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February 25, 2009

Jokes on the Run

For the past couple of months, our family has adopted the practice of bringing a nightly joke to the dinner table.

Predictably, most of the jokes are either nonsensical (from our 5-year-old), juvenile (from our 7- and 10-year-olds), or completely lame (that would be me) – but every now and then, a good one sneaks through and cracks us all up. In any case, it’s a nice way for us to lighten the mood and enjoy each other’s company on a nightly basis.

Our new routine is also a departure point for my most recent Monterey Herald column. My friend Mike and I sent e-mails to all of our running partners, asking for their favorite punch lines from jokes told on the run over the years. After we collected their responses – and filtered out all of the dirty ones – we used the rest as fodder for the article that appears below. And for some added fun, I've thrown in an audience participation part after the post just for Internet readers.


Running Life 02/12/09 “Jokes on the Run”

Everyone knows about the healing power of laughter – but did you know that it can also make you a better runner?

Nothing makes a run seem shorter and easier than someone sharing a great joke along the way. The longer the joke takes to tell – and the more mileage it preoccupies – the better. Whenever someone tells a “shaggy dog story”, the pace of the group inevitably picks up, adrenaline surges, smiles appear, and fatigue dissipates. Whether you are the storyteller or the listener, the effect is the same.

That’s why it’s wonderful to have someone in your running group who stays up to date on the latest jokes. It’s also a great idea to have a “joke day” run when everyone in the group is required to bring a new joke to share. Include some stakes to make it interesting: the worst joke teller has to buy beer or coffee after the run.

We’ll get you started: there once was a running club that valued humor so much that they issued every member a copy of The World’s Best Joke Book. Each joke was numbered and everyone memorized the book. That way, instead of telling the whole joke, a runner could just yell, “Number 23!”, and everyone exploded in wild laughter.

One day a new runner joined them, and tried to embrace the joke tradition by yelling, “Number 71!” There was a long, absolutely dead silence and the pace slowed dramatically. Finally one of the group members said, “Nah … you didn’t tell it right!”

Obviously, this kind of group misses the point of utilizing jokes on the run. The benefit is in the telling. It’s in the anticipation and mystery of the punch line. It makes time go faster. It gives camaraderie to the group.

As longtime runners, we have more than a few all-time favorite jokes that are told in our group over and over again. When somebody new joins in, it won’t be long before he (or she) hears all of the group favorites. And his reactions to the jokes are closely observed – sometimes, the amount of laughter might even determine whether he is invited back to the next run. Have we mentioned yet that we take joke-telling seriously?

We’d love to share our best jokes here, but they would take way more column space than this skinny sidebar allows us. Besides, we’re told that this is a family-oriented newspaper, and most of our jokes would definitely tarnish that reputation.

So what we’ll do instead is to give you some of our favorite punch lines. The next time you see us or e-mail us, feel free to ask for the “the rest of the story.”

This might even be a fun game: can you identify any of these jokes just by their conclusions? Here are 10 punch lines that have entertained our running group through countless miles:

1. Somebody stole our tent!
2. Just you and me!
3. I hate playing golf with your dad.
4. European!
5. It’s the nuts - they're complimentary.
6. Oh, look - he's moving!
7. What? They gave me a chihuahua?
8. The chicken is a ventriloquist!
9. I got it in France - they've got a lot of them over there.
10. I don't know ... it all happened so fast!

If by chance you recognize any of them, we give you complete permission to use these jokes to improve your next run.

*Special blog bonus feature! If you know any of the jokes attached with the punch lines above, feel free to type them in the comment box below, so I don't have to e-mail everybody separately. Thanks! *


Annette 2/26/09, 8:46 AM  

Great idea! Sounds like a fun time at dinner and on the run. As for your punchlines - I've got nothin'. No, you don't need to email me all the jokes. I'll just imagine them to all be hilarious. :) Happy joking!

Deene 2/26/09, 10:01 AM  

laugher is great for family time.

#1 is a good one.

Vanilla 2/26/09, 1:14 PM  

I was so hoping that one of the punchlines was going to be "Rectum? It damn near killed him!"

Alisa 2/26/09, 4:11 PM  

I can only imagine the rest of the joke with these punch lines!

Dori 2/28/09, 10:56 PM  

Nope, I don't know any of those, although I'm guessing #3 is someone talking to Jesus. Have you heard this one:
Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump and I know what ya'll are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendants' fault.....it was the asphalt!"

Hee, hee.

Austin Ryan 3/1/09, 1:59 PM  

Hey, how do you get advertizements on your blog? Do you get paid for it?

Darrell 3/1/09, 5:23 PM  

I'm terrible at telling jokes. I just don't remember them. The ones I do know are pretty lame, like:

What's invisbile and smells like worms?

Bird burps!!

So I guess that keeps me out of the 5 to 10 year old categories.

Rainmaker 3/2/09, 9:46 PM  

Some of my best runs have been with friends where we were telling jokes or laughing our asses off the whole time. Time flies when you're having fun.

ep 9/3/10, 2:44 PM  

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner, they retire for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

"I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" exclaims Watson.

"And what do you deduce from that?"

Watson ponders for a minute.

"Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?"

And Holmes said: "Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent."

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