The Usefulness of Jokes

For someone whose raison d’être is jokes and satire, the following discovery is just sad.

As an adolescent I loved listening and telling jokes. Racy jokes were the rave. They attested that we were old enough to understand their double meaning.

Everything has layers of meaning in Romanian, and Romanian is not fun to speak unless you are prepared to serve it as a Viennese Dobos Torte:
What you see in this picture is crafted by Kurt Gutenbrunner, the chef at Manhattan’s Wallsé and Cafe Sabarsky, who suggests to pair it with the lush 2000 Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese. Of course, this is a Dobos Torte aside, not a linguistic indulgence.

But the other night, my recent study of Old Jews Telling Jokes proved immensely benefic.  It saved me, and it saved those present from uncomfortable silence. Silence is so intimate. If people don’t share anything, or very little, silence can be savagely painful: it only accentuates the true distance the geographical proximity would like to erase.

The first joke was triggered by a bad rendition of a macho speech about how God resembles the maker of Harley-Davidson, probably Arthur Davidson, because he died a few years after Mr. Harley. Or vice-versa. The punch line was that more men ride God’s product (I let my reader select either man or woman) than a Harley-Davidson.That was the cue that only jokes would make me say something and prevent me from saying things – which usually are layered. Linguistically layered as a Dobos Torte. But a Dobos Torte should be served only to those who like it.

Otherwise it gets lost. Like good conversation.

Now, that I know what to do with jokes I need to learn how to bake the Torte. Perhaps.

Recommended For You