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The Sonoran gopher snake evolved to mimic a rattler

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Confession, Convents and Caps

Plus how to slow traffic and land a plane.


Confession is good for the soul… Kicking off what seems to be an unusually religious (in, er, our own way) installment of Desert Diary is GeeRichard:

"An elderly Italian man who lived on the outskirts of Rimini, Italy, went to the local church for confession. When the priest slid open the panel in the confessional, the man said, ‘Father, during World War II, a beautiful Jewish woman from our neighborhood knocked urgently on my door and asked me to hide her from the Nazis. So I hid her in my attic.'

"The priest replied, ‘That was a wonderful thing you did, and you have no need to confess that.'

"‘There is more to tell, Father. She started to repay me with sexual favors. This happened several times a week, and sometimes twice on Sundays.'

"The priest said, ‘That was a long time ago and by doing what you did, you placed the two of you in great danger, but two people under those circumstances can easily succumb to the weakness of the flesh. However, if you are truly sorry for your actions, you are indeed forgiven.'

"‘Thank you, Father. That's a great load off my mind. I do have one more question.'

"‘And what is that?' asked the priest.

"‘Should I tell her the war is over?'"


Rural ingenuity… Sometimes you have to think outside the box to solve a problem, as in this tale from The Silver City Greek:

"Farmer John lived on a quiet rural highway. But as time went by, the traffic slowly built up and became so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at a rate of three to six a day. So one day Farmer John called the local police station and said, ‘You've got to do something about all of these people driving so fast and killing my chickens.'

"‘What do you want us to do?' asked the policeman.

"‘I don't care, just do something about those crazy drivers!' So the next day the policeman had a sign erected that said: ‘SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING.'

"Three days later, Farmer John called the policeman and said, ‘You've got to do something about these drivers. The ‘school crossing' sign seems to make them go even faster.' So, again, the policeman had a new sign put up: ‘SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY.'

"That really sped them up. So Farmer John called and called and called every day for three weeks. Finally, he asked the policeman, ‘Your signs are doing no good at all. Can I put up my own sign?' The policeman said, ‘Sure, go ahead.' He was willing to let Farmer John do just about anything in order to get him to stop calling to complain.

"The policeman got no more calls from Farmer John. Three weeks later, curiosity got the best of the policeman and he decided to give Farmer John a call: ‘How's the problem with those drivers? Did you put up your sign?'

"‘Oh, I sure did,' replied Farmer John, ‘and not one chicken has been killed since then. I've got to go. I'm very busy.' He hung up the phone.

"The policeman was really curious now, and he thought to himself, ‘I'd better go out there and take a look at that sign. It might be something that WE could use to slow down drivers.' So he drove out to Farmer John's house, and his jaw dropped the moment he saw the sign. It was spray painted on a sheet of wood:

"‘NUDIST COLONY: Go slow and watch out for chicks.'"


Paraprosdokians… You'll recall from last month that "‘paraprosdokians' are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected." Here are some more examples from GeraldH:

"Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

"A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

"You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

"Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

"There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

"I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

"Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

"Where there's a will, there are relatives.

"I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now."


It's not too late to get in on the start of the paraprosdokian boom! Send your own submissions, along with your favorite jokes, tall tales and puns, to diary@desertexposure.com.



Isn't technology wonderful?… This high-tech tale comes courtesy of Ramblin' Man:

"Three women — two younger and one senior citizen — were sitting naked in a sauna. Suddenly there was a beeping sound. The young woman pressed her forearm and the beep stopped.

"The others looked at her questioningly. ‘That was my pager,' she said. ‘I have a microchip under the skin of my arm.'

"A few minutes later, a phone rang. The second young woman lifted her palm to her ear. When she finished, she explained, ‘That was my mobile phone. I have a microchip in my hand.'

"The older woman felt very low-tech. Not to be outdone, she decided she had to do something just as impressive. She stepped out of the sauna and went to the bathroom. She returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from her rear end. The others raised their eyebrows and stared at her.

"The older woman finally said, ‘Well, will you look at that! I'm getting a fax!'"


God helps those… Returning to our accidental theme of the religious life, come to the convent with Jess Hossinaround in Arenas Valley:

"Sitting by the window of her convent, Sister Barbara opened a letter from home one evening. Inside the letter was a $100 bill her parents had sent. Sister Barbara smiled at the gesture. As she read the letter by the window, she noticed a shabbily dressed stranger leaning against the lamp post below.

"Quickly, she wrote, ‘Don't despair. Sister Barbara,' on a piece of paper, wrapped the $100 bill in it, got the man's attention and tossed it out the window to him. The stranger picked it up, and with a puzzled expression and a tip of his hat, went off down the street.

"The next day, Sister Barbara was told that a man was at the door, insisting on seeing her. She went down, and found the stranger waiting.

"Without a word, he handed her a huge wad of $100 bills. ‘What's this?' she asked.

"‘That's the $8,000 you have coming, Sister,' he replied. ‘Don't Despair paid 80-to-1.'"


Pondering the imponderables… And now for some deep thoughts from The Packrat Out Back:

"Life is sexually transmitted.

"Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

"Men have two emotions: hungry and sexy. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

"Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

"All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

"In the 1960s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

"Life is like a jar of jalapeño peppers — what you do today might burn your behind tomorrow."


Persons of the blonde persuasion… Of course, the star of this story could just as easily be a redhead or brunette. Don't blame us, blondes! Blame The Santa Claran:

"A poor ditzy blonde is flying in a two-seater airplane with just the pilot. He has a heart attack and dies. She, frantic, calls out a mayday: ‘Help me! Help me! My pilot had a heart attack and is dead, and I don't know how to fly. Help me! Please help me!'

"She hears a voice over the radio saying: ‘This is Air Traffic Control and I have you loud and clear. I will talk you through this and get you back on the ground. I've had a lot of experience with this kind of problem. Just take a deep breath, everything will be fine! Now give me your height and position.'

"She says, ‘I'm 5-foot-4 and I'm in the front seat.'

"‘OK,' says the voice on the radio. ‘Repeat after me: Our Father, who art in heaven....'"



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