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#40. I have three jokes that I can drag out for at least an hour apiece.

Okay, so obviously I can't print them here. I'd be typing until next Tuesday if I tried to post even one of them. I mention it only to confirm for you that I'm not just verbose when it comes to the print medium. I can also be a lousy wordy windbag in the speech department, too. Especially after a few beers, which -- of course -- is when most jokes get told.

Of course, the other reason I tell you this is because we might meet up one day. Maybe you already know me, or maybe we'll get together at some time in the future. Either way, hear me now and believe me immediately: do not ask me to tell one of the three jokes. Seriously. I'm not kidding, people. I can drag them out for a friggin' eternity, and I absolutely will tell them if asked. And once I see the horror and dismay on people's faces, I will take perverse pleasure in striiiiiinging things out just that much longer. So please, if you have a brain in your head, never, never, never ask me to tell you about Nate the Snake, the Carrot Family, or ask me How to Catch a Blue Elephant.

Maybe you've heard these jokes before. Maybe they haven't even taken that long, or the teller has let you off the hook early. Well, not in my house, sistah. Homey don't play the ten-minute joke game. You'd better have a comfy seat and a full drink when I get started, because I'll add shit to these jokes until your head spins around like a top. Tangents, asides, backstory -- it's all there. I'll make shit up as I go along; I don't care. You've been warned.

Just to prove it, I'll tell you about someone who didn't listen to the warnings, and how sorry they were. It was a chilly fall night in 1993. (See, all the details make it more believable, right?) Our department was on its annual 'getaway' camping weekend out in the hills of Pennsylvania somewhere. I'd only been in the department for a couple of months, but I'd located the other smart-asses pretty quickly and had assimilated myself into their corny, cynical culture. So we spent a lot of time and energy annoying the hell out of each other, which included telling stupid jokes and playing tricks and similar tomfoolery.

Well, apparently word had gotten around to the administrative staff that I was something of a joke-teller. And the head administrative assistant -- who was pretty well liquored up at this point -- wanted to hear a joke. I think she asked for the carrot joke. Well, not so much 'asked' as 'demanded':

Her: Hey, Charlie. I hear you tell jokes. Tell us the one about the carrot.
Me: Um, no. Really, you don't want to hear that.
Her: C'mon! Tell the joke!
Me: Nah, I really --
Her: Tell the fuckin' joke! C'mon, ya pansy, fuckin' tell it!
Me: Look, I'm serious. You really don't want to hear it.
Her: Fuck that! Tell the joke! Tell the fuckin' joke!
Me: But you don't --
Her: Goddammit, if you don't tell that fuckin' joke... Tell the fuckin' joke!

This went on for a while, actually. I would leave for a beer, or to play a game of pool, and when I came back, it was, 'Tell the fuckin' joke!' She'd go off for a drink, or to the bathroom, and come back with 'Tell the fuckin' joke!'

So, finally, I caved. I told the fuckin' joke.

So, I get started. Now, none of these jokes sound all that complicated at the beginning; it's just that there are a million places to throw extra shit in there that makes them take a lifetime to tell. And I was out to prove that she really didn't want to hear it -- like I warned her -- so I threw in a million and one things. Then a million and two, and I just kept going. After five minutes or so -- maybe a quarter of the way through, if I'd kept going at the same rate -- she piped up again.

Me: And so, the Carrot family moved into --
Her: Stop it!
Me: Stop what? I'm tellin' the fuckin' joke.
Her: Just stop. Finish the fuckin' joke!
Me: I'm gettin' there. Hold on.

Two minutes pass...

Her: Goddamn it, finish the joke!
Me: Wha? What's wrong?
Her: Stop telling the fuckin' joke!
Me: Don't you want me to finish?
Her: Yes! No! Fuck, I don't know. Get to the fuckin' punchline.
Me: Okay, okay, I'll try to speed it up.

Two more minutes pass...
Her: So help me, if you don't stop tellin' this fuckin' joke...
Me: Look, I'm doin' the best I can. Now you asked for it. Do you want to hear it, or not?
Her: Not if it's gonna take this fuckin' long.
Me: Well, I did try to warn you. You should have listened.
Her: Fuck. You're a peckernose, you know that? Fine. Keep goin', fucknose.
Me: Fine. And don't worry; we're almost half-way done already.
Her (running higgledy-piggledy into the woods): Aaaaauuuuuuuaaaa! Aaiiiieeeeeee! Gwuh! Huwoo! Uuuaaaaaaaoooo!
Me: Well, I did try to tell her...

So, at that point, I took (relative) pity on the other people there, and wrapped it up fairly quickly. Maybe another five minutes' worth, or so. But I don't have to be so nice, people. And I won't be, if I know you know what you're getting into. And especially if I know you know I know. And heaven help you if I find out you know I know you know I know. 'Cause then you're in deep shit.

So it's best just not to ask in the first place. Let the example in the woods be your guide. You don't want to be like the drunken lady, now, do you? I'm not sure they ever found her, by the way. She's probably still out there, muttering, 'Fuckin' fuck... carrots... fuckin' carrots... finish it... fuckin' finish carrots... dammit carrots...' But hey -- I did try to tell her. She got what she deserved.

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