Monday, April 2, 2012
Monday Rerun: What Makes Peggy Laugh
In my private life, I often tell a joke that is, in all modesty, hilarious. No need for me even to be modest about it...I got the joke from Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling, former gagwriter for Howard Stern. I have been asked not to tell the joke at certain events requiring an element of gravitas: funerals, felony trials, the opening of a new Angelina Jolie thriller. But, here's the joke, and you will have to picture me with my google-eyed comic delivery and fake Cockney accent:
A guy is hitchhiking...he has three eyes, no arms, and one leg. Picture that...three eyes, no arms, one leg. Anyway, an Englishman pulls up next to him in his little sports car...the hitchhiker is standing there balanced on his leg, hitchhiking...the Englishman has the plaid wool scarf and one of those newsboy caps...he looks the hitchhiker up and down and says, "Ay ay ay! You look 'armless! 'op in!"
Killer stuff. It never fails to make me laugh like Dick Cheney at a peace rally, although for different reasons. Of course, come 2009, I will be celebrating 35 years of happy laughing at "Hi, this is Jerry Ford, Sales Manager at Dick Nixon Ford! Dick's gone crazy, and he's making deals like you never saw before!" That was on the National Lampoon Radio Hour right after Nixon resigned, and yet I laugh even still.
Peggy, on the other hand, registers no expression at either of these mirth-makers, except for a slight furrowing of the brow (indicating wonder), a barely perceptible shake of the head (indicating exasperation) and a tiny tiny sigh (indicating 35 years of agony.) From time to time, she will fetch my oxygen, if either of these gags lives up to its literal name. But laugh? Nah.
We found ourselves in Wegman's not long ago, in search of chipotle sauce. (Enough of that on a turkey burger makes you forget it's a turkey burger.) Wegman's is a grocery store like M & T Bank Stadium is a vacant lot where kids play pickup football. They don't have aisle numbers; they have zip codes. It's huge. It could beat the crap out of Rhode Island in a war (sorry, little tribute to Arthur the movie there). (I like Rhode Island.) The young woman who works at Wegmans as the Mayor of Cheesetown told us to look in the Mexican section and pointed 25- 30 miles from where she stood, surrounded by Gruyere, Emmenthaler and Royal Blue Stilton. I saw a sign lettered "Latin American" and pointed it out to Peggy, who immediately found herself seized by such violent paroxysms of laughter that one of the fullsize medic units that prowl the aisles of Wegman's was dispatched to her aid. All she could manage to say was that she found the term "Latin American" a bit old-stuffy. It does conjure the image of Cesar Romero in a guayabera shirt with a ceiling fan going oh-so-slowly as Katy Jurado insinuates her way across the cafe floor. When Peggy regained consciousness, we agreed that 'Hispanic' would be more appropriate nowadays.
It's been days. I swear to you, I just called out, "Hey Peggy! 'Latin American'! " and she is doubled over, gasping for air.
Anyone who can explain this will be given his or her own space in this blog!