Monday, June 15, 2009

Jokes in the Night

I work for the local power company. We had bad storms last week, so I was on storm duty the end of the week. That's not to say I was actually working to restore electrical service to our customers. My job was simply to help man the emergency center, which oversees service restoration after a storm hits our service area. Given that our service area is over 400 miles across and sits at the southern end of tornado alley, the emergency center is usually activated for major storms several times a year.

Now if you're thinking an emergency center during an emergency restoration exercise is a bee-hive of activity, you'd be mistaken. It's just a central clearinghouse for information about storm damage and the restoration work that's in progress. It's a couple dozen people, some staring at computers, some talking on phones, but mostly it's just folks engaged in casual conversations to pass the time. And long about 2:00 or 3:00 AM the jokes all seem funnier. Of course, they're the same old jokes, but something about sleep deprivation makes them hilarious. A case in point is this old one I overheard in the wee hours this last Saturday morning:

How many real men does it take to open a beer bottle?

None! She should open the bottle before she hands it to you.

Admittedly, that joke's pretty lame, but for whatever reason my few remaining functional brain cells ordered me to laugh uncontrollably and I was powerless to disobey. I first discovered late-night involuntary hilarity when I was in the Army, pulling staff duty with SSG Bradley, a country boy from Tennessee. Now admittedly, one didn't have to be drunk from lack of sleep to find Sergeant Bradley funny -- he was a story-teller akin to Andy Griffith doing his "What it Was, Was Football" routine:

Anyway, on this particular endless night, Sergeant Bradley told a story that, as I recall, went something like this (though you'll just have to imagine his slow Southern drawl that turned this three minute joke into twenty minutes of entertainment):

These two bachelor brothers er out in the field one day plantin' corn. The older brother Jeb is aguidin' the plow behin' Bessy the mule while Zeb is afollerin' droppin' seed. Ever wunsta while, the plow ketches a rock and Bessy has ta shrug it up out the dirty. Jeb then calls back to Zeb and tells 'm to heave the stone onta th'wall that runs round th'field. Zeb gets ta complainin 'bout how he has ta do all the rock heftin, so Jeb tells him: "I cain't hold the plow and pick up rocks at the same time, 'n iffen I let go the plow, Bessy'll wander off straight back to the barn."

"Well, then why'cha let me do the plowing fer a while?" comes Zeb's natcherl reply.

"Well I'd let ya plow, 'cept you couldn't plow a straight furrah if yer life depended on it."

Well now, that really ticks Zeb off. And it just happens that right then Bessy snags a really big'n and jerks real hard. Up comes a boulder -- must weigh a hunnerd-fifty pounds. Looking at that rock, Zeb snaps, "I ain't liftin' that'n."

Zeb says, "Well, okay. Lemme drive a stake and tie Bessy down and I'll hep ya with it."

Jeb's still steamed about the insult to his plowin' ability, so he gets all stubbern 'n says, "Nope, I ain't liftin' half of it neither."

"Well, we cain't just leave a big ol' rock in the middle of the cornfield."

"Ain't my prollem. You the boss-man running the plow -- you figger it out."

Jeb can see where this argument's a-goin', so he decides the smart thing to do is jus' concede the point: "Okay, hep me pitch this dang rock onta th'wall and I'll let ya plow the resta th'mornin'."

Zeb quickly agrees and t'gether they heft that boulder onta th'wall. Then with a bit'uv a smirk, Zeb slips behin' the plow and gives Bessy a gentle smack. Bessy turns left head'n straight downhill. Zeb smacks her hard on the left side to get her aimed right and she turns sharp right and heads straight up hill.

Jeb's seen enough 'n (grabbin' the reins to stop Bessy) says, "Wut'd I tell ya -- you cain't plow werth nuthin."

Zeb's completely flummoxed about wut went wrong, so he decides maybe he just might let Jeb do th' plowin' after all.

But when Jeb gets behind the plow, Bessy pulls the same stunt. So thar they both stand, atryin ta figger out what got inta Bessy. Jeb wanders up to look Bessy in the eye and commences ta laughin': "Lookee here, Bessy's done gone cross-eyed on us. She musta knocked her eyes outa alignment on that big boulder."

So Zeb asks, "Well, so wut er we gonna do with cross-eyed mule?"

Jeb (being the older brother and the natcherl leader) answers, "Well, there's nothin else ta do but call out the vet and hav'm look'er over."

So they lead Bessy back to the barn and then head into town. As luck would have it, they see the vetrinary's wagon tied up at the next farm just a mile down the road, so Jeb wanders back and finds the vet standing knee deep in the pig sty.

After Jeb explains the prollem, Doc says, "That's nuthin', I can fix'er right up. I'll be out to yer farm jus as soon as I'm done vaccinatin' these here pigs."

Well, to make a long story short, the vet shows up 'bout sunset and goes straight to the barn where he looks Bessy over real good.

Jeb asks, "So can ya fix'er?"

Doc laughs, "Sher, no prollem."

Then he reaches into his little black bag 'n pulls out 'bout four foota surgical tubing and some Vaseline petroleum jelly. He slathers up that rubber tube and shoves 'bout three feet'uv it up Bessy's rear end. He then tells Jeb, "Now you go stan' in fronta Bessy and holler when her eyes straighten out."

Then he wraps his lips 'round the tubing and lightly puffs. Like magic, Bessy's eyes pop right back into line. Doc then looks Jeb square in the face, smiles and says, "That'll be a hunderd dollars."

Well, that really ticks Jeb off, but seein' how he hadn't bothered to haggle before Doc fixed Bessy, he has no choice but to pay the thief.

So anyways, (makin' a long story short) Jeb 'n Zeb 'er out the next day finishin' the plantin' when, son-of-a-gun, the very same thing happens. Big rock, Bessy jerkin' real hard, eyes crossin' and all. But this time Jeb's ready. So he says to Zeb, "Run on down to th'barn and bring back 'bout four-foota garden hose and same axle grease -- we gonna save us a hunderd dollars."

Zeb (havin' also watched Doc fix Bessy th' day b'fore) knows 'zackly what Jeb has in mind, so he sprints off ta th'barn and lopes back with the hose and a can o'grease. Jeb smears the grease all over the hose, shoves the main part'uv it up Bessy's rear and says, "Now Zeb, go stan' fronta Bessy 'n tell me when her eyes pop straight."

Jeb commences to huffin' and puffin' on th' hose, but it ain't doin' no good.

Finally, Zeb's had enough and says, "You dummy! Yer doin' that all wrong. Here, lemme show ya."

Zeb grabs the hose, jerks it outa Bessy, turns it 'round, and shoves the other end back up Bessy's butt. Jeb (puzzled by this) says to his little brother, "So what good does turnin' the hose 'round do?"

Zeb (breakin' the seal between his mouth and the hose) says, "Well, you didn't think I wuz gonna blow on th' end o' th' hose whar you just had your nasty ol' mouth, didya?"


joyce said...

wow---a three-fer. two jokes and a funny by Andy Griffin. You been busy.

JP said...

That's a good 'un, right there! They block the Andy Griffith bit here at work, but I'm already familiar with it. Thanks for the chuckle to start my work day...

Mrs. JP said...

Ya see thar us bein from Tennasee an all we are a likin dem funny stories you all are a tellin. Tho JP better not be a thankin that first funny yous a tellin' was to funny. Cuz I'll fetch for him just when i'm good an ready!

ThatOneGuy said...

I worked for cable during some of the craziest weather this part of kansas has seen so I can sympathize. Great jokes. Maybe one day I could be as wise as the great Andy Griffith.

Bou said...

Holy crap! I think I'm going to vomit...