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Bears, Blondes, Bureaucrats and Stressed-Out Wage Slaves

Plus kids on marriage, church secrets and the future of inflation.


The joke's on us. . . Frequent email forwarder Grumps—who may thereby single-handedly crash the Internet one of these days—sends along this twist on the dumb-blonde joke:

"A lawyer and a blonde woman happen to be sitting next to each other on a flight from LA to New York. The lawyer leans over to the blonde and asks if she would like to play a fun game.

"The blonde is tired and just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and turns over to the window to catch a few winks.

"The lawyer persists, saying that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains how the game works: 'I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me and vice-versa.'

"Again, the blonde politely declines and tries to get some sleep.

"The lawyer figures that since his opponent is a blonde, he will easily win the match, so he makes another offer: 'Okay, how about this? If you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5. But if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500.'

"This catches the blonde's attention and, figuring that there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, she agrees to play the game.

"The lawyer asks the first question: 'What's the distance from the Earth to the moon?'

"The blonde doesn't say a word, reaches in to her purse, pulls out a $5 bill, and hands it to the lawyer.

"Now it's the blonde's turn. She asks the lawyer, 'What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?'

"The lawyer gives her with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He taps into the air-phone with his modem and searches the Net and even the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends e-mails to all his coworkers and all of his friends. All to no avail. After over an hour of searching for the answer, he finally gives up. He wakes the blonde and hands her $500.

"The blonde politely takes the $500 and turns away to go back to sleep.

"The lawyer, who cannot imagine what the answer is, is going nuts trying to figure it out. He is more than a little frustrated. He wakes the blonde and asks, 'So? What does go up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?'

"The blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer another $5, and goes back to sleep."


Got a favorite joke? Don't be stingy—share it with the world (or at least our little corner of it). Send to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com.


Doing the bureaucracy tango. . . When the summer monsoons finally hit—and how!—we found ourselves giving a close reading to this updated Biblical saga sent our way by Toni in the Vet's Office:

"In the year 2006, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, 'Once again, the Earth has become wicked and overpopulated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing, along with a few good humans.' He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, 'You have six months to build the Ark, before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.'

"Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard—but no Ark. 'Noah!' He roared, 'I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?'

"'Forgive me, Lord,' begged Noah, 'but things have changed. I needed a building permit. I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I've violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard, and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

"'Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls—but no go! When I started gathering the animals, an animal-rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental-impact study on your proposed flood.

"'I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. Immigration and Naturalization is checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work. The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only union workers, with Ark-building experience. To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.'

"Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, 'You mean you're not going to destroy the world?'

"'No,' said the Lord. 'The government beat me to it.'"


Kids say the darnedest things. . . We can't actually verify that these answers to questions about love and marriage were indeed uttered by precocious tykes, but let's make a leap of faith (not unlike love and marriage itself, eh?):

"How do you decide who to marry?

"'You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.'—Alan, age 10

"'No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.'—Kristen, age 10

"What is the right age to get married?

"'Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.'—Camille, age 10

"No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.'—Freddie, age 6

"How can a stranger tell if two people are married?

"'You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.'—Derrick, age 8

"What do you think your mom and dad have in common?

"'Both don't want any more kids.'—Lori, age 8

"What do most people do on a date?

"'Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.'—Lynnette, age 8

"'On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.'—Martin, age 10

"What would you do on a first date that was turning sour?

"'I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.'—Craig, age 9

"When is it okay to kiss someone?

"'When they're rich.'—Pam, age 7

"The law says you have to be 18, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.'—Curt, age 7

"'The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.'—Howard, age 8

"Is it better to be single or married?

"'I don't know which is better, but I'll tell you one thing. I'm never going to have sex with my wife. I don't want to be all grossed out.'—Theodore, age 8

"'It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.'—Anita, age 9

"How would the world be different if people didn't get married?

"'There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?'—Kelvin, age 8

"How would you make a marriage work?

"'Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.'—Ricky, age 10"


The more things change. . . The ever-inventive Stan in Cruces returns with this bit of pondering on our changing times:

"In the early part of the last century, our country was populated with five-and-ten-cent stores. We called them 'dime stores': S.S. Kresge Co., S.H. Kress Co. and F.W. Woolworth.

"But the five-and-tens are gone. Now, because of inflation, the low-money names are Dollar General and Family Dollar. If the trend continues, might we eventually see a Family Sawbuck?"


Send your ruminations on what Wings once called, in an exuberance of prepositions, "this ever-changing world in which we live in" to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com. (And—talk about change—yes, Paul McCartney and Wings recorded that before Guns 'N' Roses. And, yes, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings. . . .)


Losing the battle of the sexes. . . The following dispatch from the front lines of the gender wars comes courtesy of Ned Ludd:

"A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

"For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

"When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents.

"'When we were to be married,' she said, 'my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.'

"The little old man was so moved, he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box! She had been angry with him only two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. 'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the dolls, but what about all this money? Where did it come from?'

"'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls.'"


The wonderful world of work. . . Making an eagerly awaited return to these pages, erstwhile correspondent JackB writes with "Things Stressed People Say at Work":

"Okay, okay! I take it back. Un-screw-you.

"You say I am a bitch like it is a bad thing.

"Well, this day was a total waste of make-up.

"Do not bother me. I am living happily ever after.

"Do I look like a people person?

"This is not an office. It is hell with fluorescent lighting.

"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.

"Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.

"Why don't you try practicing random acts of intelligence and senseless acts of self-control?

"I am not crazy. I have been in a very bad mood for 30 years.

"Sarcasm is just one more service I offer.

"Do they ever shut up on your planet?

"I am not your type. I am not inflatable.

"Stress is what you have when you wake up screaming and you realize you have not gone to sleep yet.

"Back off! You are standing in my aura.

"Do not worry—I forgot your name, too.

"I work 45 hours a week to be this poor.

"Not all men are annoying. Some are dead.

"Wait. I am trying to imagine you with a personality.

"Chaos, panic and disorder—my work here is done.

"Ambivalent? Well, yes and no.

"You look like crap. Is that the style now?

"Earth is full. Go home.

"You are depriving some village of an idiot.

"Look in my eyes. Do you see one ounce of gives-a-crap?"


Doing the Lord's work. . . Longtime correspondent Writer Bill shares a bit of insight into the inner workings of religious denominations: "As many of you know, I have been working with a religious organization for several years now, and I have among other things gained an understanding of how church donations really work. No matter the faith or denomination, it goes something like this:

"Father O'Malley is working in the rectory when his phone rings.

"'Hello,' says the caller, 'is this Father O'Malley?'

"'It is.'

"'I'm calling from the IRS. Can you help us?'

"'I can.'

"'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?'

"'I do.'

"'Is he a member of your parish?'

"'He is.'

"'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?' the IRS agent asks.

"'He will.'"


Life in a state of nature. . . Throwing to the winds our parents' advice never to discuss politics or religion, we boldly go where only correspondent Gila Tom has gone before:

"The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains of Alaska for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Popemobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods. A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a 'Save the Whales' hat and a 'To Hell with Bush' T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10-foot grizzly bear.

"As the Pope watched, horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a .44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Democrat from the bear's grasp. Then, using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the other tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.

"As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. 'I give you my blessing for your brave actions!' he told them. 'I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic environmental activists, but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true.'

"As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies, 'Who was that guy?'

"'It was the Pope,' another replied. 'He's in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom.'

"'Well,' the logger said, 'he may have access to all wisdom, but he sure doesn't know anything about bear hunting! By the way, is the bait holding up, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts and snatch another one?'"


Our pets, ourselves. . . Finally, we told you that Grumps was a prolific emailer, right? This one came in before we were finished chuckling over the joke at the beginning of this month's Diary:

"A man absolutely hated his wife's cat and decided to get rid of it one day by driving it 20 blocks from home and leaving it at the park.

"As he was getting home, the cat was walking up the driveway.

"The next day, the man decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out and headed home.

"Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat!

"He kept taking the cat farther and farther and the cat would always beat him home. At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there.

"Hours later the man called home to his wife: 'Honey, is the cat there?'

"'Yes,' the wife answered. 'Why do you ask?'

"Frustrated, the man replied, 'Put that blankety-blank cat on the phone—I'm lost! and need directions!'"


Directions to submitting your own favorite funnies, anecdotes and laughable lists to Desert Diary couldn't be simpler: Email diary@desertexposure.com, fax to 534-4134 or write Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062. Remember, the best submissions each month get a 10th-anniversary Desert Exposure coffee mug, soon to be a collector's item!


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