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Mekalekahi-Mekahiniho, 1910

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 07, 2009

Or, for those of you with only rusty knowledge of that rollickin’ fun language of Aramaic [comments 1 and 3]:

Funny Bones, 1910

No Admittance

Little Bernard’s mother was giving him a bath, and, just as the process was being completed, he heard his sister at the door.

“You can’t come in now, Nellie,” he called, “I’m Cupid.”

Overdressed

David Bispham tells of a man who waited for his daughter a long time. Finally he called upstairs: “What a time you girls take getting dressed for the concert. Look at me! Just a shirt, a tie, and cotton in my ears, and I am ready.”

Sign of Precocity

“Oi belave,” declared the Irishman, “thot me youngest son’s born t’ be a surgeon.”

“Phwat leads ye t’ say thot?” asked his friend.

“Oi caught him usin’ th’ scissors on a book Oi’d lately bought, an’ before Oi c’d stop him he cut out th’ appindix.”

She Hadn’t Enough

A woman entered a photographer’s gallery. “Do you take pictures of children?” she asked.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“How much are they, please?”

“Three dollars a dozen,” said the proprietor.

“Well,” she replied, with a sigh, “I shall have to wait and come again. I have only eleven.”

His Smile Came Off

In a Pennsylvania town where the Friends abound a prim old Quaker spinster recently attended the marriage of her grandnephew, a young person who had in the course of his twenty-one years received much needed discipline at her hands.

The old lady was at her best on this festive occasion, and, at a pause in the wedding breakfast, the happy groom looked over at her with a beguiling smile.

“Tell us why thee never married, Aunt Patience?” he said, teasingly.

“That is soon told, William,” said the old Quakeress, calmly. “It was because I was not as easily pleased as thy wife was.”

He and She

A fashionable city lady was paying her first visit to a farm. The farmer’s boy was feeding a chicken and the lady asked: “What would you do if that chicken laid an egg?” “Sell it to a museum,” replied the boy. “That chicken’s a rooster.”

Her Only Request

A lady complained to her milkman of the quality of milk he sold her.

“Well, mum,” said the milkman, “the cows don’t get enough grass feed this time o’ year. Why, them cows are just as sorry about it as I am. I often see ’em cryin’, regular cryin’, mum – because they feel as how their milk don’t do ’em credit. Don’t you believe it, mum?

“Oh, yes, I believe it,” responded his customer; “but I wish in future you’d see that they don’t drop their tears into our can.”

Like

When is a baby like a cannibal? When it eats its pap.

Breeding

Mamma – “Did you tell God how naughty you were?”

Mary – “No, mamma, I thought it hadn’t better get out of the family.”

“Going up to hear that lecture on appendicitis today?”

“Naw. I’m tired of these organ recitals.”

The Professor – Does she sing like a nightingale?

The Tenor – Gee, no – a nightingale can be scared off.

“How iss your boy Fritz getting along in der college?”

“Ach! he is halfback in der football team and all der way back in his studies.”

A charming young woman named Ginter
Got married in Salem last winter.
Her man’s name was Wood
And now, as they should,
The Woods have a cute little splinter.

Doubtful Assurances

“Do you think they approved of my sermon?” asked the newly appointed rector.

“Yes, I think so,” replied his wife; “they were all nodding.”

Not On Her Life

An Irish woman walked into a large department store. The floor-walker, who was very bow-legged, asked her what he could do for her. She told him that she would like to look at the handkerchiefs that were advertised.

“Just walk this way, ma’am,” said the floor-walker.

The woman looked at his legs.

“No, sir,” indignantly replied the old lady; “I’ll die first.”

No Business of Hers

“I shall have to ask you for a ticket for that boy, ma’am.”

“I guess not.”

“He’s too old to travel free. He occupies a whole seat, and the car’s crowded. There are people standing.”

“I can’t help that.”

“I haven’t time to argue the matter, ma’am. You’ll have to pay for the boy.”

“I’ve never paid for him yet.”

“You’ve got to begin doing it some time.”

“Not this trip, anyway.”

“You’ll pay for that boy, ma’am, or I’ll stop the train and put him off.”

“All right. Put him off if you think that’s the way to get anything out of me.”

“You ought to know what the rules of this road are, ma’am. How old is that boy?”

“I don’t know. I never saw him before.”

Conservation Problem

“Do you think the auto will ever succeed in doing away with the horse?”

“No, but they are doing away with a lot of cats.”

A Possible Substitute

“What have you in the shape of cucumbers this morning?” asked the customer of the new grocery clerk.

“Nothing but bananas, ma’am,” was the reply.



13 Comments »

  1. “She Had Enough” reminds me of a classic Mormon joke:

    Q: Why do Mormon women stop having kids at 42?
    A: Because 43 is too many.

    Comment by Ray — March 7, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  2. I had to look up “pap” (thinking there must be a different meaning) for the “Like” joke and I still don’t get it. When a baby eats its own nipple?

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — March 7, 2009 @ 10:33 am

  3. His mother’s, not his own. (More generally, “pap” is any food for infants.) It’s a play on “pap” as in “papa” or “pappy” — he’s a cannibal for eating his dad, not for breast-feeding. That joke might have worked better when the word was in more common use.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 7, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  4. These are funny. One of my long-divorced coworkers had a sign above her desk, supposedly a quote from an old Quaker woman saying, “Know ye that it takes a mighty good husband to be better than none”. Was there a tradition of an unusual number of unmarried women among the Quakers?

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  5. Not as far as I’m aware, Tatiana. (Certainly all MY Quaker ancestors, and I had many in several lines, were married. ;) )

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 7, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  6. Ardis, you’re making me into a historian! (said with alarm)

    Here’s a poem (or excerpts) I found from a prominent Quaker spinster woman, Susanna Wright, in Philadelphia to her friend who seems to be contemplating marriage. This is from around the mid 1700s. (I left the original spellings and punctuation. I like to read things the way people wrote them.)

    To Eliza Norris — at fairhill

    Siner Adam, by our first fair mother won
    To share her fate — to Taste, & be undone
    And that great Law, whence no appeal must Lye
    Pronounced a Doom, That He should Rule — & Die
    The Patial Race, rejoycing to fulfill
    This Pleasing Dictate of almighty Will,
    (With no Superior virtue in Their Mind)
    Assert Their Right to Govern womankind
    But Womankind, call Reason to Their aid
    And Question, when or where, that Law was made,
    That Law Divine, — (A Plausible pretense)
    oft urg’d, with none, & oft with Little Sense
    from wisdom’s source, no origin could draw
    That form’d the Men, to keep The Sex in awe,
    Say, Reason Govern, all the mighty frame
    And Reason rules, in every one, the same
    No Right, has man, his Equal, to controul,
    Since, all agree, There is no Sex in soul;
    weak women, thus, in agreement grown strong,
    shakes off the yoke, her Parents wore too long;
    But He, who arguments, in vain, had tryed
    Hopes still for Conquest, from ye yielding side
    Soft Soothing flattery & Persuasion Tries,
    And by a Feigned submission, seeks to rise,
    steals, unperceived, — to the uguarded heart,
    And There Reigns TYRANT, –

    But you, whom no Seducing Tales Can gain
    To yield obedience, — or to wear the Chain
    But set a Queen & in your freedom reign,
    O’er your own Thoughts,, of your own heart Secure,
    You see, what Toys, Each Erring sex allure,
    Look round the most Intelligent, how few,
    But Passions Sway, or Childish joys pursue,
    Then Bless that Choice, which led your bloom of youth,
    from forms & shadows, –to Enlightning truth,
    Best found, where Leisure & Retirment reign
    far, from the Proud, –The Busy–& the vain
    where Rural views,–soft gentle Joys impart
    Enlarge The thought, & Elevate the heart,
    Each Changing Scene, adorns gay Nature’s face
    Ev’n winter wants not, its Peculiar grace
    Hoar frosts & dews, & Pale, & summer suns,
    Paint each Revolving season as it runs,
    The Showery Bow, delights your wond’ring Eyes
    Its Spacious Arch, & Variegated dyes,
    You watch the Transient Colors, as They fade,
    Till, by degrees, — they settle into shade
    Then Calm Reflect, — so Regular & fine
    Now seen no more, — a fate will soon be mine,
    When life’s warm streams, Chill’d by deaths Fey hand
    Within these veins, a frozen Current Stands,
    Tho Conscious of Desert superior far

    Till Then, my friend, the righteous claim forbear
    Indulge Man in his darling vice of sway
    He only Rules Those, who of Choice obey;
    When strip’d of Power, & Plac’d in equal light
    Angels shall Judge who had the Better right
    All you can do, — is but to Let him see,
    That woman still, shall sure his equal be,
    By your Example, shake his ancient law,
    And shine your self, the finish’d Peice you draw;

    This seems to be excerpts, not the whole poem. I got this not from a primary source but from a book called Women and Freedom in Early America, by Larry D. Eldridge.

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  7. The Quakers were amazing. They believed in real equality between men and women, and between people of every race, and they were centuries ahead of society’s curve on all of those things. They started the first mental hospital in the country, so obviously they feared mental illness less, and understood it better, than society at the time. Why were they given so much light that we LDS didn’t have? To me that’s a deep and serious question.

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  8. I’ve got very, very bad news for you, Tatiana — you’re already a historian, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Surrender and enjoy!

    (I fixed the typo you pointed out so that it would be convenient for any reader who wanted to copy the poem.)

    The Quakers were amazing — I agree — and I’m proud of my personal heritage and for their contributions to this country and to mankind in general. They stayed faithful to the light they had despite many decades of persecution that topped anything we endured (other than, perhaps, very brief spikes in our worst troubles which may have matched theirs), and they jumpstarted social revolutions, like the antislavery campaign, for which we all should applaud. There’s no question in my mind that they responded to the Light of Christ that the scriptures tell us is the birthright of all of us, only they listened to it more closely than most.

    Did they have light that we LDS didn’t have? I don’t know, really — by the mid-19th century they had had two centuries to adapt and earn their place on this continent while we were still scrambling to survive as a people. They did much that was right, but their philosophy was mingled with men’s as much as anyone’s — the Lord didn’t tell Joseph Smith to become a Quaker, and Joseph wasn’t inspired to adopt major features of their creed. My Birdsall ancestors and their Washburn cousins moved from centuries of Quakerism directly to Mormonism when they heard it, without wandering around in search of anything else in between — if we could bring them into the discussion, they might be able to explain their willingness to convert. I can only know that they almost immediately did recognize Mormonism as superior, for whatever reason, because they did convert.

    See, Tatiana, the evidence of your being a historian: You can start with a silly joke, think about what it meant in the context of the past, recall relevant documents, and spark a serious discussion about the past and the people who inhabited it. You’re sunk. You’re one of us.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 7, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  9. (laughs) I guess I’ll have to get used to the idea.

    I have no urge to become a Quaker, and even the evidence of the poem shows that we had and have light that they lack. I’m a Mormon. That won’t change. Still I’m yearning for something that I see here. Something that recognizes the equality of women, and particularly single women, in an immediate hands-on way, not just as an idea, not just intellectually. To see that this woman had it in the mid-1700s makes me wistful. Will we have that by 2050? Can we manage to lag only 300 years behind the Quakers on this?

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  10. I very often feel that I’m lacking something in church experience — yearning for it, in your words. That has eased enormously since I was recently called to teach Gospel Doctrine, and I finally feel like I have a place in the ward, like I’m needed for more than four hours of participation per year. So while I don’t know that I’d label that a yearning for “equality,” I do recognize a yearning for a greater voice, a need to be needed and used, that has gone unmet for decades. I don’t know what to do about it, and don’t even have suggestions for what I’d like to see change, or I’d have asked for it by now. I only know that being told to bake cookies and babysit is not an adequate use of the gifts that I need to offer, but that is the only “solution” ever preached for single women.

    Rereading, I see you use the term “an immediate hands-on way,” which strengthens my perception that we’re feeling the very same thing, even if we diagnose it a little differently.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 7, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

  11. Yes, I think we’re talking about the same thing.

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

  12. Ray, I love your joke. =)

    Comment by Tatiana — March 7, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  13. Great jokes! For some reason this time period’s humor really resonates with me.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — March 9, 2009 @ 8:00 am

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