SCENE: My teenage daughter and me in the car.
Lauren: Dad, do you know what the most commonly used letter in a girl’s name is?
Me: Hmm, is it a consonant or a vowel? (Silence.) Please tell me you know what consonants and vowels are.
Lauren: You’re no fun, Dad. Forget it.
Me: What is a vowel?
Lauren: OK, OK. A vowel is … ahh … eh … well, oh … uh …
Me: Close enough.
—by Robert Alvarez, author of Blonde Moments: Life with a Blonde Teenage Daughter
If you understand English, press 1. If you do not understand English, press 2.
Recording on an Australian tax help line
I bought one of those tapes to teach you Spanish in your sleep. During the night, the tape skipped. Now I can only stutter in Spanish.
Baseball bat: a wooden or
metal bar that can easily fly out of someone’s hands.
Foul ball: a moment when you think, Holy @#$%, I got a hit!
Babe Ruth: someone who people tell you was also overweight.
Right field: a quiet place where you can sit for long stretches and play with dandelions. Until suddenly you hear a clang and some shouting and immediately understand life is about to get much harder.
Fly ball: when the sun drops
a boulder on your head.
Shortstop: a position that
involves mostly ground balls
and that you think maybe you can play.
Line drive: the reason you can’t play shortstop.
Innings: the amount of time
left before afternoon snack,
divided by nine.
Marc Philippe Eskenazi,
in the New Yorker
My three-year-old daughter stuck out her hand and said, “Look at the fly I killed, Mommy.” Since she was eating a juicy pickle at the time,
I thrust her contaminated hands under the faucet and washed them with antibacterial soap.
After sitting her down to finish her pickle, I asked, with a touch of awe, “How did you kill that fly all by yourself?”
Between bites, she said, “I hit it with my pickle.”
Cindy Yates, Mill Valley, California
We were tearing down an
old three-seater outhouse when my neighbor asked if she could have the single-plank, three-hole outhouse seat. I said sure.
Six months later, she invited me
to her home. There she showed
off her newly designed family room, complete with a single-plank,
three-hole picture frame featuring her three grandchildren.
d. r., via mail
Probably the worst thing you can hear when you’re wearing a bikini is “Good for you!”
The photographer was positioning my new husband and me for
our wedding photos when he asked, “Have you ever modeled?”
My cheeks instantly turned red. “No, I haven’t,” I said. “But I always thought …”
The photographer interrupted me: “I meant him.”
Joanne Noffke, Oak Forest, Illinois
I have a question. = I have 18 questions.
I’ll look into it. = I’ve already forgotten about it.
I tried my best. = I did the bare minimum.
Happy to discuss further. = Don’t ask me about this again.
No worries. = You really messed up this time.
Take care. = This is the last you’ll ever hear from me.
Cheers! = I have no respect for you or myself!
If growing up in the ’80s taught me one thing, it’s that my friends and I should have found a treasure map by now.
Watch The Walking Dead with someone who’s super into it so every time a zombie appears, you can pull the old, “Wait, who’s this, now?”
Every Scooby-Doo episode would literally be two minutes long if the gang went to the mask store first and asked a few questions.
My collection of vintage kitchen utensils includes one whose intended purpose was always a mystery. It looks like a cross between a metal slotted spoon and a spatula, so I
use it as both. When not in use, it
is prominently displayed in a
decorative ceramic utensil caddy
in my kitchen.
The mystery of the spoon/spatula was recently solved when I found one in its original packaging at
a rummage sale.
It’s a pooper-scooper.
Patty Brozo, Green Valley, Arizona
One of my friends is pregnant. And I’m really excited. Not for the baby but because she’s one of my skinniest friends.
@MichelleIsAWolf (Michelle Wolf)
After hearing a sermon on Psalm 52:3-4 (lies and deceit), a man wrote the IRS, “I can’t sleep knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. Enclosed is a check for $150. If
I still can’t sleep, I’ll send the rest.”
Logic: “If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can’t go to the store with me.”
Humor: “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
Justice: “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like!”
This may be the wine talking,
but I really, really, really, really love wine.
A police officer jumps into his squad car and calls the station.
“I have an interesting case here,” he says. “A woman shot her husband for stepping on the floor she just mopped.”
“Have you arrested her?” asks the sergeant.
“No, not yet. The floor’s still wet.”
Submitted by Rose Mattix, Decatur, Illinois
Michael Ward, via mcsweeneys.net
Girl: Ick! Why does this sandwich have bacon on it?
Friend: You ordered a BLT.
Girl: Whaaaat? I thought the B stood for bread.
Alyssa Hoover, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
A salesman talked my uncle into buying 10,000 personalized pens for his business with the promise that
he would be eligible to win a 32-foot yacht. A born gambler, my uncle agreed.
Well, he won, and a few weeks after the pens arrived, his prize showed up: a 12-inch plastic yacht with
32 plastic feet glued to the bottom.
Eddie Edwards, Ripley, Tennessee
While I was out to lunch, my coworker answered my phone and told the caller that I would be back
in 20 minutes. The woman asked,
“Is that 20 minutes Central Standard Time?”
Jamie Hindman, Lewisville, Texas
It’s amazing how a person can compliment and insult you at the same time. Recently, when I greeted my coworker, she said, “You look so gorgeous, I didn’t recognize you.”
Elaine Schyve, Cohocton, New York
At an art gallery, a woman and her ten-year-old son were having
a tough time choosing between one of my paintings and another artist’s work. They finally went with mine.
“I guess you decided you prefer an autumn scene to a floral,” I said.
“No,” said the boy. “Your painting’s wider, so it’ll cover three holes in
Betty Tenney, Sterling Heights, Michigan
A woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach. “Ha! That’s not going to help,” she said.
“Sure, it does,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
Please stop calling us your “squad,” Linda; this is book club.
When asked for his name by the coffee shop clerk, my brother-in-law answered, “Marc, with a C.” Minutes later, he was handed his coffee with his name written on the side: Cark.
Paul Neelon, Pembroke, Massachusetts
The black lacquer stand
holding his prized samurai swords was dusty, so my husband left our cleaning lady a note, reading, “Check out my swords.” That evening, he found the stand just as dirty as
before but with this appended to
his note: “Nice swords.”
Eleonore Bode-Lemming, Salem, Oregon
I once gave my husband the
silent treatment for an entire week, at the end of which he declared, “Hey, we’re getting along pretty great lately!”
from You’re Better Than Me
I’ve been working on my PhD
in engineering for the past five years, but my kids don’t necessarily see that as work.
As we were driving past Walmart one day, my son spotted a Now Hiring sign and suggested that I could get
a job there.
Hoping to make a point, I asked, “Do you think they’re looking for an engineer?”
“Oh, sure,” he said. “They’ll hire anybody.”
Christopher Fields, Fort Collins, Colorado
I guess this is what happens after you’ve worked at the same place for a while. I was eating at a fast-food restaurant when an employee began his shift by walking into the kitchen area and calling out, “Honey, I’m home!”
G. M., via e-mail
Before google, there were librarians. Here are some queries posed to the poor, suffering staff of public libraries:
• A woman wanted “inspirational material on grass and lawns.”
• “Who built the English Channel?”
• “Is there a full moon every night in Acapulco?”
• “Music suitable for a doll wedding to take place between a Shirley
Temple doll and a teddy bear.”
• “Can the New York Public Library recommend a good forger?”
Hallmark: “When you care enough to give a card mass-produced by
Ritz crackers: “Tiny, edible plates.”
CliffsNotes: “They’re still going to know you didn’t read the book.”
Gillette: “We’re just going to keep adding blades.”
ChapStick: “You’ll misplace it before the tube’s empty.”
Hot Pockets: “Every bite is a different temperature.”
Don’t get upset if I ask you
where something is in Target when you choose to wear a red shirt and khakis to shop.
Humorist Reid Kerr
Just before the final exam in
my college finance class, a less-than-stellar student approached me.
“Can you tell me what grade
I would need to get on the exam
to pass the course?” he asked.
I gave him the bad news. “The exam is worth 100 points. You would need 113 points to earn a D.”
“OK,” he said. “And how many points would I need to get a C?”
Aimee Prawitz, Sycamore, Illinois
A woman called our airline
customer-service desk asking if she could take her dog on board.
“Sure,” I said, “as long as you provide your own kennel.” I further explained that the kennel needed to be large enough for the dog to stand up, sit down, turn around, and roll over.
The customer was flummoxed:
“I’ll never be able to teach him all of that by tomorrow!”
I’m trying to get into classical
music, but I can’t find any original recordings. All the music is performed by cover bands.
Dan Burt, on humorlabs.com
Instagram is just Twitter for people who go outside.
There is nothing more awkward than the moment you realize you’re getting a double-cheek kiss.
@michmarkowitz (Michelle Markowitz)
I’m writing my book in fifth person, so
every sentence starts out with: “I heard from this guy who told somebody …”
A therapist has a theory that couples who make love once a day are the happiest. So he tests it at a seminar by asking those assembled, “How many people here make love once a day?” Half the people raise their hands, each of them grinning widely. “Once a week?” A third of
the audience members raise their hands, their grins a bit less vibrant. “Once a month?” A few hands tepidly go up. Then he asks, “OK, how about once a year?”
One man in the back jumps up and down, jubilantly waving his hands. The therapist is shocked—this disproves his theory. “If you make love only once a year,” he asks, “why are you so happy?”
The man yells, “Today’s the day!”
To avoid taking down my Christmas lights, I’m turning my house into an Italian restaurant.
Patrick McLellan (@pmclellan)
Why do dogs always race to the door when the doorbell rings? It’s hardly ever for them.
I spend three minutes every
day choosing a TV channel
to leave on for my dog. Then
I go to work, and people take me seriously as an adult.
Librarians may be shy, but
their patrons aren’t. Look at their oddball requests:
A patron offered me $100 to steal
a cactus from somebody’s yard.
A patron wanted me to find a
book to teach her dog German.
A patron on his way to the casino asked to rub my red hair for luck.
A patron once asked me for my home phone number so she could call me with reference questions when I wasn’t at work.
Roz Warren, from womensvoicesforchange.org
When my coworker answered his phone, the confused woman on the other end asked, “Who is this?”
“This is Steve. With whom did you wish to speak?”
After a pause: “Did you just say whom?”
“Yes, I did.”
The woman replied, “I have the wrong number,” and hung up.
Gilding the lily is a job seeker’s birthright. Here are a few doozies, where the applicant claimed …
… to be a former CEO of the company to which he was applying.
… to be fluent in two languages—one of which was pig Latin.
… to be a Nobel Prize winner.
… to have worked in a jail when he was really in there serving time.
… he was fired “on accident.”
Scene: A conversation with my friend’s father, who knows I do
Father: I have a business idea. How hard is it to make a Facebook?
Me: Oh, very easy.
Friend: He doesn’t mean to make
a Facebook profile. He means to
remake all of Facebook.
Me: Oh. Very hard.
Father: Oh, OK.
After i-messaging back and forth with my wife, I jokingly commanded Siri to pass along this message: “You need to get back to work now; you have a husband to support.”
Here’s what Siri sent: “You need
to get back to work now; you have
a has-been to support.”
John Brown, Jenks, Oklahoma
These words are so joining our vocabulary in 2016!
Chairdrobe (n.): piling clothes on
a chair in place of a closet or dresser.
Epiphanot (n.): an idea that seems like an amazing insight to the conceiver but is in fact pointless, mundane, stupid, or incorrect.
Internest (n.): the cocoon of blankets and pillows you gather around yourself while spending long periods of time on the Internet.
Textpectation (n.): the anticipation felt when waiting for a response to
Unkeyboardinated (adj.): when you’re unable to type without repeatedly making mistakes.
My greatest acting performance is when I check the caller ID, then adopt an air of polite curiosity as
I answer the phone “Hello?”
A Twitter exchange between an angry customer and an apologetic Domino’s Pizza:
Customer: Yoooo I ordered a Pizza
& Came with no Toppings on it or anything, Its Just Bread
Domino’s: We’re sorry to hear about this!
Customer (minutes later): Never mind, I opened the pizza upside down :/
Sick of having to go to two
different huts to buy pizza and sunglasses.
The closest I’ve been to a diet this year is erasing food searches from my browser history.
If you think
eggplant is good, you should try any other food; it’s much better.
Triscuit is the perfect
combination of cracker and doormat.
Clif Bars answer the question “What if it wasn’t frowned upon to eat an entire sleeve of mushed-up
oatmeal cookies before noon?”
I’m driving with this guy, and
he runs right through a Stop sign. So
I say, “Hey, that was a Stop sign.” And he says, “I drive like my brother!”
A few blocks later, he plows right through a red light. I say, “You just ran a red light.” And he says, “I drive like my brother!”
So now we’re coming up on a green light, and he slows down. I’m confused, so I say, “It’s green; why are you slowing down?”
He says, “My brother might be coming.”
My friends tell me that cooking is easy, but it’s not easier than not cooking.
We’ve been neighbors for six tumultuous years. When you borrowed my snowblower, you returned it in pieces. When I was sick, you blasted Metallica. And when your dog decorated my lawn, you laughed. I could go on, but I’m not one to hold grudges. So I am writing this letter to tell you that your house is on fire.
Submitted by Edward Phillips,
Boynton Beach, Florida
Honestly, Officer, I wouldn’t have pulled over had I known you were just going to criticize me.
@bridger_w (Bridger Winegar)
How can you ever be late for anything in London? They have
a huge clock right in the middle
of the town.
I’ve given up social media for the New Year and am trying to make friends outside Facebook while
applying the same principles. Every day, I walk down the street and tell passersby what I’ve eaten, how I feel, what I did the night before, and what I will do tomorrow. Then I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and me gardening. I also listen to their conversations and tell them I love them. And it works. I already have three people following me—two
police officers and a psychiatrist.
Submitted by Nancy L. Clark,
Points, West Virginia
The last time we changed from daylight saving time, a preacher friend posted, “For those who habitually show up 15 minutes late to church, allow me to remind you that tonight is the night you set your clock back 45 minutes.”
Michael Stephens, Ontario, Canada
Here’s a guide to American
culture for Russians visiting the U.S., straight from Russian tour books:
“Women play a greater role in business. Often they insist to be treated exactly as an equal and not as a lady.”
“As a rule, the [social] invitation will be only on a weekend, and you don’t have to prepare for something extravagant. Everything is the same as ours, only with far less booze.”
“‘See you later’ should not be taken literally. That is a courtesy,
and no more.”
Source: Mental Floss
The food at the sandwich shop
I frequent is good, but any deviation from the norm throws the staff. I once told a clerk that I wanted only half a sandwich. His reply: “What am I going to do with the other half?” A week later, when I told another clerk the same thing, she responded, “Do you want the top or the bottom?”
Carole Holder, Norman, Oklahoma
I’d rather spend ten minutes
rearranging the dishwasher to
accommodate something than spend 30 seconds washing it by hand.
An ad for a hedge clipper that
I had to read twice: “A built-in safety switch prevents accidental starting, and blades will stop when you take one hand off.”
Michael Goldstone, Manchester, England
My ESL students try so hard and are so appreciative. One student paid me the ultimate compliment when she said, “You teach English good.” Another assured me, “I will always forget you.” And a third insisted, “I thank you from the heart of my bottom.”
Ellen Israel, Alamo, California
I put so much more effort into naming my first Wi-Fi than my
@1followernodad (Sophia Benoit)
We need a 12-step group for compulsive talkers. They could call it On Anon Anon.
is coming out with an organic Twinkie. Isn’t that called a sponge?
Fifth Third Bank? I don’t think you understand how to number things, which is something I generally look for in a bank.
@RowdyBowden (derek lawler)
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me
everything you know.”
I spotted several pairs of men’s Levi’s at a garage sale. They were sizes 30, 31, and 32, but I was looking for size 33. So I asked the owner if he had a pair. He shook his head.
“I’m still wearing the 33s,” he said. “Come back next year.”
Sally Thorinson, Ferndale, Washington
The biggest change after having kids was putting a swear jar in the house. Whenever I say a bad word,
I have to put a dollar in the jar, and
at the end of every month, I take all that money and buy myself a nice steak for being such a cool dad.
Comedian Mark Chalifoux
Jimmy Fallon asked his viewers to tweet #IGotBusted and share
the most embarrassing times they got caught.
“I was on Facebook at work, and my boss walked up. I slammed down what I thought was my laptop screen, but it was actually my desktop
“I lied and told my dad school
was canceled. He said, ‘Let’s go see
a movie.’ We got in the car, and he dropped me off at school.”
“I was Facebooking in church, and the usher passed by and whispered, ‘You better be texting Jesus.’”
Source: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
Try as she might, our granddaughter couldn’t grasp the concept of potty training. Then one day … Success! Jumping up and down,
she threw her arms in the air
and yelled in excitement, “I went potty all by myself, and now I can
go to Harvard!”
Jan and Jack McCloskey,
San Francisco, California
My friend called me in hysterics. “I just saw a mouse in my kitchen!” she yelled. “I’m so grossed out! It’s
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m not sure. But you can bet I’ll never eat the stuff I drop on the floor anymore.”
Kirsten Lauth, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
“Has your son decided what
he wants to be when he grows up?”
I asked my friend.
“He wants to be a garbageman,”
“That’s an unusual ambition to have at such a young age.”
“Not really. He thinks that garbagemen work only on Tuesdays.”
A scientist tells a pharmacist, “Give me some prepared tablets of acetylsalicylic acid.”
“Do you mean aspirin?” asks the pharmacist.
The scientist slaps his forehead. “That’s it!” he says. “I can never
remember the name.”
Submitted by R. s., via mail
• Couch = People Shelf
• Books = Manual Films
• Bracelets = Clockless Watches
• Air Horn = Spray Scream
• Bottled Water = Snowman Blood
• Feather = Bird Leaf
A judge tells the defendant, “You’re charged with attacking your boss with a hammer.”
“You jerk!” yells a voice from
the back of the courtroom.
“You’re also charged with attacking a bartender with a hammer,”
says the judge.
“Jerrrrkkkk!” bellows the same man.
“Sir,” says the judge, “one more outburst, and I’ll charge you with contempt.”
“I’m sorry, Your Honor,” says the man. “But I’ve been this jerk’s neighbor for ten years, and every time I asked to borrow a hammer, he said he didn’t have one.”