A Book of Jokes on Father’s Day



























This  2.5″ x 4.5″ memo came to my attention years after my father’s passing. It is a record of jokes and punch lines that he kept during his time as a colonel at the Pentagon in WWII. Some of the entries are complete and easy to follow, while others are sloppy fragments, things I imagine him hearing at highly fueled Washington officers’ parties and jotting down in haste. Some ramble over several pages. Most are indecipherable.



My father is in the middle of the three colonels.



























This little volume is dear to me. It recalls so much about him, from the bizarre penmanship to his obnoxious habit of keeping a large and noticeable tally at my sisters’ camp and high school award ceremonies: see how many prizes my daughter(s) got? It recalls the morning newspaper where he would first go to the short “Daily Chuckle”, circle it, and cut it out to be stored in his wallet or desk drawer. He had little talent as a joke teller or humorist but he loved humor. Simple, direct, silly, and often repeated worked for him.

He would resort to the memo in a time of desperation, as will be seen.

Let’s open to a place with three of the four being legible jottings:




















“Lindberg flew Atlantic. That was nothing. Think what his chances might have been if he’d had to have prior approval of a committee.”

“A corn is a corn but a pea is a relief.”

“Def. of a ‘fairy”: a boy who likes his vice, versa.”

Nothing terribly naughty here (considering the era) with the exception of the gay reference. There are a few others in that category:

“3 pills. 1st pill cures asthma. 2nd pill makes toothache. 3rd pill cures toothache, gives asthma.”

“Horse sense: a stable instinct.”

“General laid up. What’s the trouble? Things in General.”

When I discovered this diary my mother informed me of the truly hilarious part of its history.

My parents met in a Pentagon carpool. He was twenty five years her senior, twice divorced, and Lutheran (hardly). My mother, whose parents were his contemporaries, was Roman Catholic. Her mother, an imposing matriarch,  particularly objected to my father’s marriage proposal.











“Why should I consider letting you marry my daughter?” she asked when he had finally summoned the courage to confront her.

“Because I can provide for her, Madam.”

“There are jails for those who don’t.”

With this high tension surrounding them, the great first dinner with his proposed in-laws took place. According to my mother it was a nerve wracking evening. My grandparents were stone cold silent and my father a nervous wreck, unable to break the ice and create a good impression. It was then that inspiration struck him and he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his joke book. His nervousness was such that he was too impatient to read the jokes properly and mostly sputtered out the punch lines. There being only hostile silence he began to choke, but kept trying to read more! I wonder which of the following he chose:

“2 Admirals comparing notes- most embarrassing moment- when mother found me playing with myself. Oh, all kids do that! Yes, but this was yesterday.”

“Secty reported for duty- couldn’t take shorthand or type. Why were you fired? I can’t conceive!”

“Businessman had terrible thing happen- his business fell off.”

“Sailor named Practice. Wave named Perfect.”

“Niece with doting uncle- “Oh uncle I’m in terrible trouble. What trouble? (hard of hearing) I’m in a family way. Think nothing of it dear- when you’re as old as I am you’ll be in everybody’s way.”

“Girl walking in garden heard a cry for help- looked down, saw frog- frog pleaded with girl to take him home and put him on pillow + he would turn into a handsome prince- Girl did and sure enough, next morning there was a handsome prince beside her. Do you believe this story? Neither did the gal’s ma.”

“Madame fired one of girls. She couldn’t get her to remember customers always come first.”

“Why old maid only has 7 buttons- cause she can’t fasten eight!”

“Salesman hits farmhouse- can only stay with son- son kneels down at foot of bed- man- ashamed, does likewise. Hey, the pot’s on this side- Mom’ll raise hell!”

“Pessimist- man who has reached that stage in life where everything he liked to do was either illegal, immoral, or fattening.”

“Moron woke up. It was so nice out he left it out all day.”

“Woman hunter shot two monkeys, took them to have them stuffed. Taxidermist- “You want them mounted?” “No, just shaking hands.”

“Hear about the pregnant sailor? Phone operator reversed the charge.”

”There was a young girl from Detroit whose screwing was very adroit. She could bring her vagina to pinpoint or fina or open it up like a quoit.”

“Australian limerick: A soldier named Hubbard went to the cupboard to get himself a hanky, when he got there the cupboard was bare, and so was his wife with a Yankee.”

“Soldier ask taxi driver to get him home fast to get with his wife. Didn’t you get any girls overseas? I waxed it and waved it and nursed it and now I want it to have an honorable discharge.”

“There was a young lady named Gladys who had a most beautiful ass. It was not round and pink as you’d naturally think, it was brown, had long ears and ate grass.”

“Def. of a nurse’s aid- a nurse who can make the patient without disturbing the bed.”

“Man takes his girl to a pawn shop. Why? He wants to get her a loan.”

“How to avoid preg: take glass of orange juice. Before or after? Instead!”

Thanks for not avoiding pregnancy, folks!


3 comments to A Book of Jokes on Father’s Day

  • Great images,
    horrible jokes!

  • Toni Vogt

    Tico: “Thanks for not avoiding pregnancy, Folks” – Indeed! That and “By all means, Bribe a Priest!”.
    When I first started to read this post, less than halfway through I was laughing so hard and long that I had to stop. I just now came back for more of the same.
    Jim Wexler, ‘Horrible jokes’, yes! I submit ‘Punishingly corny’ (begging to be impugned). When you’ve been brought up on and have since heard your little brother make an art of them (expanding the genre to include, say, the entomological category ‘Swayback Screen-stretcher’) then they’re rib-tickllngly funny (Stop Tina Stop!!) and deeply endearing.
    Daddy would read the ‘Daily Chuckle’ from the N.Y. Herald Tribune aloud to us with great glee first thing every morning at the breakfast table – his canned Kadota figs swimming in cream and fructose – long before he tackled the Dow Jones Average, the only other part of that newspaper he ever read. I’ve since learned that, going back to the 18th century, publishers had books full of corny jokes and dubious facts that they used to fill-in the odd space while amusing the readership. But that paper’s single offering, said “Daily Chuckle”, was just plain Horrible. Yet Dad would stand up at the table, beaming with ‘mischievious’ pleasure as he read it accompanied by our chorus of “Oh, Daddy!!!”, one which would echo through the years to come.
    With deep thanks for your warmth, thoughtfulness, and fun (and for giving us Eliza and Henry) – Happy Father’s Day, Tico

  • tico

    Thanks, Sis!

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