What's Funny? What's Not?
I haven’t talked to many people about outhouses or about outhouse postcards. Frankly, I’ve only had two conversations; the first was when I asked a somewhat scholarly individual if he had ever read any “outhouse poetry.”
I wouldn’t dream of telling you his answer!
No need to mention the second conversation, but here are a few memorable couplets.
There are flies upon the corncobs
And slivers on the seat
But here’s a childhood memory
That really can’t be beat.
I cannot boast of my Aroma-
Nor do I issue a Diploma
But it’s a lot of Fuddle-duddy
That there’s a Better Place to Study
Too busy traveling
To write a letter
Stopped here for service!
Feeling much better.
THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF.
My first question to anyone who would like to discuss this topic would be, “When did potty-humor become popular?
My last question to the same individual would be, “When do you think the fad will be over?”
I have never understood bathroom humor. I’m not quite sure what that says about me. I guess the sum-total of it is . . . I’m a stuffy old man with no appreciation of what is funny.
Recently completed research has taught me that the first joke about perfectly natural bodily functions was written right after Adam said to Eve, “Honey, I’ll be right back.”
From generations unknown, through ages when such jokes were heard only in rest rooms, alley ways, and pubs or saloons, it can be assumed that most people were left out of ear-shot by the harlequin of the age. Then came the “in-your-face” period in history when Norman Lear introduced Americans to bathroom humor in the sit-com All in the Family. We all remember how Archie Bunker constantly screamed at Edith and their antics were interrupted by Meathead as he comes down from the upstairs within seconds after the sound of a flushed toilet interrupted the laugh-tract.
Today, apparently the Internet is the repository for such demented bits of humor. One site, in and of itself has set the bar very low since it is festooned with misspellings, punctuation errors, poor grammar and a dictionary full of words seldom heard in civilized conversations.
Yes, I have an idea of what you’re thinking. And, yes you are correct, I read every joke. I felt that my research would be incomplete otherwise. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I actually did laugh at one joke.
In the early 20th century, Thomas Edison
was spreading the word about electricity.
Once, when Mr. Edison was on vacation someplace out West, he stopped at an Indian reservation. He was shocked to learn that there was no indoor plumbing, and that he would have to use an outhouse. In fact, he was told, the locals had to use an outhouse every day of the year, at all hours of the day, regardless of the weather.
In an attempt to be helpful, Edison installed lights in the outhouse.
With this kind act, he became the first person to wire a head for a reservation!
Another element of humor that makes my head ache is how people of certain races, nationalities, and ethnicities are literally assigned a character trait by the jokesters.
For example, have you ever heard a joke with a “Smart Pole,” a “Literate Irishman,” or a “Poor Jew?”
A Polish Guy and a German Guy Are Arguing
The Polish guy contends that Polish people are the smartest people in the world. He even makes the claim that the Polish people invented the outhouse.
The German guy looks at him not quite knowing how to respond. Then in self-defense, he says, “That may very well be true, but it was we Germans who put the hole in the floor.”
Worse yet in my mind is how there are so many people who find intellect or the lack of it funny. And how intelligence is sometimes measured by one’s address.
A Social Worker from a Big City …
… recently transferred to the sticks in south Georgia and was on the first tour of her new territory when she came upon the tiniest cabin she had ever seen.
Intrigued, she went up and knocked on the door.
“Anybody home?” she asked.
“Yep,” came a kid’s voice through the door.
“Is your father there?” asked the social worker.
“Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in,” said the kid.
“Well, is your mother there?” persisted the social worker.
“Ma? Nope, she left just afore I got here,” said the kid.
“But,” protested the social worker, “are you never together as a family?”
“Sure, but we meet in the kitchen, not our outhouse!”
Here we are singing the 21st century answer to the most asked parental question in history, “Where did you learn that?”
Today our children are saying, “I learned it from the Internet.” But years ago, they would have said, “I saw it on a postcard.”
It’s true! We postcard collectors with an acute sense of what is funny know that the postcards that dealers file behind the Outhouse Humor tab are really funny. See for yourself.
I’ll leave you with the best, since the questionable location sought in this last joke may very well have been the postcard publisher from Chicago.
On a Cold Winter’s Night in December …
a farmer is sitting on his porch enjoying his pipe just before turning-in for the night. He hears a loud crash behind his home. He grabs his shotgun and takes off running around the corner of his house, and sees his outhouse completely destroyed. Nine reindeer lay on the ground, a heavy set gentleman in a red suit is standing next to a huge sleigh that is resting on its side. There are bags of gift-wrapped presents scattered throughout the backyard. The farmer recognizes his unexpected visitor when he hears Santa yelling “Rudolph, you idiot I said the Schmidt house!”