It’s all-right Ma, I’m only joking

I’d thought to title this Hi, Ma“, I spoke calmly into the phone; you won’t believe what happened next!!
But on second thought, any clickers I prefer to bait would be just as likely to respond to Bob Dylan.
At any rate:
‘Hi Mom’, I said calmly into the phone.
“Vo-fon husht du meine Nommer?”
Oy, looks like I’ll have to translate half of this; (‘Where’d you get my number?’) Guessing that in Heaven they speak whatever language comes most naturally, and the angels just ‘grok’ it, or wing it.
“Directory Assistance, Ma. Don’t ask; they play Barry Manilov for like, ages”
‘Oy grundt!’ A good sign, she sympathizes with my frustration.
“Coulda been worse; the 666 area-code puts you on hold for, like, an eternity!”
First joke here, and I’m still not sure she ‘got it’, although she did react:
“Ve viest du?” (So how did you know that?)
“Oh, saw it on the net”, I said, giving her an out.
“Anyway, Ma, I got two problems.”
This seemed to lift her spirits. As I’ve learned down here on earth, some folks are much better at sympathy than at congratulations; Read on…
“Yeah, one’s health-related, and the other’s financial.”
“Oy, ve langa ve schlimma!” she co-miserated. (‘The longer it goes, the worse it gets’). I decided to go right to the punch-line:
‘Yeah, I got money coming out my ears, and I can’t decide how to spend it all.” (rim-shot)
Silence. Didn’t know they had crickets in Heaven. She did recover, after a pause, from the horror of having to express congratulations. Seems Pennsylvania Dutch has no words for it, much as Inuit lacks descriptives for snow-free sidewalks.
“Chonny, this is long-distance!” she reminded me, stuck in the 50s. “So, who died?”
In those days phones were for deaths, or marriages (a slower death?)
“Nobody, Momma. I just had this joke I wuz dying to tell someone, and I’m, like all giddy, and forgot about, you know, sense of humor being kinda un-equally parceled out at birth an’all..”
“So good of you to call”, she eventually regained composure, adding, “Call anytime if you need help.”

And dat wuz dat.
Hey, I do need help, I thought. How to quickly blow thousands of bucks before Drumpf slams the door on even yids who want to visit his white-power paradise. Or raises the retirement age to 70 to finance his worthless pathetic Wall.
Oh well, at least I have my Mom to chat with. She left us under a Bush, woulda prolly voted for the ‘schvartze’ and now is safe from the ‘es ludert’ (‘it stinketh!’) of the present Impostor.
Like they say: ‘The living will envy the Dead’. Never really ‘fershtehst’ (‘unnerstood it’) it till yesterday.


11 thoughts on “It’s all-right Ma, I’m only joking

  1. somewittyhandle

    It’s well documented that few jokes translate well into German. I can remember seeing an interview, many years ago, with the US comedian Kelly Monteith, who had just completed a European tour, and in fact had a complete series on BBC. He remarked:

    “You know, it’s amazing: humo[u]r is like an international language. Wherever you go, laughter is universal. I was blown away how well the same jokes went down all over Europe.” He paused a moment, ruminant, and shrugged. “Germany was a mistake…”

    1. solberg73 Post author

      I don’t know, it seems like sayin’ you got money coming out the ears and you can’t figure how to spend it, after promising a ‘medical problem plus a financial one’, ought to be universally humourous? Go tell Ma though. Actually, the ‘area code 666’ reference is almost dearer to my heart. Go figure. For now I just put words in the mouths of folks w/o web access; (far as we know)

      1. eleanorio

        I was at brunch yesterday fêting a fellow musician whose 60th birthday occurred six days after my own. We were joined by some francophone friends, also musicians, one of whose son was visiting from Montreal. The latter tunes pianos for the faculty of music at one of the prominent universities there, so I tried out my mom’s joke on him:
        “Oh, you’re a piano tuner! Have you ever heard of Mr. Oppornockity, a very famous European piano tuner/technician? No? He had an amazing reputation. He was so good at tuning pianos that they never needed servicing again. Amazing! They used to say of him, ‘Oppornockity only tunes once!’”
        Our new friend didn’t get it. At all. I should know by now, but do I learn? Do I?

        1. solberg73 Post author

          Excellent. But if I was a stand-up and I knew the audience was mainly piano-tuners, I’d probably elect to call in sick that day.
          Meanwhile, still waiting for the golden chance to use your classic:
          “So, are you a pole vaulter?”
          “No, I’m German, and how did you know my name was Walter?”
          I wrote this post kinda humming what’s-his-names’s ‘I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain’ with the line:
          ‘Woke up this morning, and I wrote down this joke/
          Just can’t remember who to send it to’
          Picked my Mom. Hey, ya can’t be right every time, even if yer rolling in bucks.

          1. eleanorio

            If you truly are rolling in bucks (and does, just for gender equality), why not plan a visit to your frigid neighbour to the north? We got snow, religious freedom, free healthcare, snow, ice, subsidized multiculturalism, more snow, and the occasional freezing rain.

            1. solberg73 Post author

              Thinking to state in ‘bold’ for the tax-folks: ‘Yeah, just another solberg fiction; move on, nothing to see’
              In fact, a jaunt to the frozen North would of course be a treat; What week does your summer happen this year?
              More seriously, reading about the shooting; guess the fellow must have had passports from all 7 of the list countries, right? I myself am more scared of cows; wondering why there is not a ban on their immigration, since they are about 5000 times more likely to gore me to death in an average lifetime than by some grateful Yemenite refugee.

  2. promisesunshine

    Is the health part the ears? (Pardon my density, I haven’t had coffee yet.) ((I just amused my own self.))
    My grandmother used to envy the dead. I thought that was awful. At the time.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Right you are; anything dripping out yer ears needs attention, am I right?
      I’ll resist waxing macabre on the envy question; have some close-to-home experience with it. Maybe later.
      Anyway, a fun break from the daily war against evil…

  3. melfamy

    “Humor is different nowadays.”- my dad, whenever I told him a joke that I had read in Mad Magazine or heard on Laugh-In.
    Context is very important, but prison writing is a subject for another day.
    By the way, I wrote new lyrics for yet another popular song:
    My country, I can see
    Has embraced lunacy
    A man like our Fathers fought
    Has been by the foolish bought
    And now our future’s fraught
    With kleptocracy.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Hoping for more about the ‘context’ ‘thing’ sometime. My Dad had a heavy tome dedicated to 1000 jokes on indexed subjects. Probably in connection with his war-time public-speaking duties for the CCC. He’d gone through it methodically, by the time I found it lost on a book-shelf, and given each joke from 1 to 5 stars.
      I guess that’s one great way to know who yer Dad is: what does he consider funny.
      Ok, the re-wording is excellent! From your pen to God’s ears. Scans well, good internal reference and point-making.
      Reminds me of one I wrote and recorded years ago:
      I pledge allegiance to the flag
      I read the writing on the bag…
      Sez there: This bag is not a hat’
      Oh no, ‘my country ’tis of that??’
      (Yes in those old days we railed against dumbification, never dreaming that it would be institutionalized in our lifetimes.)

      1. solberg73 Post author

        Ok, Greg; I just knew there was a rolling stone hiding in your comment:

        ‘Humor’s different today’
        all the satire-writers say
        Yes it used to be so hard to get a laugh
        But when they vote in clowns like these
        They be targets growin’ on trees
        We’ll be sitting in the shelter
        while the World goes Helter-Skelter
        helping Mom to understand
        why the towel-heads have been banned


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