Laughter has always been a big part of my life. My brother Jay and I found constant ways to amuse ourselves, at times to the chagrin of our long-suffering mother.
Throwing spaghetti at the ceiling to see if it was cooked comes to mind. This food-testing process naturally lent itself to other edibles being tested in a similar fashion. Peas won’t stick to the ceiling unless you butter them first.
Swearing at each other in Donald Duck’s voice was a staple. Cartoons were great educators. Jay would get me up early on Saturday mornings so we could watch Felix the Cat. When he found out I was soon to be born, he declared that I should be called Murgatroyd. He got the name from Snagglepuss, not the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, Ruddigore, although, given my mother’s fondness for G&S, that wouldn’t surprise me either.
My mother and I used to drink tea and play games after supper. One night my brother volunteered to make the tea. In those days I took a lot of sugar in my tea. I’d drink it down until there was a big mouthful left and then swig back the last of it. Imagine my surprise when that last mouthful contained not only sugar, but a generous serving of ketchup as well.
Then there was the time my brother bet me that I couldn’t hold a used teabag on my tongue for five minutes. Go ahead. Try it.
He used to wake me up for school by yanking up the covers and slapping a wet washcloth on my feet.
Don’t get the wrong impression. The anecdotes above were all part of normal brotherly activities. I haven’t mentioned how Jay would buy me toys and colouring books with some of the money he would earn from part time jobs. He would take me bowling and to play mini-golf regularly. He’d take me to movies and generally look out for me. I love my brother very much.
Jay is an uncannily talented musician. He can play any instrument in a matter of moments after picking it up. I’ve heard him called ‘the best session man around’, and not just from him. I recall Jay shoving his trumpet mouthpiece into the end of the shower hose and playing tunes with it.
His time playing music in various venues also helped him gather the latest batch of jokes that were making the rounds. These he would share with me, sometimes in the wee small hours of the morning because he had just returned home and couldn’t wait to tell them. In the following few blogs I will pass along some of these gems. Keep in mind these are really old jokes, so more than likely you’ve heard them before, but they’re still funny. Here’s the first one:
The neighbourhood a couple lived in was constantly being burgled, so the husband said to the wife, “We need a dog. A big, hulking, vicious dog with huge paws and teeth to match. His bark should rattle the walls. Go get us a dog.”
The wife said, “Okay.” And off she went to the local pet shop.
The shop owner greeted her cordially and asked what she was after.
She explained how her neighbourhood was under siege by vandals and thieves and how her husband had instructed her to get a big, nasty, vicious dog.
“Ah,” said the pet shop proprietor. “I have just what you need. You need Karate Dog.”
“Karate Dog? What’s that?”
“Here, let me introduce you.” He goes away and comes back with the scrawniest little dog ever seen. It’s sitting in the palm of his hand.
She starts laughing. “Him? No, no. My husband wants a big, brute of a dog.”
“This dog,” explains the shopkeeper, “will meet your needs quite well. Allow me to demonstrate.” He looks at the miniscule pile of fur in his hand and says, “Karate Dog! That pile of bricks!”
With a startling ‘Hiiiiiiyah’ the dog leaps from his palm, flies across the room and reduces the brick pile to nothing more than dust. Then it calmly returns to sit by the side of the shopkeeper.
The woman is stunned. “That’s amazing. But will he obey me?”
“Certainly, he is fully trained and ready for a new master. Try him.”
“Okay,” she says. “Um - Karate Dog! That chair!”
Hiiiiiiiiyah! The chair becomes a pile of kindling and sawdust.
“Marvellous,” she says. “I’ll take him. And here’s a little extra for the chair.” So she takes Karate Dog home to meet her husband.
“Did you get the dog?” Asks her husband.
“Yes, right here,” she replies, revealing the minute life form in her hand.
“That?” Her husband says, incredulous. “That thing couldn’t protect himself, never mind protecting us.”
She tries to explain. “But you don’t understand. This is Karate Dog.”
And he says, “Karate Dog my ass!”