Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1964

Funny Bones, 1964

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 21, 2009

Somewhere along the line, the humor of the church magazines became a lot more dignified and, well, a lot less funny. You won’t be slapping your knee and laughing uproariously at anything in these quips from the 1964 Improvement Era, but maybe you’ll find yourself smiling now and then:


Some folks demand the benefit of the doubt when there isn’t any.

If there were more self-starters, the boss wouldn’t have to be a crank.

All women’s hats are different – milliners seldom make the same mistake twice.

If your wife wants to learn to drive, don’t stand in her way.

Nature is amazing. Who would have thought of growing a fly swatter at the end of a cow?


A four-year-old was spending a weekend with her grandmother and insisted on helping her with almost every task, even to peeling onions at the kitchen sink. When tears started streaming down both their cheeks, the little one looked up and said, “We’re both sorry, aren’t we, Grandma?”


A fanatic is anybody who is highly enthusiastic about something in which you aren’t even remotely interested.

Ideas are very much like children – your own are very wonderful.

The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.

A man can wear his hair three ways: parted, unparted, or departed.

Flattery: The power to describe others as they see themselves.


A schoolteacher was given a ticket for driving through a stop light. It called for her appearance in traffic court the following Monday morning. She went at once to the judge, explaining that she had to teach on Monday, and asked for an immediate hearing of her case. “So – you’re a schoolteacher,” said the judge. “Madam, your presence here fulfils a longstanding ambition of mine. You sit down at that table, and write ‘I went through a stop light’ five hundred times.”


A man owes it to himself to become successful; after that, he owes it to the Internal Revenue Service.

A budget is a plan that enables you to pay as you go – provided you don’t go anywhere.

Ahead is what you can’t get without using.

Child to father reading bedtime story: “When her pumpkin turned into a golden coach, did she report that as earned income or capital gain?”

Too many people are inclined to judge right from wrong on the basis of which pays the best.


Teacher: “What are the leaders of Indian tribes called, Mary?”

Mary: “Chiefs.”

Teacher: “Right. now Johnny, what are the women called?”

Johnny: “Uh … Mischiefs?”


Memory is what makes you wonder what you’ve forgotten to do.

Distance lends enchantment. but not when you’re out of gas.

A radio station phoned one thousand men asking to whom they were listening. Eighty percent said their wives.

Give some weeds an inch and they will take a yard.

A diet is a short period of starvation preceding a rapid gain of five pounds.


“Tommy, who started this?” she demanded sharply.

“Well, replied Tommy, “it all started when Albert hit me back.”


Junk is something you keep for ten years and then throw away two weeks before you need it.

When you hire people who are smarter than you are to work for you, it just proves that you are smarter than they are.

When two egotists meet, it’s usually a case of an I for an I.

You can always tell when a man is quite well-informed and intelligent. His views are very much like yours.

Experience surely teaches us that there’s a small but important difference between keeping your chin up and sticking your neck out.


Clerk: “What’s the matter, sonny, are you lost?”

Small boy: “Please, mister, did you see a lady alone whose little boy looks like me?”


Men, like tacks, are useful if they have good heads and are pointed in the right direction.

The hardest thing about making money last is to make it first.

Husband, who’s forgotten, to wife: “How do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?

Two women were preparing to board an airliner. One of them turned to the pilot and said: “Please don’t go faster than sound; we want to talk.”

The geography teacher asked Bobby a question about the English Channel. “I don’t know,” answered Bobby. “We don’t get that channel on our television set.”


“What kept you so late at school, Sammy?” questioned his mother.

“The teacher kept me in because I didn’t know where the Himalayas are.”

“Serves you right. You ought to remember where you put them.”


The teacher was checking her student’s knowledge of proverbs. “Cleanliness is next to what?” she asked. A small boy replied with real feeling: “Impossible.”



  1. If your wife wants to learn to drive, don’t stand in her way.

    Reminds me of this one: If a woman runs over a man, whose fault is it? The man’s, of course. He should have stayed out of the kitchen. (*ducking and running for cover*)

    A radio station phoned one thousand men asking to whom they were listening. Eighty percent said their wives.

    At least they were being honest.

    How do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?

    Thanks, Ardis. I’m sure I’ll need to remember that one.

    Comment by Ray — February 21, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  2. “How do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?”

    Yeah, I shared that one with my husband too. These are all pretty funny, Ardis. Either the humor drought isn’t as bad as you thought or you’re really good and finding the good ones. :)

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — February 21, 2009 @ 10:48 am

  3. I’m glad you both found some to like — either you have a sophisticated humor palate, or there’s power in lowered expectatons! :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 21, 2009 @ 11:17 am

  4. I get the feeling these are meant partly to teach as well as amuse. Do you?

    Comment by Tatiana — February 21, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  5. Yeah. That’s part of the “dignity” I see in them — just plain fun is undignified and could lead to “loud laughter,” but if it’s “wit AND wisdom” then it’s worthy of a church magazine.

    I told the “what are Indian leaders called? what are Indian women called?” one to a Navajo security guard yesterday. He wore a stony look when I got to the “women” part — then genuinely laughed, partly out of relief, I think.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 21, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  6. Yes, that one about the forgotten birthday was pretty smooth!

    Comment by Ben Pratt — February 21, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  7. That one is starting to look like a universal favorite.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 21, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

  8. “If your wife wants to learn to drive, don’t stand in her way.”

    Reminded me in a funny sort of way of GBH’s counsel to husbands to make sure they give their wives wings to fly, and then to get out of the way.

    Comment by Hunter — February 21, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

  9. “If your wife wants to learn to drive, don’t stand in her way.”
    Reminds me of the man whose pet octopus drowned. “It’s OK” he said “I wasn’t attached”

    Comment by BruceCrow — February 22, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  10. Well, I certainly enjoyed them. =)

    Some of them look like they were cribbed from Ambrose Bierce. o_O

    Comment by FHL — February 23, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

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