Dad strikes again:  Part one

Dad strikes again: Part one

For the next two weeks, to give you a break from Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya, I’m returning to the subject of humour, saying a little more about how this works and classifying different kinds of jokes. I’ll start off with some that have to do with imaginary signs, on a shop front, on an office door, on a commercial vehicle. The last of these is a pun, the others are all situational (extracting humour from an imaginary, but realistic, situation). So for the first of these you need to be aware that the door to a room will often have a sign saying “push” or “pull” (the joke takes that common knowledge and draws on it in a way that is absurd).

Sign on a maternity ward door: Push. Push. Push.
Sign on a plumber’s truck: We repair what your husband fixed.
Sign in the car park of an undertaker’s: Drive carefully. We’ll wait.
Sign in a vet’s waiting room: I’ll be back in five minutes. Sit! Stay!
Sign on the back of a septic tank truck: Caution—this truck is full of political promises.
One last sign joke now, and this one is a pun. I’m sure you remember that a pun is a joke that plays on homophones or near-homophones: on words that have identical or very similar sounds. Really excruciating puns are referred to as Dad jokes, for reasons I explained long ago. So I’ll follow the last sign joke with a couple of Dads.

Sign over a gynaecologist’s office: Dr. Puleng at your cervix.
Now for Dad joke number one:
Lineo: 10 + 10 and 11 + 11 add up to the same thing.
Lerato: Nonsense!
Lineo: No, really, they do. Say the following out loud: 10 plus 10 equals 20. 11 plus 11 equals 22.
One really shouldn’t explain jokes; they either work or they don’t. But language is a weird and wonderful world to play in, and jokes are often time- and space-specific (or, if you like, culturally specific), so I’ll give you a helping hand with the following (and remember what I say for the shaggy dogger that follows next week). I know you don’t have dolphins in Lesotho, though Durban, where you can see them, is not too far away. Before reading the joke try to think of, or look up, an alternative word for dolphins or for an aquatic mammal very like a dolphin.

There is a camping site in Florida, very popular, very busy. Only problem is, the creeks are inundated with man-eating dolphins, so you have to be careful not to fall into the water when you go out in a boat. One afternoon there is a horrendous thunderstorm and the creeks overflow; dolphins are washed into the camp site and start eating those holiday-makers who are roaming around outside. The camp site manager’s voice comes over the loudspeakers: “to all in tents and porpoises . . . “
In case any of my more sensitive readers are upset by the above joke, I should reassure them that dolphins don’t eat people. I do encourage you to get across to Durban to see the dolphins; of all of God’s creation, they are amongst the most adorable.

To be concluded

Chris Dunton

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