I have always had goals. When I was six, I wanted to be a paleontologist (a fact my parents loved to share with friends: “Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up”). When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be a naturalist, like Charles Darwin. In high school, I wanted to write The Great American Novel. But as I approached adulthood, and ever since, I have spent most of my efforts on achieving three overarching goals: (1) to find true love; (2) to know everything; and (3) to make the world a better place. “The Facebook Jokes” fits into my somewhat twisted interpretation of the third goal, but first I need to say a few things about the other two.
First comes love. This is not a relationship advice blog, and I certainly don’t have any credentials for giving relationship advice, except perhaps 24 years of marriage to the same endlessly intriguing (and wise and kind and patient) person and a fair number of practice relationships before that. I guess my main piece of advice is grammatical: ‘love’ is an active, not a passive verb. We initially pair off because of feelings like attraction, infatuation and lust (and, occasionally, a feeling best described as “last call”). Despite our culture’s romanticizing of these emotions, they are just evolution’s way of ensuring that our species continues to propagate. (At least, this is how I rationalize my high school crush on Valerie Bertinelli.) Once attraction brings two of us together (I’m not even going to mention three-ways – oops, just did), the complicated part begins. In order to stay together, it’s not enough to feel something (a dirty little secret: some days, you may feel nothing at all – this is the point at which all Hollywood couples split up), you need to do something. For him. For her. For yourself (self-awareness is always good; improving communication skills – listening, guys? – is even better). For the both of you.
I’m very lucky and grateful that I have had many opportunities to become part of a pair over the years – I’ve laughed with and learned something from every one – but my life partner of the last 27 years (24 with the gold bands on) – that’s another story. With her, I’ve achieved goals I didn’t even know I had. But that’s not what this blog is about, remember? It’s about jokes. But before we get to that, we have to deal with my omniscience obsession.
Goal Number Two. First, let’s get this out of the way: I loved school. Being forced to spend hours of each day learning was like someone telling me, “We’re going to make you eat cake and pie and ice cream every day, like it or not.” I loved science, math, social studies, languages, art, and music, but the best part of all was that they made us read books, and write and talk about them. (I remember a very early quasi-list was a bookmark that I used for several years – patched up with tape as it fell apart – on which I placed a hatch-mark for each book I read, like a gunfighter notching his kills.) They also let us write stories, and essays, and occasionally read them out loud. To me, this was heaven. Plus, except for my four-years at an all-boys Jesuit high school, there were girls! Right there at the desk next to me, the cutest girl I had ever seen. More on that later.
Here’s what I learned about learning. Every time I found out about another topic, I wanted to know all about it: dinosaurs, insects, oceanography, rocketry, Mesopotamia, the Acadians, the human brain, nuclear physics, trees, Prince Henry the Navigator, Jeffersonian Democracy, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, The Beatles, punk rock, sentence diagramming, algebra, Venn diagrams, weather, birds, chemical bonding, the Big Bang, Nazi Germany, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Bob Dylan, democratic socialism, stream of consciousness, post-modernism, film noir, cinema verite, the auteur theory, assisted reproductive technologies, feminism, homosexuality, imitative polyphony, serialism, folk, jazz, blues, Cartesian dualism, dada, surrealism, vegetarianism, logical positivism, Portugal. Even now, in my Medieval, or middle-aged, period, I come across a new topic at least once a month and find myself scouring the Interwebs to find out more.
But here’s the other thing I learned: I don’t have enough time or energy to know everything. Also, even though I was pretty smart, I wasn’t quite smart enough to understand all the information I was ingesting. (And, even worse, as I get older, I’m forgetting a lot of what I learned before.) I’ve adopted two different approaches to these problems. The first approach is to eliminate certain topics from my to-learn list. It is very hard to give up on any potential subjects, so right now I only have two: (1) engineering and (2) dance (although I am intrigued by Nijinsky, especially in connection with The Rite of Spring, and Isadora Duncan, but mostly for her fateful choice of scarves). I sometimes add economics to the list, but since I deal with labor and workforce issues in my chosen profession, that’s probably not a good idea. The second, and probably more fruitful approach, is to pick a few topics to focus on more intensely. Naturally, my choice of topics is somewhat broad, thus giving me more leeway. Right now, my list would probably include: (1) literature; (2) film; (3) music; (4) natural history (especially native plants and birds); (5) history; (6) philosophy; (7) foreign cultures/travel; (8) U.S. politics; (9) the U.S. labor movement; (10) comedy and humor; (11) family history/genealogy; and (12) photography. Note that this list could also form the core of a ‘things I like to do’ list: (a) read; (b) write; (c) watch movies; (d) listen to music; (e) write & perform music; (f) explore natural areas; (g) travel; (h) follow politics and support progressive candidates and causes; (i) support workers and unions; (j) watch and listen to funny stuff; make people laugh; (k) take pictures; (l) spend time with friends, family and loved ones; (m) engage in stimulating conversations with other humans – and the occasional dog or cat. (Edit: Interesting that I didn’t mention making lists or blogging. Hmmm…)
Which brings me to my third goal, and the reason for this post in the first place. Like so many people, I want to leave the world a better place than when I found it. But I lack the confidence of so many others. For example, I’m not convinced that most other people will agree with what I think of as “a better world.” In fact, I might not even agree with my own definition a week, a month or a year from now. So there’s that. Then there’s the law of unintended consequences – even if we all agree that some change would help, it might end up making things much, much worse. This happens all the time. So what to do? At a certain point, I suppose, I have to take a leap of faith and pick a couple of things that I think might really help, based on my knowledge, experience and, of course, The Magic 8 Ball. So here’s what I picked: (1) help employees by providing legal assistance to them and their unions to improve their wages and working conditions and the fairness and justice of their workplaces; (2) without compromising my principles or harming my physical or mental health, (a) try to be a loving and caring husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend and (b) try to be kind, considerate and fair to everyone else; and (3) tell jokes that make people laugh or, in the case of certain puns, groan and roll their eyes.
The last point brings us, finally, to the point of the blog: Facebook. For a long time, I didn’t know what to do with Facebook. I ‘liked’ things that make me laugh or that I agreed with. I announced big events. I posted some photos. But I didn’t have anything to say on a regular basis. I had no interest in sharing my day-to-day activities with my Facebook friends (as fascinating as I found theirs to be). Then it suddenly hit me: jokes! Facebook, it turns out, is the perfect forum for trying out new material. And although several people over the years have referred to me (affectionately, I have to assume) as “a wise ass”, I have no ambitions to become a comedian of any sort (audible sighs of relief from various corners), it is lots of fun to come up with things I think are funny and use them to answer that eternal question, “What’s on your mind?” If other people laugh, that is great – they get a healthy smile on their face and I get the satisfaction of putting it there. If not, no problem, it will be gone the next time you log on, down into the Facebook basement (or is it a dungeon?) where old posts go to sit in the dampness and reminisce about the days “we were on the wall.” So here are a few Facebook jokes from the past couple of years – do with them what you will.
The Facebook Jokes
I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Amnesty International, the National Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy for all the free return address labels.
While cleaning the spice rack, I knocked over some herbs and ended up with a lot of thyme on my hands.
My doctor told me I have a non-productive cough. So apparently my cough sits around all day DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
A partner at work is missing two of his chickens. He suspects a coyote is the culprit. The tip-off: all those empty Acme boxes behind the barn.
Just “liked” Elizabeth Warren. Should I worry that she’ll think I “like her” like her?
I was thinking of selecting the very best poems by Walt Whitman and publishing them in a book. I was going to call it “A Whitman Sampler.” Although I am a little worried that people may just read a little bit of each poem until they find one they like.
Q. Why did Gandhi throw his bread against the wall? A. Because he believed in naan violence.
On being a lawyer:
As I sit here in the office on a Saturday night, having procrastinated too long on
my brief, and now pulling a marathon writing session to get it done on time, I realized –
Hey, things haven’t changed that much since college.
Just filed a motion for enlargement of time. Now I’m worried that the judge won’t be
able to grant it until there’s a quantum fluctuation in the fabric of the cosmos.
Whenever someone says, “Let me be totally honest with you…”, I always want to ask, “What were you doing before?”
On the BP oil spill:
Reminder: Change batteries on my blowout preventer.
Just thinking about that old joke where Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink. When he’s done, the bartender asks if he wants another and Rene says, “I think not” and disappears.
Finally saw 127 Hours. I give it one thumb up.
After sitting through all nine and a half hours of Les Miserables, here’s what I learned:
(1) In 19th Century France, everyone sang instead of talked (2) in perfect English! and
(3) little Cockney boys roamed the streets of Paris.
As we walked out of Amour, I thought, They don’t make romantic comedies the way they
Neighbors skeptical about attempt to create a new holiday tradition of door-to-door St. Patrick’s Day caroling.
One of the worst things about getting older is slowly losing my hearing. Like the other day, my wife asked me to bring home a bag of lemons, and I misheard her and brought home a bag of lemmings. Cute little critters, but try to squeeze one over your swordfish and it gets nasty!
I was thinking that ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ should not apply to masochists.
Spit on the sidewalk = lowered expectorations?
Just found out there is an interstate highway in Hawaii. Hmm.
Ate three apples yesterday. My question is: Will it keep three doctors away for one day or one doctor away for three days?
My latest band name idea: The Maynard G. Krebs Cycle
Keep meaning to get to one of those Procrastinators Anonymous meetings…
Ohio: Birthplace of Aviation. North Carolina: First In Flight. Who’s got the Wright stuff?
Classical concert promoters, astonished at sell-out crowd, later discover typo in announcement for Beethoven’s “Erotica” Symphony.
I was surprised to hear Stephen Hawking’s voice coming out of the ticket machine in my local parking garage. Doesn’t he have enough work with all the physics stuff?
I was sorry to see that Don Cornelius, of Soul Train, passed away last week. My thoughts go out to his distant cousin, Yukon.
Why did the woman in the produce section slap me? All I said was, “Nice pear.”
And who (in our age cohort) can forget that rousing call to action: “Do a little dance. Make a little love. Get down tonight. Get down tonight.”
Making lists: it’s not just my passion, it’s also a desperate cry for help.
If your childhood was anything like mine, you spend the rest of your life in fear of having to say the words, “Where should I put this?”
As I was getting ready for work this morning, I was reminded of that classic blues song, “If it wasn’t for stained dress shirts, I wouldn’t have no dress shirts at all.”
If you’re like me, when you think, “21st Century Innovations that Have Improved Our Quality of Life”, one thing immediately comes to mind: Gas Station Television.
Whenever I hear the Republicans accusing the Democrats of planning to redistribute the wealth, I always think the same thing: I wish.
Since the election, Obama has stopped sending me e-mails every day. Are we no longer friends?
I hear Courtney Love is making a comeback – she’s hosting a cooking show, where she’ll teach viewers how to make brownies, cookies, etc. It will be called, “Someday You Will Bake Like I Bake.”
Reading an interesting book about a nobleman stuck in an ancient prison who escapes by greasing a crack in the stones with vegetable oil and slipping out. It’s called The Count of Monte-Crisco.
Not sure why, but like the rest of Massachusetts, we’re going on a milk-and-bread-only diet for the blizzard.
Just realized that, from the outside, “Too busy to clean the house” and “Too lazy to clean the house” look exactly the same.
On my way out of the office one winter morning, a man on his way in said, “Watch out for the black ice” and for just a second I thought, What a racist!
Since the meteor fell in Russia, I haven’t seen a single dinosaur. Coincidence?
Just downloaded Michelle Shocked’s two new songs, “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be An Old Bigot” and “Anchored Down in Crazy Town.”
Lawyer’s Dictionary: “clearly” (adv.) = I don’t have a real argument. I’m just hoping you’ll think this is obvious.
The verdict is in: the spider in the bathroom is guilty of being big and scary. Jury still divided (1-1) on whether to impose the death penalty.
At my nephew’s high school graduation, everyone was peppering him with baseball questions – he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the game. I waited for him to finish an answer, and then I asked my question, “What does it feel like when, every time you get up to bat in Little League, the whole infield and outfield moves in much closer to home?” He looked at me for a second, and then I said, “Actually I do know how that feels.”