibly taken from your paycheck and you should gladly give it to them.  That seems fair right?  Well at 65, you can go on and on (and often do) about what's fair and right etc.  You find that parts of you are sounding a lot like you did as a teenager.

-- ?? - This age isn't quite as definite.  In fact, it appears to be optional.  Sorry to end this blog on a downer, but...You see there is a point in your life at which you are no longer vibrant.  Either through disease or inaction, you can feel your clock winding down.  You just wake up with the aches and pains of life and the stack of medications that you have to down every day and you realize that you are just a walking bunch of trouble.  It should be noted that this age only happens when you literally can't do anything that you like anymore.  At some point when you go to the hospital, you will stop expecting to come out better, if at all.  From what I've seen there are a few people that stave this age off by remaining active and interested in things.  They let their interest push them through the pain.  Easy to say if you aren't in that situation, it's just what I've heard.  Apparently Bingo is one of these activities.

Geeze Mark, that was a real downer.  Yeah, I know.  Life has to be taken as a whole and the sum of all of it's parts not each part by itself.  If you aren't living the life you have like you would like, then make your changes.  The only good changes are the ones you make yourself.  All of those other changes people keep telling you are good?  Yeah, they are liars and their pants are on fire.