Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How to remember a joke

Every now and then I re-read Life's Little Instruction Book. (by H. Jackson Brown Jr.; "511 suggestions, observations, and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life")

It's got a lot of advice I try to follow. Like #5 "Overtip breakfast waitresses", #11 "Sing in the shower", and #121 "Resist the temptation to buy a boat"

#21 is "learn 3 clean jokes"

I had that one covered long before I got the book. But it occurs to me that many of my friends have a hard time remembering jokes. So here is my advice on how to get started on your first clean joke.

  1. Jot down the beginning and the punchline. The middle will usually come to you if you remember how to start and where you're heading.
  2. It's fine to use your own language (like saying "couch" instead of "sofa", unless "sofa" is critical to the joke).
  3. Practice the joke over in your head after you first hear it, identify the key elements that get you to the punchline, think about what bits make it funny.
  4. If you're reading this advice because you need it, you are not ready for long rambling jokes. Focus on learning one short, punchy joke told in as few words as possible.
  5. Riddles can be a good place to start.

Here's a joke that Jody Benjamin would like (as I remember it from a Reader's Digest). You can practice with it.

The Wise Direction Giving OwlThis guy is out in the country. Worried he's lost, he pulls over at a service station. He gets out of the car and looks around. All he sees is an owl sitting in a tree. "Say, Owl," he asks, "do you know the quickest way to town?"

"Are you walking or driving?" asks the owl.

"Driving," says the guy.

"That'd be the quickest way," says the owl.

1 comment:

David Scrimshaw said...

Rats. I just realized that if you have trouble memorizing a dumb little joke about an owl, you're going to have trouble memorizing a 5-step set of instructions for memorizing the dumb little joke.

Note to future Dave: Next week, post How to memorize multi-step lists