God's Plan for New Mexico, Apologies to Thurber & the Gender Wars Heat Up
Plus fixin' things, prayer positions and killing time at the store.
The joke's on us. . . Putting a literal spin, perhaps, on our category for your favorite funnies, Texas Jan passes along this tale of "Perfect (Almost) Creation" with the caveat, "Read it completely through; it is not what you think":
"Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the Archangel found him, resting on the seventh day.
"He inquired of God, 'Where have you been?'
"God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downward through the clouds, 'Look, Michael. Look what I've made.'
"Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, 'What is that?'
"'It's a planet,' replied God, 'and I've put life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance.'
"'Balance?' inquired Michael, still puzzled.
"God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth, 'For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, but cold and harsh, while southern Europe is going to be poor but sunny and pleasant. I have made some lands abundant in water and other lands parched deserts. This one will be extremely hot and dry while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.'
"The Archangel, impressed by the Creator's work, then pointed to a land mass and said, 'What's that one?'
"'Ah,' said God, 'that's New Mexico—the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful mountains, streams, rivers, hills, forests and deserts. The people from New Mexico are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world.
"They will be extremely sociable, hardworking and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace.'
"Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then asked, 'What about the balance You spoke of, my Lord? You said there would be balance!'
"God replied wisely, 'Wait until you see the idiots I put in charge in Santa Fe.'"
Fractured fairy tales. . . We interrupt this month's Diary for a mea culpa. The eagle-eyed and well-read Marjorie Mitty writes, "I imagine you've heard from other readers by now—that first story in Desert Diary is lifted right out of James Thurber. I knew the story in high school. I couldn't find the book, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was copied word for word. Tsk tsk for not knowing your James Thurber."
Tsk tsk, indeed! Thurber, the gifted New Yorker humorist and cartoonist, was the author of Fables For Our Time (1940) and two collections of updated fairy tales for children, The 13 Clocks (1950) and The Wonderful O (1957), as well as such classics as Is Sex Necessary? (1929) and My Life and Hard Times (1933).
Sadly, perhaps, Marjorie Mitty was the only reader thus far to spot the source of our opening entry last month. While we strive to steer clear of outright swiping, in the soup of unattributed, passed-along stories made possible by the Internet, authorship is becoming increasingly elusive. The submitter of that fable quite possibly didn't know it was by Thurber, either.
The moral of that story, for us at least, was perhaps best expressed by President Ronald Reagan: "Trust, but verify."
And with that, on to a hopefully fresher fable, submitted by KC of Santa Clara:
"A young beagle pup walked along the railroad track on his way to the woods. Just as he was crossing the tracks, a train roared along and cut off the pup's tail.
"The pup searched and searched for his tail, but finally gave up. Just as he was crossing back over the tracks, along came another train and cut off his head.
"Moral: Never lose your head over a piece of tail."
Your own morality plays on words are of course invited at Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Losing the battle of the sexes. . . This dispatch from the front lines of the gender war comes courtesy of Ned Ludd:
"A man walked into the ladies clothing department. He shyly walked up to the woman behind the counter and said, 'I'd like to buy a bra for my wife.'
"'What type of bra?' asked the clerk.
"'Type?' inquired the man. 'There is more than one type?'
"'Look around,' said the clerk, as she showed a sea of bras in every shape, size, color and material. 'Actually, even with all of this variety, there are really only three types of bras.'
"Confused, the man asked what the types were. The clerk replied, 'The Catholic type, the Salvation Army type, and the Baptist type. Which one do you need?'
"Still confused, the man asked, 'What is the difference between them?'
"The clerk explained, 'It is all really quite simple. The Catholic type supports the masses, the Salvation Army type lifts up the fallen, and the Baptist type makes mountains out of mole hills.'"
And while we're on the subject, in the interests of harmony between men and women we share this helpful lexicon, which was passed along to us by Doctor Diane:
"Words Women Use.
"'Fine'—This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
"'Five Minutes'—If she is getting dressed, this is half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
"'Nothing'—This is the calm before the storm. This means 'something,' and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with 'Nothing' usually end in 'Fine.'
"'Go Ahead'—This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it.
"'(Loud Sigh)'—This is not actually a word, but is a nonverbal statement often misunderstood by men. A 'Loud Sigh' means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over 'Nothing.'
"'That's OK'—This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. 'That's OK' means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
"'Thanks'—A woman is thanking you. Do not question it or faint. Just say, 'You're welcome.'
"'Whatever'—This is a woman's way of saying '*!#@ YOU!'"
And finally, LSilverCity makes a bold attempt to (pithily) submit one story that fits two—count 'em, two!—of our categories:
"The Battle of the Sexes
"The World's Shortest Fairy Tale
"A boy said to his girlfriend, 'Will you marry me?'
"'No,' she replied.
"And the boy lived happily ever after."
Share your own missives from the gender wars with Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email them (with our promise of confidentiality) to email@example.com.
Capital pun-ishment. . . Why, oh why we foolishly invited your favorite puns is beyond us, but there's no going back now. You have been warned, however, as we plunge ahead with this submission from new correspondent Crown West:
"Jack was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers, called 'pullets,' and eight or 10 roosters, whose job was to fertilize the eggs. Jack kept records, and any rooster or pullet that didn't perform well went into the dinner pot, and was replaced. That took an awful lot of time, so Jack got a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.
"Jack's favorite rooster was old Brewster. A very fine specimen he was, too, except his bell had not rung all morning! Jack went to investigate. Several roosters were chasing pullets, bells a-ringing, but Brewster had his bell in his beak so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.
"Jack was so proud of Brewster that he entered him in the county fair. Brewster was an overnight sensation!
"The judges not only awarded him. . . The No Bell Piece Prize, but also. . . The Pullet Surprise!"
The joke's on us (ecclesiastical division). . . With the caveat, "Remember, I don't write these," Writer Bill shares two more knee-slappers:
"A priest, a minister and a guru are discussing the best positions for prayer while a telephone repairman works nearby.
"'Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray,' the priest says.
"'No,' says the minister. 'I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven.'
"'You're both wrong,' the guru says. 'The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor.'
"They decide to put the question to the repairman. 'Well,' he says, 'the best praying I ever did was hanging upside down from a telephone pole.'"
"A kindergarten teacher gave her class a 'show and tell' assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented his or her religion.
"The first student got up in front of the class and said, 'My name is Benjamin. I am Jewish and this is a Star of David.'
"The second student got up in front of the class and said, 'My name is Mary. I'm a Catholic and this is a Rosary.'
"The third student got in up front of the class and said, 'My name is Tommy. I am a Lutheran and this is a hot dish.'"
Those thrilling days of yesteryear. . . We invited you to share your reminiscences of the "good ol' days" (or the bad ones, for that matter), and Ol' Fixer Bob herewith responds with this essay on "A Home Needs a Fixer":
"When I was a kid I lived with my grandparents. Most kids have toys and toys are meant to be broken. Who can fix them? Every home needs a fixer. My broken toys were never thrown away; grandpa fixed them with a hammer, screwdriver, glue, thread and a grimace.
"A boy kid plays with little cars, trains, kites, drawing books, which are all made to break, tear or fall apart. Grandpa always had a bottle of what was called 'fish glue'—-it stunk, but it would hold anything together if you waited long enough. I never was allowed to throw anything away, couldn't afford it, so I counted on grandpa to fix it.
"When I got a little older, I was lucky enough to get a broken-down bike that grandpa had found somewhere or traded something for. It needed fixin', bad. The first thing he did was say 'hmmmm,' then took it apart. I think he cussed but I wasn't supposed to listen to that, though I did learn some words I never used (then). He would lay out all the parts on the floor of his workshop, I guess to see what needed hammered, bent, changed, a trip to town or whatever. Anyway after more hmmmm and cussin' the bike took shape, meaning it looked like a bike again.
"I got on the seat he'd found somewhere and with his hands on the handlebars and back fender, we took off down the road; then he let go. I didn't fall off. I rode it like a bike, although a little wobbly. But it wasn't finished. He told me to go bother grandma, the rest of the fixin' would be by himself. I didn't see the bike until the next day. It had been painted a real pretty blue and looked like new. He'd even buffed all the rust off the handlebars and put new grips on them. I was the luckiest kid around, with an old wreck of a bike that had been transformed to look like new.
"As I got older, into high school, I would help him with his fixin'. I learned how to fix, hmmmm, and cuss. Grandpa told me to always have a hammer, a screwdriver, sandpaper, paint and, especially, time.
"Today, many years later, I'm a fixer. Throwing something away is a last resort."
Send your anecdotes and recollections to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, we'll listen to them even if your grandkids won't!
A matter of (bad) taste. . .With the warning not to read on if you're easily offended (aha! that got your attention, didn't it?), we present a second submission this month from Doctor Diane. Just consider it, er, a medical lesson:
"Doctor Dave had slept with one of his patients and felt guilty all day long. No matter how much he tried to forget about it, he couldn't. The guilt and sense of betrayal were overwhelming. But every once in a while he'd hear an internal, reassuring voice in his head that said: 'Dave, don't cry about it. You aren't the first medical practitioner to sleep with one of their patients and you won't be the last. And you're single. Just let it go.'
"But then invariably another voice in his head would bring him back to reality, whispering: 'Dave. . . Dave. . . Dave. . . Dave, you're a veterinarian."
Pondering the imponderables. . . In our continuing quest to help you make life more entertaining for others by driving them crazy, we happily pass along this food for thought from Barb Up North:
"When you're going to be in the store awhile:
"Get 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they aren't looking.
"Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at five-minute intervals.
"Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest rooms.
"Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, 'Code 3 in Housewares'—and see what happens.
"Go the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.
"Move a 'CAUTION—WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
"Set up a tent in the camping department and tell other shoppers you'll invite them in if they'll bring pillows from the bedding department.
"When a clerk asks if she can help you, begin to cry and ask, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'
"Look right into the security camera, use it as a mirror, and pick your nose.
"While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the clerk if he knows where the antidepressants are.
"Dart around the store suspiciously loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.
"In the Auto department, practice your 'Madonna look' using different-size funnels.
"Hide in a clothing rack and when people browse through, say, 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'
"When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume a fetal position and scream, 'NO! NO! It's those voices again!'
"Go into a fitting room and shut the door and wait a while; then yell, very loudly, 'There is no toilet paper in here!'"
Send your tales from the front, favorite jokes, rants, reminiscences, anecdotes (heart-warming and otherwise) and such to: Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email email@example.com. Remember, the best submission each month earns a piece of spiffy Desert Exposure gear!
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