Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1918

Funny Bones, 1918

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 11, 2009

Welcome back for more humor from the church magazines of the past:

A Problem

Boy: “Can a person be punished for something he hasn’t done?”

Teacher: “Of course not.”

Boy: “Well, I haven’t done my geometry.”

When They Overreached

As they paddled along in a nook,
She said faintly: “Why, Algernon, look,
In that oak, I declare –
I see mistletoe there!
. . . . . . . .
And the crew fished them out with a hook.

A Surveyor Needed

James: “Oh! I had a fine little bulldog, but it swallowed a tape measure – ”

Jack (interrupting): “And died by inches? Jim, how dare you tell such an old joke?”

James: “Now, I wasn’t going to say that at all. My dog became unconscious by my bed, and, as I didn’t want him to die by the foot, I took him out into our alley; and poor thing! … He died by the yard.”

No Story

The cub reporter assigned to cover a local wedding sauntered back into the editorial rooms of his paper.

“Where’s your story? called the impatient city editor. “Hand it across!”

“Sorry!” said the cub nonchalantly, “but there was nothing to report. The bridegroom never turned up.”

No Wonder

A kind-hearted old gentleman came upon a small whimpering urchin. “What’s the matter, my little man?” he asked, sympathetically.

“I’m lost. Boo-hoo!”

“Lost? Nonsense! We mustn’t give up hope so soon. Where do you live?”

“D-don’t know, sir,” whined the youngster. “W-we’ve just moved, and I c-can’t remember the address.”

“Well, what’s your name?”

“D-don’t know, sir.”

“Don’t know?” exclaimed the old gentleman.

“No,” sobbed the urchin. “M-mother got married again this morning.”

A Woman’s Answer

“Do you know why money is so scarce, brothers?” the soap box orator demanded and a fair-sized section of the backbone of the nation waited in leisurely patience for the answer.

A tired-looking woman paused for a moment on the edge of the crowd. She spoke shortly.

“It’s because so many of you men spend your time telling each other why, ’stead of hustling to see that it ain’t!”

A Left-Hander

“I’m quite a near neighbor of yours now,” said Mr. Bore. “I’m living just across the river.”

“Indeed,” replied Miss Smart, “I hope you will drop in some day.”

A Flivver

“Your father is an old crank,” said the youth who had been told by his belle’s father that it was time to go.

Her father overheard the remark. “A crank is necessary in case of the lack of a self-starter,” he retorted.

Not Yet, But Soon

Tommy had been playing truant from school, and had spent a long, beautiful day fishing. On his way back he met one of his young cronies, who accosted him with the usual question, “Catch anything?”

At this, Tommy in all the consciousness of guilt quickly responded: “Ain’t been home yet.”

For Revenue Only

John: “You used to say there was something about me you liked.”

“Yes, I did, but you’ve spent it all.”

In Chicago

The Jinkses were just getting launched in society. It was their first dinner party.

Mrs. Jinks: “Lena, be sure to mash the peas well tonight.”

Lena: “What, ma’am? Mash the peas?”

Mrs. Jinks: “Yes, Lena, that’s what I said. It makes Mr. Jinks very nervous at dinner to have them roll off his knife.”


He called his dog Hickory because he had a rough bark.

No Cause for Worry

Cholly: “After all, fools make life amusing. When all the fools are dead I don’t want to be alive.”

Charlotte: “Don’t worry. You won’t be.”

Real Art

In the Art Department a few days ago, one of the students drew the picture of a hen so lifelike that when she threw it in the wastebasket it laid there.

This Leaves Us Cold

If an ice wagon weighs 1,000 pounds and the ice in the wagon weighs 2,000 pounds, what does the man on the rear of the wagon weigh?”

Answer: Ice.

The Size Made Si Sigh

Si: “Gosh! my watermelons are twice as large as yourn.”

Hank: “There you go, Si, mistaking my strawberries for watermelons.”

Not So Severe

“I can’t find any old clothes to put on the scarecrow,” said Farmer Corntossel.

“You might use some of the fancy duds our boy Josh brought home from college,” suggested his wife.

“I’m only tryin’ to scare crows, not to make ’em laugh themselves to death.”

Charge of the Light Brigade

The attorney for the company was making a popular address.

“Think of the good the gas company has done!” he cried. “If I were permitted a pun, I would say, in the words of the immortal poet, ‘Honor the Light Brigade.’”

Voice of a consumer from the audience: “Oh, what a charge they made!”

In Action

Hazel: “What’s the matter with that man? Has he got the St. Vitus’ dance?”

Nazel: “Nope, that’s a deaf and dumb man talkin’ – and he stutters.”

Then There Was a Stamp-ede

A group of farmers were crowded around the post office window to get their mail when one of them stalked up and shouted, “Any mail for Mike Howe?” the postmaster, a stranger in the community, glared at him over the rims of his spectacles and shouted back, ‘No, not for your cow, nor for anybody else’s cow.”



  1. “In Chicago” reminds me of an old rhyme my momma taught me:

    I eat my peas with honey–
    I’ve done it all my life.
    You may think it’s funny,
    But it keeps ’em on my knife.

    This rhyme never did make sense to me. Did people really use knives to eat peas? Is there a class-distinction joke going on here?

    Comment by Coffinberry — April 11, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  2. In American colonial days, Coffinberry, people did indeed use their knives as an all-purpose eating utensil, along with their fingers. Forks, when available, generally had only two tines and were used for spearing and stabbing, not for genteeling lifting mouthfuls, and spoons were generally reserved for teacups and cooking pots. But you had to have a knife because meat was such a staple in the diet, so you used it however it was most helpful. That old way of eating hung on in rural or lower class or poorer regions long after “table manners” became a fixture in middle-class society.

    So yeah, there’s a class distinction thing going on in that particular joke.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 11, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  3. Man, oh man! Some of those have a real bite to them. Great list again, Ardis. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — April 11, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  4. Nothing like making a hen joke with a play on the verbs lay and lie.

    Could people conjugate them back then, or were they just as ignorant of grammar as modern folk?

    Comment by Mark B. — April 11, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  5. That reminds me, Mark — one of the repeated google searches that brings people to Keepa is “mark b. lay lie” — what’s that all about, do you suppose?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 11, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

  6. Good question, Ardis.

    I just tried that search, Ardis, and the results weren’t that interesting. I have no idea why anyone would be searching those terms.

    (I just tried to find another, somewhat more interesting, comment I made on an immigration thread a few years ago at another blog, but the google searches I tried all led (or, in the spirit of this threadjack, should I write “lead”?) me to every OB/GYN in the world named Mark.)

    Comment by Mark B. — April 11, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

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