Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My favorite joke

Here it goes:

These three guys were out on a jungle safari when they were captured by a band of vicious cannibals.

"We will kill you, and then we will use your skin for our canoes," the leader of the cannibals said. "But we will let you decide how you will be killed."

The first of the three men stepped forward. "Viva la France!" he said. "Give me the guillotine!" So the cannibals built a guillotine, beheaded the man, and skinned him for their canoes.

The second man stepped forward. "Those poison darts always seemed like a pretty cool way to go. Give me one of those."

So, pfft, the cannibals shot him with the dart, waited for him to die, then skinned him for their canoes.

The third man stepped forward and said, "I would like a fork."

"A fork?" the cannibal chief asked.

"A fork," the captured man repeated. So the chief got him a fork and handed it over, then the entire troop watched to see what would happen.

The man held the fork in his hand. "I don't really care how you kill me. But you're not going to use my skin for one of your damn canoes," he said as he stabbed himself all over.

In order for the joke to be funny, however, you have to see it told. It just doesn't have the same effect written down. That's another version of a geographical joke: you have to be there.

Kinda like our experience here in Doha. I can write posts about it, and Ron can take pictures, but it's hard for me to really show what it means to be here. I think that's what life is about in general. I'm a writer and an editor and a compulsive reader, and I'm all about trying to capture life with words. But you can't. Not really, not completely, and sometimes not at all. That admission occasionally makes me a little sad, like "alone" is a pretty easy place to find yourself, especially in a land of abayas and black face scarves with slits for the eyes and a language that is beautiful but completely incomprehensible to me.

Usually, however, I think that beyond the words, our experiences are pretty universal. And maybe sometimes we need to stop trying to describe those experiences, and just accept that we all get the joke, whether we laugh at it or not.

No comments: