Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1941

Funny Bones, 1941

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 23, 2008

Not the best year for humor in the church magazines, I fear, but there are two or three that made me chuckle.

Two small British boys were gazing at the shop windows decorated for Christmas. Presently they came to a butcher’s shop, and one of them pointed to a number of hams hanging from a large holly branch. “Look, Tom,” he said. “Look at them ‘ams agrowing up there.”

“Get away,” said the other. “‘Ams don’t grow.”

“Well, that’s all you know about it,” said the first scornfully. “Ain’t you ever ‘eard of a ‘ambush?”

A doctor, an engineer, and a politician were arguing over who had the oldest profession. The doctor said: “Of course, medicine is the oldest. mankind has always had physicians, and they are even mentioned in the Bible.”

“That is nothing,” said the engineer. “The Good Book tells how the world was created out of chaos, and how could there be any order brought out of chaos without an engineer?”

“Yes,” said the politician, “and who do you think created chaos?”

Judge: “This lady says you tried to speak to her at the station.”

Salesman: “It was a mistake. I was looking for my friend’s sister whom I had never seen before, but who had been described to me as a handsome blonde with classic features, fine complexion, perfect figure, beautifully dressed, and – ”

Witness: “I don’t care to prosecute the gentleman. Anyone might make the same mistake.”

A woman was entering a movie when an attendant stopped her. “Please excuse me, madam,” he said, “but you can’t take your dog inside.”

“How absurd!” protested the woman. “What harm could the pictures do to a tiny dog like that?”

Miss Bright: “I use the dumbbells to get color in my face.”

Her Uncle: “Sensible girl! That’s a lot better than using color on your face to get the dumbbells.”

It Might Happen Again

Mother: “Junior, why do you always come to the table with dirty hands? You know I always send you away to wash them.”

Junior: “Well, once you forgot.”

First Neighbor: “You say your son is making his way through college writing?”

Second Neighbor: “Yes, writing home for money.”

Aye, Aye, Sir!

“Dearest,” said the new husband to his bride, “do you really think I’ll prove a satisfactory mate?”

“Oh, you’ll do for a mate, all right,” answered his precious girl. “Now look me over and tell me what you think of your captain.”

Businessman: “What do you do with all these pictures you paint?”

Modernistic artist: “Why, sell them!”

Businessman: “What? Name your terms! I’ve been looking for a salesman like you for years.”

“Really, gentlemen,” said the candidate, “with all this uproar I can hardly hear myself speak.”

“Well, cheer up,” shouted a man, “you aren’t missing much.”

“Dad,” said his extravagant son, “do you think they will ever find a substitute for gasoline?”

“They have one now, son – shoe leather.”

Flaherty: “And so yer name is Reilly? Are yez related to Tim Reilly?”

Reilly: “Very distantly. Oi wuz me mither’s first child and Tim was her tenth.”

Caller: “We are collecting for the Old Ladies’ Home. Won’t you give something?”

Man of the House: “Sure thing. You can have my mother-in-law.”

Mother: “Billie, sit down and tell your little sister a story.”

Billie: “I can’t sit down, mother. I just told daddy a story.”

She: “I’m going to have to get a new maid.”

He: “Why, dear?”

She: “She handles China like Japan.”

Judge: “You are a danger to pedestrians. You will not be permitted to drive a car for two years.”

Defendant: “But, your Honor, my living depends on it.”

Judge: “So does theirs.”

Mom: “There were three pieces of cake in the pantry and now there’s only one. How did that happen?”

Sonny: “Well, it was so dark in there I didn’t see the other piece.”

Pat worked at a factory where the staff was encouraged to think of ideas for the smoother running of the business. One day he was shown into the president’s office and announced that he had thought of a way of insuring that no one would be late in the future. “That sounds good,” said the president. “How do you propose to do it?”

“Sure, that’s easy, sir,” said Pat. “The last man in blows the whistle.”

Dolly: “Surely you’re not going to let that redhead steal your boyfriend!”

Polly: “Never! I’ll dye first!”

She: “Did anyone ever tell you how wonderful you are?”

He: “I don’t believe they ever did.”

She: “Then where’d you get the idea?”



  1. With Nanjing fresh on people’s minds the China/Japan joke was probably considered funny from a distance but less so a few months later. From a perspective separated by both distance and time it has lost a lot of its punch, and I fear I would have to explain it to my teenager.

    Somehow I think jokes about the European theater might have a longer life. I can think of a lot of ways to create jokes similar to the above that involve Germans & Poles, Germans & Czechs, Germany & Hungary.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — August 23, 2008 @ 7:40 am

  2. And yet that’s one of the few that made me smile, probably because I had to stop and figure it out, and I enjoyed the 1940s-flavor of it. Contrast that with the doctor, the engineer, and the politician, which you’ve probably heard twice in the last month — whatever novelty that one had was solely in finding it was as old as it is.

    The other one that made me laugh was how the Irishman was distantly related to his brother. That could so easily be adapted as a Mormon joke!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 23, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  3. “Really, gentlemen,” said the candidate, “with all this uproar I can hardly hear myself speak.”

    “Well, cheer up,” shouted a man, “you aren’t missing much.”

    We were out and about today and managed to miss Obama speaking on the radio but heard Biden. The longer he talked, the more evident it was that he was a lawyer by training. (I didn’t know that for sure, but just looked up his bio and it says he got his JD at Syracuse.) Lawyers have a particular ability to be able to talk extensively without actually saying anything. Rex Lee, the former solicitor general and president of BYU, was really good at it.

    Comment by Researcher — August 23, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  4. I used to like listening to Biden when he was a guest on Imus’s program. But a few minutes of him this afternoon and I was out finding something else to do.

    That’s really an unkind thing you say about lawyers, though. Remember, Biden hasn’t been a practicing lawyer for at least 35 years–he was elected to the senate at age 30. So, you should change your comment and direct it at politicians–or senators.

    I can’t speak to your comment about Rex Lee–he was just the brand new dean of the law school when I left BYU. But he gave at least one good talk, back in 74 or 75 about limitations on the exercise of power.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 23, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  5. “That’s really an unkind thing you say about lawyers…”

    (Giggle. The risks of the profession.)

    The other thing lawyers tend to do (from my experience) is make definitive statements on any and all topics. And if you don’t want to make a definitive statement about something you’re not 100 percent sure of, you choose a related point and discuss it until people forget the original question.

    (My dad and grandpa are/were lawyers and it took many years to realize they did that. In fact, I notice myself doing it regularly. Early training, you know. [My sisters do it too.])

    You may have a valid point about politics, though, Mark B, since Lee spent a fair amount of time in Washington DC and he could have picked up the habit there. (Politicus pontificus: a lawyer who’s gone into politics.)

    Comment by Researcher — August 24, 2008 @ 6:07 am

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