Ancient Greeks & blonde jokes

Arthur Black shows humour hasn’t changed a lot through the ages

If you knew how perfect things are you would tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

Excellent, twenty-five hundred-year-old advice from a jolly fat man named Gautama Buddha.

The Enlightened One discovered early the centrality of laughter to life and prescribed it as a cure-all for everything that ails us.  He wasn’t alone.  If we could time travel back two millennia to a certain Athenian garden we’d find a gaggle of Greek comedians hunched over a wax tablet scratching out the world’s very first joke book. It was called the Philogelos and consisted of about 260 gags that were considered real thigh slappers circa 400 AD.

Sample joke: PATIENT: “Doctor, when I get up in the morning I feel dizzy for twenty minutes.”

DOCTOR: “Get up twenty minutes later, then.”

Laugh? I thought my chiton would never dry.

Interestingly, they had Polish jokes even back then — except they didn’t call them Polish jokes. They called them Abderite jokes — so named for the Greek town of Abdera whose citizens were not known as repositories of deep thought.

Here is an Abderite joke:

ABDERITE:  “Pleased to meet you. And is this your wife?”

EUNUCH: “I am a eunuch. Eunuchs do not have wives.”

ABDERITE: “Oh. Is she your daughter then?”

Howie Mandel, eat your heart out.

While we’re trolling the bottom of the comic barrel, allow me to throw a contemporary blonde joke at you. I know, I know… blonde jokes are cheap and sexist and unconnected with reality, but this one’s special. First you have to imagine this blonde. Let’s make her a Californian, say about 38 years old, a former model with a bust line like the Scarborough Bluffs (five boob jobs), lips that look like sofa cushions and a scalpel-sculpted chin so pointy she could fend off muggers. Why would anyone choose to surgically enhance herself like that?

“I just want to be the ultimate Barbie” she says. “When people ask why I want to be Barbie, I think, who wouldn’t want to be? She has the best life. All she does is shop and make herself look pretty — she doesn’t worry about anything.”

But just looking like Barbie isn’t enough. She wants to think like Barbie too. Or rather, not think like Barbie. She’s paying a hypnotherapist to reduce her IQ.

“I’ve had twenty sessions and I’m beginning to feel real ditzy and confused all the time. I just want to be the ultimate Barbie. I actually want to be brainless.”

Too whacky even for California? Wrong. This blonde joke is no joke. Her name is Blondie (natch) Bennett.

And how does Blondie pay the rent, never mind the team of surgeons on standby? Simple. She peddles pictures of her augmented self in very skimpy Barbie costumes to oglers on the Internet.

What you’re hearing, Grasshopper, is the sound of one hand clapping.

— Arthur Black’s column appears every Tuesday in The NEWS. He can be reached at: arblack43@shaw.ca.

Just Posted

Individuals chosen to begin ‘road to recovery’ at supportive housing facility

Orca Place at 222 Corfield St. is expected to open this summer

RCMP make arrest following break-in at Parksville’s Log Cabin General Store

Police credit tips from public for helping with case

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Most Read