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Funny Bones, 1916

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 20, 2008

First Lessons

“What is a man-of-war?” said a teacher to his class.

“A cruiser,” was the prompt reply.

“What makes it go?”

“Its screw, sir.”

“Who goes with it?”

“Its crew, sir.”

No Other Place to Stay

The superintendent of a penitentiary was escorting a party of women visitors through the building. They entered the room where three women were busy sewing. As they turned to leave the room, one of the visitors said: “What vicious looking creatures! What are they in for? they really look capable of committing any crime.”

“Well,” replied the superintendent. “that is my private sitting room, and they are my wife and two daughters.”

He Was It

He ran lightly up the steps and gave the doorbell an impatient yank. the door was opened by a new maid who had never before seen the young man.

“Is Miss Edith in?” he demanded.

“Yes, sor,” said the girl; “but she’s engaged, sor.”

“I know it,” he replied, “I’m what she’s engaged to.”

The Editor’s Reply

A Kansas man wrote to his newspaper and asked: “What’s the matter with my hens? Every morning when I go to feed them I find some of them have keeled over to rise no more.”

To which the editor replied: “They’re dead.”

Not a Chimney

A stranger from the East was proceeding through a certain section of Kansas when he observed what seemed to be a tall chimney rising above the monotonous level of the prairie.

“What is that chimney used for?” he asked a native. “Somebody building a factory in that out-of-the-way quarter?”

“That ain’t no chimney,” said the other. “That’s Hank Lewis’s well. Cyclone came along an’ turned her inside out.”

Different Now

“I see they have operated on a boy’s head in order to make a better boy of him.”

“That isn’t where my dad used to operate on me to make a better boy of me.”

Limerick of Infelicity

A lady as proud as old Lucifer
Is tired of her husband’s abucifer.
She says she will see
If she ever gets free
Love doesn’t again make a gucifer.

He Never Did It Before

A Chicago salesman bought the only remaining sleeping car space. An elderly lady next to him in line burst into tears. “I must have a berth in that train,” she exclaimed, “it’s a matter of life or death!”

The salesman gallantly sold his reservation to her. Next morning his wife was astounded to receive the following telegram from her husband: “Will not arrive until tomorrow. Gave berth to an old lady last night.”

Hopeless

He: “Be candid and tell me when you want me to go.”

She: “It’s a couple of hours too late for that.”

Mistaken Identity

Male Straphanger: “Madam, you are standing on my foot.”

Female Ditto: “Beg pardon, sir. I thought it belonged to the man sitting down.”

One Guess Left

Teacher: “Tommy, use the word ‘notwithstanding’ in a sentence.”

Tommy: “Father wore his trousers out, but notwithstanding.”

Grateful

Boreleigh: “Some men, you know, are born great, some achieve greatness –”

Miss Keen: “Exactly! And some just grate upon you.”

A Long Shot

Ma: “You’ve been drinking. I smell it in your breath.”

Pa: “Not a drop. I’ve been eating frog’s legs. What you smell is the hops.”

Inside Information

Tommy: “Mama, have gooseberries got legs?”

Mom: “Of course not, Tommy.”

Tommy: “Then I’ve swallowed a caterpillar.”

Not Crowded

Willie: “Mama, do people that lie ever go to heaven?”

Mother – “Why, of course not, Willie.”

Willie: “Gee! I bet it’s lonesome up in heaven with only the Lord and George Washington.”

The Privileged Classes

A Cockney angler, thinking that his Highland boatman was not treating him with the respect due to his station, expostulated thus:

“Look here, my good man, you don’t seem to grasp who I am. Do you know that my family have been entitled to bear arms for the last two hundred years?”

“Hoots, that’s naething!” was the reply. “My ancestors have been entitled to bare legs for the last two thousand years.”

The Best of Reasons

Mrs. Parker: “Now, young man, why aren’t you at the Front?”

Young Man (milking cow): “Cos there ain’t any milk that end, missus!”

Ma Was Particular

The little girl timidly asked the drug clerk for a package of pink dye. “What do you want it for?” responded the clerk. “Woolen or cotton goods?”

“Neither,” said the child. “It’s for ma’s stomach. The doctor said she’d have to diet, and so she wants it a pretty color.”

Proving It

“Johnny, don’t you know it’s wrong for a little boy to fight?”

“Yes’m. But Willie doesn’t know it, and I’m proving it to him.”

Time to Move

Native: “Sahib, I saw a lot of tiger tracks about a mile north of here – big ones, too.”

Hunter: “Good! Which way is south?”

His Opinion

“Miserly offered the man who saved his life half a dollar.”

“Did the man accept it?”

“Yes, but he handed Miserly twenty cents change.”



8 Comments »

  1. No Other Place to Stay (the penitentiary joke) is very Dickensian. Think Nicholas Nickleby, for example, and the lovely Squeers family.

    And about the two little fighting boys (Proving It), I recently read this passage in a family history from around that era:

    All of the recesses for a full week or ten days in the first grade were taken up with what you would call an elimination contest.

    You were challenged, and you either became a mamby-pamby sissy if you didn’t participate, or you participated in a round-robin elimination tournament-of-sorts wrestling match. And you wrestled somebody and somebody wrestled somebody else and somebody wrestled somebody else, and everybody challenged anybody they wanted to challenge. And finally you established a pecking order, all the kids that you could lick and all the kids that could lick you, and knew where you stood.

    Comment by Researcher — September 20, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  2. Fight club!

    Fun passage, Researcher.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 20, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  3. Ah Ardis, I’ve missed visiting. You’ve filled my heart with punshine!

    Comment by Jami — September 20, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  4. “The Editor’s Reply” sounds like it could have come straight from my father – delivered without cracking a grin.

    and “He Never Did it Before” could have come from my faither-in-law – delivered while laughing at his own wit.

    and “Proving It” is just priceless.

    Comment by Ray — September 20, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  5. As a frequent straphanger, I have perfected the art of standing on the toes of comfortably seated young men, so “Mistaken Identity” makes me grin wickedly.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 20, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Those made me smile, though I can well imagine handing Miserly a full dollar change ;)

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 20, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  7. I really liked the editors reply.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — September 22, 2008 @ 6:47 am

  8. Great selection! What I enjoy about these posts is that they help to puncture the usually-unspoken assumption that we in the present day are somehow more clever and funny than people were 50, 100, 150 years ago. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — September 22, 2008 @ 9:52 am

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