So for no reason whatsoever, my brain — who doesn’t like to remind me of important things like, oh, say, how to get places I’ve been before or what my wife JUST SAID two minutes ago — decided to remember a joke I used to tell when I was a kid. And it was a popular joke. Kids asked me to tell it over and over.
And it’s terrible. It’s utterly terrible. And not in a “oh, what a terrible pun” sort of way, because I still love those. (Ask my wife about my “calling cod” joke from the other night.) It’s not actually funny.
I found myself wondering today if I was either remembering the joke wrong, or if maybe the joke was told to me wrong. So when I got home today, I looked it up.
It wasn’t supposed to be a joke, apparently. It was supposed to be a ghost story. Possibly a ghost story with a funny ending.
It fails as a ghost story as well. It’s not remotely scary. It’s technically a joke, because there is a punch line; it’s technically a ghost story because there’s a ghost in it. Since I know some of you are wondering, I knew the joke as “Auntie Able” or “Auntie Mabel,” but apparently it’s also known as “Abel Fabel” (or “Able Fable”). I’m not going to tell it here because it’s terrible. Google it if you must, but I hope you’re looking forward to being disappointed.
Why did we laugh at this joke as kids? What on earth did we see in it? Was it the delivery? Was it just lower standards of comedy? GAH.
This is going to bug me.
Look, I’m sorry I wouldn’t tell you the terrible “story/joke.” Here’s a better one.
A very shy and easily embarrassed man was staying in a hotel while on a business trip, and unfortunately something he ate was bothering his system. He ran back and forth to the bathroom in his suite a few times but nothing ever came of it. He gave up and went to sleep, but woke up in the middle of the night with a nasty case of the runs. To his utter dismay, he never even made it out of bed. He felt much better, but now he was faced with the utter humiliation of asking the hotel staff to clean up the mess; too embarrassed to deal with such a thing, the man stripped the sheets from the bed, wadded them into a ball, and hurled them out the window.
Several stories below, they landed on a passing drunk, who was too far gone to know what was happening. He thrashed about with his fists and legs until he finally got untangled, and when he did he saw the doorman rushing up to him.
“What the heck is going on here?” asked the flustered doorman.
“I don’t know,” said the drunk, looking at the mess on the ground next to him. “But I think I might have just beat the crap out of a ghost.”