“That’s a guid yin, eh?”
James recalls guid jokes and laughs:
“I feel a joke coming on.” “OK, here’s yin furee.” “Aye, here’s another guid yin.”
“Jokes were something I often shared with my mates, sometimes I had even made them up myself! They seemed to appreciate them … some of them. Here’s one of my favourite jokes, oft-tellt. Can’t remember when I first heard it, but maybe up the back of Sandy Bell’s a long time ago:
An RAF veteran is giving a talk to a class of school children, and was trying to explain what a typical mission would be like.
“So there I was, escorting the bombers to their target, when out of the blue we were attacked by a bunch of Fokkers. There were about 20 of these Fokkers. One took out my buddy, but I managed to shoot the Fokker down. Then one was on my tail and I couldn’t shake the Fokker, but my pal took care of him. Then I took out two more of the Fokkers …”
The teacher interrupts: “Children I should explain, the Fokker was a type of fighter airplane used by the German Air Force to stop the RAF bombers and their escorts.”
The RAF veteran looked bemused, and said, “Yes possibly, but these fuckers were Messerschmitts!”
There was another one from way back, could be a bit unacceptable, I suppose but the more the better in my humble. I told it often, usually to much laughter, which is the main thing:
Two friends are going at it, one saying, “I’m telling you, man! It’s W-o-o-m-B … W-o-o-m-B!”
“Nah, it’s “W-o-o-M!”
This went on for a bit, until finally “W-oh-oh-m” said, “Listen, I doubt if you’ve ever seen a camel, far less heard one fart.”
“I always loved delivering that line. It was great recounting those old jokes with my old mates, just having a good laugh … what mates are for, eh?”
Ocht! One last one, this drove mah freenz daft … aye, same as me! I would say, “OK, joke! Are ye ready?” Then I’d say, “What’s the difference between a duck?” After a moment’s silence, someone would say, “And, and … a duck and … ?” I’d simply repeat more strongly, “What’s the difference between a duck?” And go on like that getting louder until everyone just gave up and had a laugh at nothing … or maybe it was at me! Yeh, maybe I didn’t realise how much that pissed some friends off, my daft jokes, but that’s what friends are for, eh?
“OK, I feel another joke coming on.”
Want to hear a “Knock, knock” joke? No? Well, fuck ye! Yer gettin’ it onnywye!
Upon receiving an affirmative reply, I would say, “OK, you start.” They’d say, “Knock, knock” and I’d say with delight, “Who’s there?”
“Yeh, that one pissed people off, too! But well worth it to have a good laugh.”
“Yeh, a guid yin! Dinnae mean the duck yin tho’!”
“OK, one of my favourites, saving it to nearly last, something like this:
An old chap went to see his doctor because he was constipated, and the doctor prescribed some large capsules. The old fella said,“I’ll never be able to swallow those.”
The doctor told him “You don’t swallow them, you place them in your back passage.”
So the old chap went away, and the next week he was back at the doc’s complaining they didn’t work.
The doc says “You did put them in your back passage didn’t you”
The old guy said, “We don’t have a back passage so I put them in the front hall, but for all the good they did I might as well have stuck them up my arse.
“Yeh, I’ve heard it referring to an ointment for rubbing round the back passage.” The great punchline still the same.
Then there was, “How do you become a great poet? – Ye stand in front o’ the fire till yer Rabbie Burns.”
Possibly one of my favourites, oft told, tinged with the usual edginess, was “A man goes into a bar, sees someone doing martial art moves, all chopping and twisting. He asks the barman, “Is that Kung Fu?” The barman says, “Nah, he’s only had a couple of pints.”
“Ocht, another yin! Cannae stop … no’ when I’m winning!
Bus breaks down, driver gets out, takes his bag of tools to have a look at the engine. The ticket collector joins him and eventually says, “Do you need a screwdriver?” He replies, “Nah, we’re late enough a’ready.”
Then any time we saw a kilt, one of us would say, “There’s nothing worn under there, ye ken.”
And the other would say, “Aye, it’s a’ in perfect working order.”
On Moreton Island for Tom’s 70th in Nov. 2018, I saw James and Tom sitting outside off the huge living room, they were on the wide deck with a view of the sea. I went out thinking perhaps to join a pleasant conversation, have a bit of a reminisce, maybe share a joke or three. I have no idea what they had been talking about because they were convulsing and heaving in their chairs. I wanted to know what had caused monosyllabic utterances, un-understandable words, the uncontrolled laughing, followed by a grunt and the likes of “Oh, no! Too much!”, then more giggling and guffawing, all totally off-the-wall stuff, beyond the ken of anyone else. If you didn’t know them you’d think they were cot cases, unable to speak coherently. I have no idea what caused their convulsions but I was glad the two old doctor mates considered laughter the best medicine and seemed to be having a good time. After seeing the funny side of it all, I went back inside, shaking my head and having a laugh too.
Me here again! James aye laughed at my jokes. Aye, even the ones I made up myself. Perhaps sometimes it was polite laughter but I like to think he was always appreciative. He liked this one, possibly the last I told him: Porridge served at high-end restaurants? Yeh, that’s “oat cuisine”. And he liked: “What call Ozzie impasse or deadlock? Yeh, stalemate … mate!” The cleverer and the dafter the better!