Dumb and Funny Jokes

Open-Door Policy

My wife and her friend were out to lunch when the temperature drastically dropped. They stood by her friend’s truck, shivering, while the friend searched for a key to unlock the door. My wife asked, “Can’t we sit in the truck while you find your keys?”

The Dumbest Police Calls in America…

From the police blotter, 
or, what a beat cop deals with 
every day:

• A deputy responded to a report 
of a vehicle stopping at mailboxes. 
It was the mail carrier.

• A woman said her son was 
attacked by a cat, and the cat would not allow her to take her son to the hospital.

• A resident said someone had 
entered his home at night and taken five pounds of bacon. Upon further investigation, police discovered 
his wife had gotten up for a late-night snack.

• A man reported that a squirrel 
was running in circles on Davis Drive, and he wasn’t sure if it was sick or had been hit by a car. An 
officer responded, and as he drove on the street, he ran over the squirrel.

Source: uniformstories.com

Three Dumb ER Stories You’re Allowed To Laugh At

“Patient in to ER at 0400 with no complaints: ‘I have been having chest pain for 4 months but I am not having chest pain now. The reason I’m here now is because I heard that 4am is the best time to come cause there are not that many people.’ ”

“Had a woman call 911 because she ‘had déjà vu in the shower and got nervous.’”

“Got a frantic call from a woman who claimed she had overdosed and needed help immediately. We arrive on scene, and she hands us an empty mint container, saying she took them all. That night she learned that you cannot overdose on mints.”

Source: Overheard in the ER

The Mystery Kitchen Utensil…

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

Military Pranks Are Scarier Than Bombs

The military has a long, proud tradition of pranking recruits. Here are some favorites from rallypoint.com:

• Instructed a private in the mess hall to look for left-handed spatulas

• Sent a recruit to medical-supplies office in search of fallopian tubes

• Had a new guy conduct a 
“boom test” on a howitzer by yelling “Boom!” down the tube in order to “calibrate” it

• Ordered a private to bring back 
a five-gallon can of dehydrated water (in fact, the sergeant just wanted an empty water can)

An Impossibly Long Leave

An insurance agent called 
our medical office. One of our 
doctors had filled out a medically necessary leave-of-absence form 
for a patient, but, the agent said, the 
patient had altered it. The giveaway? 
The return-to-work date had been changed to February 30.

J. L., via e-mail

Weird Questions Librarians Hear…

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?”

No Dumb Questions (Except This One)

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

Guilty of Annoyance

A defendant isn’t happy with 
how things are going in court, so he gives the judge a hard time.

Judge: “Where do you work?”

Defendant: “Here and there.”

Judge: “What do you do for 
a living?”

Defendant: “This and that.”

Judge: “Take him away.”

Defendant: “Wait; when will I get out?”

Judge: “Sooner or later.”

Submitted by Pate Ferry, Mesa, Arizona

Fishing For Whiskey

“Poor Old fool,” thought the well-dressed gentleman as he watched an old man fish in a puddle outside a pub. So he invited the old man inside for a drink. As they sipped their whiskeys, the gentleman thought he’d humor the old man and asked, “So how many have you caught today?”

The old man replied, “You’re the eighth.”

From A Prairie Home Companion

Super Droll, More Like

A first-grade teacher can’t 
believe her student isn’t hepped up about the Super Bowl. “It’s a huge event. Why aren’t you excited?”

“Because I’m not a football fan. My parents love basketball, so I do too,” says the student.

“Well, that’s a lousy reason,” says the teacher. “What if your parents were morons? What would you be then?”

“Then I’d be a football fan.”

Not The Smartest Sports Fan

After football fans in Philadelphia were treated to a particularly excruciating loss earlier in the season, a man phoned a sports-radio talk-show host to say, “Everyone should call in and give one word for that game.”

“What’s your word?” the host 

“Bored out of my mind,” said the caller.

From Sports Illustrated

Weird Things Librarians Hear

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

Bad Burglars Do This

While on patrol, I arrested a burglar who’d injured himself running from a home. He told me he’d broken in and unhooked the phone before searching for valuables. But he’d panicked when he heard a woman’s voice. I entered the house and heard the same voice: “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try your call again.”

Wilson Hsia, Temple City, California

The Case of The Imaginary Dogs

My niece was dragged into court by a neighbor who complained about her barking dogs. At one point, the judge asked the neighbor a question. The neighbor didn’t reply. “Sir, are you going to answer me?”

The neighbor leaped to his feet. “Are you talking to me?” he asked. “Sorry; I can’t hear a darn thing.”

The case was dismissed.

Helen Reynolds, Missoula, Montana

How Russian Tour Guides See America

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

Prime (Minister) Directive

A welsh politician asked the government for information about UFO sightings and if it might fund UFO research. Officials wrote back, “jang vIDa je due luq … ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH devolve qaS.” Which means, “The minister will reply in due course. However, this is a non-devolved 
matter,” in Klingon.

Source: bbc.com

An Ocean of Dumb

A man called, furious about an Orlando, Florida, vacation package we had booked for him: He was 
expecting an ocean-view hotel 
room. I explained that was not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of 
the state. “Don’t lie to me,” he said. 
“I looked on the map, and Florida is a very thin state.”

Source: hotelstories.freeservers.com

Workplace Tips for Bond Villains

The James Bond film Spectre opens in November. Writer Peter 
Anspach explains how he’d improve his odds if he were a film villain.

• I will not fly into a rage and 
kill a messenger who brings me 
bad news just to illustrate how evil 
I am. Good messengers are hard 
to come by.

• My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.

• If I’m eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then have 
to leave the table for any reason, 
I will order new drinks for both 
of us instead of trying to decide whether to switch with him.

• My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

• When I’ve captured my adversary and he says, “Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?” I’ll say no and finish him off.

Source: eviloverlord.com

Tiptoe Through The Typos

Gauging from these exam 
excerpts, my college dance students had better stick with pliés.

“The costumes were vindictive 
of the style of dance.”

“I commend Bill T. Jones for 
his acts of true kindness and 

“Dancers must have long limps.”

“At first, I had a hard time 
understanding and interrupting 
his movement.”

“Savion Glover’s purpose is to cross all racial and ethical barriers with his dance.”

Kathy Dubois, Onalaska, Wisconsin

Test Answers From Smart-Alecky Students

• Q: 
What’s the name of a 
six-sided polygon?

A: Sixagon.

• Q: 
What part of the body is 
affected by glandular fever?

A: The glandular.

• Q: 
In The Tempest, why does 
Ariel sing in Gonzalo’s ear?

She’s a mermaid and wants to be human.

• Q: 
In comparison with large 
hydrocarbons, how would you describe small hydrocarbons?

A: They’re smaller.

• Q: 
Who were the Bolsheviks?

A: A Russian ballet company.

From F in Exams: Pop Quiz, 
by Richard Benson (Chronicle Books)

A Dumb Driver's-ed Answer

My sister didn’t do as well on her driver’s-ed test as she’d hoped. 
It might have had something to 
do with how she completed this 
sentence: “When the ______ is dead, the car won’t start.”

She wrote: “Driver.”

Nathan Hellman, Brooklyn, New York

Spotted on Facebook…

Student: I don’t understand why my grade was so low. How did 
I do on my research paper?

Teacher: Actually, you didn’t turn in a research paper. You turned in a random assemblage of sentences. In fact, the 
sentences you apparently 
kidnapped in the dead of night 
and forced into this violent and arbitrary plan of yours clearly seemed to be placed on the pages against their will. Reading your paper was like watching unfamiliar, uncomfortable people interacting at a cocktail party that no one wanted to attend in the first place. You didn’t submit a research paper. You submitted a hostage situation.

She Must Not've Read It…

While teaching at a veterinary college, I ordered a few books for our library. One was George Orwell’s 
Animal Farm. When I went to take it out, I discovered that the librarian had placed the book in the section for dairy and poultry.

Jacob Cheeran, Thrissur, India  

Tattoo 'Tude

A friend of mine works at a tattoo shop. A client walked in and got a sentence tattooed on his back. A few hours later, the customer called, 
demanding a refund.

Client: You did my tattoo backward!

Tattoo artist: It’s backward?

Client: Yes! I’m looking at it in the mirror right now!

Source: clientsfromhell.net

Hot-Crossed Pastors

When my husband, James Rowles, was in the seminary, he was invited to preach at a small rural church. However, the man who was to introduce him to the congregation had trouble pronouncing his name. So James 
offered this verbal clue: “Remember rolls, like hot buttered rolls.”
It worked. When it came time 
for the introduction, the man announced, “We are pleased to have with us the Reverend James Biscuits.”

Ruth Rowles, Halifax, Virginia

Airman Express

My friend, an Air Force officer, was riding his scooter when he passed an airman who didn’t salute. My friend stopped, turned around, and glared at the airman.

“Thanks for coming back for me,” the airman said, jumping on the back of the scooter. “Airmen’s mess, sir.”

Savita Singh, Noida, India

Sgt. Nimrod

I was working in Army security when a VIP from another base called to ask to whom he should address an important letter. Knowing my tough-to-spell last name would give him fits, I said, “Just put down Sergeant Gary, as my last name is too hard.”

The next day, I received a letter addressed to Sgt. Gary Toohard.

G. C., via mail

Piping Up

A Scottish mother visits her 
son in his New York City apartment and asks, “How do you find the Americans, Donald?”

“Mother,” says Donald, “they’re such noisy people. One neighbor won’t stop banging his head against the wall, while the other screams and screams all night long.”

“Oh, Donald! How do you manage to put up with them?”

“What can I do? I just lie in bed quietly, playing my bagpipes.”

Submitted by Noah Jorgensen, 
Silsbee, Texas

The Egg Corn Game

A few years back, a woman wanted 
to use the word acorns. What 
she wrote instead was egg corns, 
and ever since, linguists have had 
a new toy: eggcorns, words and phrases that people screw up:

• Social leopard (social leper)

• Mute point (moot point)

• Skimp milk (skimmed milk)

• Youthamism (euphemism)

Holidays sauce 
(Hollandaise sauce)
Sources: the Eggcorn Database and theguardian.com

Mallory Ortberg on Cooking Blogs

Food blogs are rife with pressing questions, helpful hints, and caustic comments from readers. One site took a jaundiced look at what one might expect to find on such boards.

• “I don’t eat white flour, so I tried making it with raw almonds that I’d activated by chewing with my mouth open to receive direct sunlight, and it turned out terrible. This recipe is terrible.”

• “I don’t have an oven; can 
I still make this? Please reply 

• “A warning that if you 
cook this at 275°F for three hours instead of at 400°F for 
25 minutes, it’s completely 
ruined. Do you have any 

Mallory Ortberg, on the-toast.net

No-sense Sensor

A military base commander called to complain that the weather-forecasting software our company created for them kept reporting 
unexplainable wind shifts.

“Do you know where the sensor is located?” my coworker asked.

“Of course,” he responded. “It’s where we park the helicopters.”

Angelo Giordano, Bellevue, Nebraska

Bad Work Excuses

Thinking of skipping work? Don’t try these real excuses—they didn’t work the first time.

• My false teeth flew out the window while I was driving down the highway.

• I quit smoking and I’m grouchy.

• My favorite football team lost 
on Sunday, so I needed Monday to 

• I received a threatening phone 
call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI.

• I got lost and ended up in a 
different state.

From careerbuilder.com

Which West is that?

“Why did you choose a college so far from home?” I asked my British student.

She explained that she’d fallen 
in love with the American West by watching Westerns. So when it came time to apply for colleges, she Googled “Western universities.”

And that’s how she ended up here, at Western Carolina University.

Bill Spencer, Cullowhee, North Carolina

Snappy Answers to Bad Résumés

Professionals at the staffing agency Robert Half International have seen a lot of peculiar résumés. Here are some favorite gaffes, followed by wisecracks from the pros:

• Education: “I have a bachelorette degree in computers.” (The pajama party starts at 7 p.m.)

• Tools: “Human brain 1.0.” (We’ll wait for the upgrade.)

• References: “My landscaper.” 
(A reference who will give you two green thumbs up.)

• Date of Employment: “2002–9999.” (She’s earned her gold watch!)

• Experience: “Worked successfully on a team of one.” (I assume you all got along?)

From resumania.com and Robert Half

Does That Come in Super-Size?

A friend was ordering her meal at a drive-through when she noticed she could get a side dish gratis.

“And I’ll take the free wiffie also,” she said.

“What?” asked the clerk.

“The free wiffie,” she said, pointing to the sign.

“Ma’am, that’s ‘Free Wi-Fi.’ ”

Christie Peldo, Yacolt, Washington

Let Minnow

My husband and I were relaxing on lounge chairs on a Jamaica beach, half listening to a couple walking 
ankle deep in the clear water. The woman was extolling the beauty of the island when suddenly she let out a scream.

“Oh!” she shrieked. “There are fish in here!”

Janet Davis, Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Incumbent Imbecile

Recently I heard the former mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, 
recount some funny stories about his time in office. One happened while he was running for reelection; he was in a bar and paid for a 
woman’s drink. She thanked him but wondered why a stranger had 
bought her a beer.

“I’m running for mayor,” he told her, “and I want your vote.”

“You got it,” she said, grabbing her glass. “Anyone’s better than the jerk who’s in there now.”

James Landis, 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Start With a 5K…

One of our interns asked 
another if she was planning to sign up for the company’s 401(k).

“I’m considering it,” replied the second intern.

Later, the first intern approached me looking concerned.

“I did the math,” she said, “and 401K is almost 250 miles. She’ll never make it!”

Rebekah Shue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Idiots Abroad

The British foreign office helps Brits traveling abroad. Here are some odder requests they’ve fielded:

• A man who was hospitalized in Cambodia when a monkey hit him with a stone wanted assurance that 
it would not happen again.

• A man asked consular staff in Stockholm to check the credentials of a woman whom he had met online.

• A man asked staff in Rome to translate a phrase for a tattoo that he 

Source: gov.uk

Bad Typos in Real Newspapers

We all make mistakes. Some 
are just more public than others, 
like these real newspaper typos:

“Here the bridal couple stood, 
facing the floral setting, and exchanged cows.”     Modesto News-Herald (California)

“It took many rabbits many years to write the Talmud.” Holland Evening Sentinel (Michigan)

“Mrs. ____ fell down stairs at her home this morning, breaking her myhodudududududududosy, and suffered painful injuries.”    Ohio paper

“A headline in an item in the 
Feb. 15th edition incorrectly stated ‘Stolen Groceries.’ It should have read: ‘Homicide.’”    Enquirer-Bulletin

From Just My Typo, by Drummond Moir 
(Three Rivers Press)

Heading Off Criticism

Think the comments on Internet posts are tough? See what happened when the Washington Post asked its readers to write intentionally angry letters to actual headlines:

Headline: 20,000 Pound Pavement to Help Homeless

Response: “Are you people idiots? What the homeless need are homes, not ten tons of additional pavement!”

Headline: Maryland Agrees to 
Tobacco Settlement

Response: “Well, that’s all we 
need—an entire settlement of people devoted to their cancer sticks. What’s next, a drunk-driving commune?”

Headline: C.C. United Se Une 
Hoy a Campana Solidaria Pro 

Response: “I was disgusted with 
the sloppy spelling for [this] article. There were so many typos, I couldn’t understand a word.”

From gcfl.net

More Idiotic Job Applicant Blunders

We’ve been over this before: 
Stupid doesn’t play well on job interviews. Hiring managers wish these 
job seekers had gotten the memo.
• Applicant acted out a Star Trek role.
• Applicant asked for a hug.
• Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits.
• Applicant crashed her car into 
the building.
From CareerBuilder’s 2014 Interview Blunders Survey

Virginal Word Choice

The topic of my student’s essay was the importance of trust, camaraderie, and toughness among football 
players. “After all,” he wrote, “you don’t want a bunch of pre-Madonnas out there on the field.”

Michele Metcalf, Louisville, Kentucky

Bad Soldier Mistakes

It’s important that soldiers 
learn from their mistakes; otherwise, they’re bound to repeat them at 
inopportune moments. Here soldiers share what they’ve gleaned from 
past gaffes:
• “I was cold” is not a sufficient 
reason for being caught in the female barracks.
• Do not communicate with officers using only Madonna lyrics.
• Do not conduct live fire exercises at the general’s (unattended) jeep, even if it’s parked in an area clearly marked Live Fire Zone.
• Do not attempt to shave with fire.
• Do not use 27 packs of sticky notes to label everything in the barracks 
so the general won’t have any questions during the inspection.

From skippyslist.com

spel chekers

On Facebook, the English 
language has few friends. 
Three examples:

Post: I can’t stand people 
that don’t know the difference between your and you’re. There so dumb.
Response: Their, their, calm down.

Post: Is it me or does nobody have manors these days?
Response: I just have a normal house.

Post: I do not have patients for stupid today.
Response: Patience.


Source: studentbeans.com, lamebook.com

Breakfast at Alcatraz

Three prisoners broke out 
of their cells and incited a riot. 
After they were caught, the warden asked why they had revolted.

“Warden,” said one of the men, “we rebelled because the food is 

“I see,” said the warden. “But what did you use to break the bars?”

“The French toast.”

Weird Help Wanted

• Waitress wanted. Must be 18 years old with 20 years’ experience.

• Piano player wanted. Must have knowledge of opening clams.

• Now hiring cashier. Cannot look like “Skeletor” from “He-Man.”

• Cab drivers wanted. Must have good driving & criminal record.

Sources: top5.com, kulfoto.com, uselesshumor.com

The Magic Penny

We had just finished tucking our five kids into bed when three-year-old Billy began to wail. Turns out, he had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure he was going to die. Desperate to calm him, my husband palmed a penny that he had in his pocket and pretended to pull it from Billy’s ear. Billy was delighted. In a flash, he snatched it from my husband’s hand, swallowed it, and demanded, “Do it again!”

From gcfl.net

A Woman Went Tanning…

A woman went up to the roof-deck of her hotel to sunbathe. No one else was there, so she slipped out of her swimsuit to get an overall tan. A few minutes later, she heard someone running up the stairs.

“Excuse me, miss,” said the hotel manager. “We would appreciate it if you wore a bathing suit.”

“But I’m alone,” she said. “What difference does it make?”

“A lot,” said the manager. “You’re lying on the dining room skylight.”

—Submitted by L. B. Weinstein, 
    Miami Beach, Florida

There Are Two Sure Things: Taxes, and Excuses

Here are the best tried-and-failed excuses British businesses gave for not paying their taxes on time.

• My pet goldfish died. 
    —Self-employed builder

• Our business doesn’t really do anything.     —Financial services firm

• I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns.     —Accountant

Source: HM Revenue & Customs

A Poor Ex-Spleen Nation

A medical student was told to remove the spleen from a cadaver. After he did, he kept poking around.

“What are you doing?” asked the professor.

The student answered, “I’m looking for the other one.”

—Alexandr Placar, Czech Republic

Don’t Even Ask About Condiments…

Scene: office cafeteria line

Friend: May I have pepper and salt?

(Counter guy looks confused.)

Friend: Sir? Pepper and salt?

(Counter guy grabs a bell pepper.)

Friend: No! Not that pepper. The pepper and salt …

Me: You know, like you shake it on?

(Coworker looks over.)

Coworker: Dude! She means the salt and pepper!

Counter guy: Oh! Why didn’t you just say that?

—From notalwaysworking.com

Color Me Stupid

A client walked into my design studio with a black-and-white flyer.

Client: Can you make a color copy?

Me: Do you have the original?

Client: No. Just this one.

Me: Sorry, I can’t make color copies unless I have the original color version.

Client (confused): Why can’t you just run it through the color copier?

—From clientsfromhell.net

Hold the Presses!

Misadventures in headline writing from around the world:

City Unsure Why the Sewer Smells —The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan)

Case of Innocent Man Freed 
After Spending 18 Years in Prison Proves Texas System Works —Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Texas)

British Left Waffles on Falklands —The Guardian

At Last Singer Etta James Dies —dailymail.co.uk

Passive-Aggressive Notes Left for Noisy Neighbors:

• “Hi. Just thought you might like to know that I think your pet elephants have been bowling while you’re out. —Your Downstairs Neighbor.”

• “Good morning! We hope your 
exorcism was successful last night. We do ask as a courtesy that you limit expelling demons to Friday or Saturday nights. Thank you in advance.”

• “Dear Neighbor, Your car’s sound system is amazing. It is so loud and the bass is so rockin’ that it actually shakes all the apartment buildings 
in the complex. Awesome!”

—Source: thepoke.co.uk

My Favorite Joke: Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette, the chatty half of the magic duo Penn & Teller, shared with us his favorite clean joke:

Two racehorses are in a stable. One says to the other, “You know, 
before that last race …”

“The one that you won?” asks the other horse.

“Yeah, before that race, I felt a pinch in my hindquarters.”

The other horse says, “Funny, 
I felt a pinch in my hindquarters 
before the race that I won.”

A dog walking by says, “You 
idiots, you’re being doped. They’re injecting you with a drug to make you faster!”

The first horse turns to the other and says, “Hey, a talking dog!”

Add Word, Ruin Movie

It doesn’t take much to ruin a film. Sometimes all you have to do is add a word to the title, such as:

• The Girl with the Washable 
Dragon Tattoo
• Game of Porcelain Thrones
• The KFC Bucket List

—From twitter.com/ruinmoviee

Happy Birthday, Facebook!

On February 4, we’ll celebrate ten years of people posting unintentionally funny status updates from their office cubicles when they should be working. Here are some of the crazier ones:

• STATUS: My baby boy is officially one year old!!!! Can’t believe it’s already been 656 days!


• STATUS: Craving food I don’t 
have. My first world problem 
this morning.

COMMENT: Well, it’s kind of 
a third world problem too.


• STATUS: I think about him 31/7 cause he’s on my mind even when I’m sleeping.

COMMENT: There’s still 24 hours in a day when you’re sleeping.

STATUS: Wait, huh?


• STATUS: Dear Facebook, Thanks for informing me it’s my wife’s birthday today. Do you know what would be more useful?!?! Some kind of warning system … i.e., notification that it’s her birthday in a few days!

—From lamebook.com

The Sorry Saudi

A Saudi prince goes to America to study. A month later, he e-mails his father: “New York is wonderful, but I’m ashamed to go to school in 
my gold Mercedes because all my 
teachers travel by subway.”

A few minutes later, his dad writes back: “Stop embarrassing us. Go and get yourself a subway too!”

Hope You Like Cheese!

A surveyor drops by Will’s farm in eastern Minnesota and announces that he has some bad news. “I discovered that your farm isn’t in Minnesota,” he says. “It’s actually in Wisconsin.”

Will lets out a sigh of relief. “That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time,” he says. “I was just telling my wife this morning that I don’t think I can take another winter in Minnesota.”

What’s the 311?

In New York City, if you have a complaint or a question, dial the city’s 
311 hotline and you might get it solved. We doubt these callers did.

“Who won American Idol?”

“Can you check to see if my boyfriend is married?”

“Can I claim my dog on my income tax?”

Source: New York Magazine

Safari, So Good

Two hunters fly to Kenya, where they bag six gazelles. As the crew 
is loading the small plane to return, the pilot says the aircraft can take only four gazelles back.

“Last time, the pilot let us take all six, and he had the same plane as yours,” argues the first hunter.

Reluctantly, the pilot gives in and takes off. But the little plane is too heavy, and it goes down.

Climbing out of the wreckage, the second hunter turns to the other. “Any idea where we are?”

The first replies, “I’d say we’re pretty close to where we crashed last time.”

Submitted by Ed Thompson, North Salem, New York

Hunting Trip Gone Wrong

Joe and Dave are hunting when Dave keels over. Frantic, Joe dials 911 on his cell phone and blurts, “My friend just dropped dead! What should I do?”

A soothing voice at the other end says, “Don’t worry, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s really dead.” After a brief silence, the operator hears a shot. Then Joe comes back to the phone.

“OK,” he says nervously to the operator. “What do I do next?”

Fortune-Teller Fumble

A fortune-teller advised me, “Do everything your boss says.” Sage advice, I thought, as I was working on an important project. As if I needed more proof of just how good the psychic was, that night, as I read the newspaper, I noticed my horoscope: “Do everything your boss says.”

—Source: Funny in Korea Survey

Last Words

A business executive visits his Chinese friend in the hospital. “Li kai yang qi guan,” says the sick man feebly. The executive desperately wants to help him, but he doesn’t speak Mandarin. “Li kai yang qi guan!” says the patient, as he draws his last breath.

Later that year, the executive is in Shanghai on business when he finally learns the meaning of Li kai yang qi guan: “Get off my oxygen tube.”

—Source: Funny in India Survey


I stayed in a hotel where the towels were so thick, I could hardly close my suitcase.

Adam Joshua Smargon, 
Newark, Delaware

A Second Opinion

Lenny tells the psychiatrist, “Every time I get into bed, I think there’s somebody under it.”

“Come to me three times a week for two years, and I’ll cure your fears,” says the shrink. “And I’ll charge you only $200 a visit.”

Lenny says he’ll think about it. Six months later, he runs into the doctor, who asks why he never came back. “For $200 a visit?” says Lenny. “A bartender cured me for $10.”

“Is that so! How?”

“He told me to cut the legs off the bed.”

This Weather is Hell

Howard dies and waits in line for judgment. He notices that some souls go right into heaven, while Satan throws others into a burning pit. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, the devil tosses it aside. Curious, Howard asks Satan, “Excuse me, but why are you tossing them aside instead of flinging them into hell with the others?”

“They’re from Seattle,” Satan replies. “They’re too wet to burn.”

The Magic Beer

A man walks into a rooftop bar and takes a seat next to another guy. “What are you drinking?” he asks the guy.

“Magic beer,” he says.

“Oh, yeah? What’s so magical about it?” The guy proceeds to show him: He drinks some beer, jumps off the roof, flies around the building, and returns to his seat.

“Amazing! Lemme try some of that,” the man says. He grabs the beer, downs it, leaps off the roof, 
and falls 30 feet to the ground.

The bartender shakes his head and says to the first guy, “You know, you’re a real jerk when you’re drunk, Superman.”

Good News

Scene: Starbucks.

Customer:  Hey, you lost a lot of weight.

Barista: No, I gave birth two weeks ago.

Customer: To a baby?


My friend was working at an amusement park when a couple stopped him. “Excuse me,” said the woman, pointing to a pond. “What is that water made out of?”

Bemused, my friend replied, “Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.”

“See?” she said to her boyfriend. “I told you it wasn’t real.”

What's IQ Got to Do With It?

Sometimes men don’t date women for their IQs. Here are some examples:

Today, my girlfriend asked me if my grandmother had any kids.

My girlfriend and I went out to dinner. We were going to get there 30 minutes early, so I told her to call to see if they could bump us up. The reservation was under my name. After being with me for a year, she didn’t know how to say my last name.

It took my girlfriend almost a full season of The Office to realize it wasn’t a reality show.

Lost Dog

An old farmer is inconsolable after his dog goes missing. His wife suggests he take out an ad in the newspaper, which he does. But two weeks later, there’s still no sign of the mutt.

“What did you write in the ad?” his wife asks.

“ ‘Here, boy,’ ” he replies.

Liquid Ban

Shortly after the FAA announced the ban on fluids, my husband was stopped by airport security because they found a bottle of water in one of his carry-on bags.

“Sorry,” the officer said, tossing the bottle into a bin of confiscated items, “but water is now considered a liquid.”


Handle With Care

You didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that a customer at our post office was an off-duty mail clerk from another plant. He’d written on his package, “Fragile: Toss Underhand.”

Going to the Dogs

When our client’s dog lapped up anti-freeze, the veterinarian I work for ordered a unique treatment: an IV drip mixing fluids with vodka. “Go buy the cheapest bottle you can find,” he told me.

At the liquor store, I was uneasy buying cheap booze so early in the day, and I felt compelled to explain things to the clerk.

“Believe it or not,” I said, “this is for a sick dog.”

As I was leaving, the next customer plunked down two bottles of muscatel and announced, “These are for my cats.”

The Trouble With Dating

Dating is complicated. You don’t believe us? Here are some examples:

Right after we broke up, my ex-girlfriend called to ask how to change her relationship status on Facebook.

I got into a 90-minute argument with my girlfriend because she was adamant that Moby Dick was a true story. I finally let her win so I could go to sleep.

My now ex-girlfriend and I were in my room one day, and the Internet was particularly slow. After I complained, she suggested that I untangle my Ethernet cord so that more Internet could get through.

I recently joined an online dating site, and one of my matches was my first cousin.

How to Fail Driver’s Ed

As I quizzed my driver’s-education students about road signs, the one for Slow Moving Vehicle stumped them. So I offered them a hint by lifting the sign above my head and slowly parading up and down the room. One student thought he had it: “Wide load!” he called out.

Beyond Our Power

A customer called our service line demanding help with her TV set, which wouldn’t come on.

"I’m sorry, but we can’t send a technician out today due to the blizzard," I told her.

Unsatisfied, she barked, "I need my TV fixed today! What else am I supposed to do while the power is out?!"

Funny Misprints

Mark Twain warned: “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” The same can be said for these English-challenged notes doctors wrote on patient charts:

“The patient is married but sexually active.”

“When standing with eyes closed, he missed his right finger to his nose and has to search for it on the left side.”

“She does indeed have a fear of frying and mental problems that she attributes to deep-fat fryers.”

“The patient is a 53-year-old police officer who was found unconscious by his bicycle.”

“Her father died from a heart attack at age 12.”

Life Experience

Experience is a great teacher, especially if it’s someone else who’s learning from his mistakes. These examples were sent to learnfrommyfail.failblog.org:

“When holding a DVD in one hand and food in the other, remember which hand has what when you take a bite.”

“When running errands where one stop involves going to a bank and one involves dropping off a firearm, drop off the firearm first.”

“If you’re prone to impulse purchases, stick to shoes, not tattoos.”

“When attending a funeral, never clap after the eulogy, regardless of how meaningful and heartfelt it was.”

Menu Item

I’d just sat down at a Manhattan diner when I noticed schav on the menu. Since I hadn’t had a bowl of the cold, sour soup in quite a while, I ordered some.

"We don’t have it today," said the waitress.

"Oh, you have it only on certain days?" I asked.

"No, we never have it."

I was confused. "Then why is it on the menu?"

"Oh," she said with a shrug, "some people like it."

Looking for the Problem

As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a couple of people looking under the hood of their car. Concerned, Mom wondered aloud, "Do you think they have a flat tire?"

Dumb Criminals

A job applicant’s polygraph test for the Washington State Patrol came to an abrupt end after officers discovered an interesting piece of literature on the front seat of his car. The title of the book: How to Beat a Lie Detector Test.

In the Walls

While attending an open house, my wife was taken with the home’s modern features, especially the central vacuum system installed within the walls. But she had a practical question: "What do you do when all the walls fill up?"

Practice Round

After setting off the alarms at airport security, I was escorted behind a curtain. As two female officials "wanded" me, the senior officer gave instructions to the trainee on proper technique: first down the front of my body, then up the back of me, and—much to my embarrassment—up between my legs.

After she was done, her boss congratulated her.

"Great job," she said. "Now do it again. But this time, try turning on the wand."

Training Days

The U.S. Army Ranger School was more arduous than my nephew had expected. He had to subsist on meager rations, hike for miles carrying heavy packs and equipment, and survive treacherous conditions in swamps, deserts, heat, and cold. I told an incredulous coworker all about it.

"Wow," she said, "I had no idea how tough it was to become a forest ranger."

Moving With the Season

Louie and his wife are listening to the radio when they hear the weather report: "A snow emergency has been declared. You must park your cars on the odd-numbered side of the street.” So Louie gets up and moves his car.

Two days later—same thing. "A snow emergency has been declared,” blares the radio. "Park your cars on the even-numbered side of the street.” Louie gets up and does what he’s told.

Three days later: "There will be a foot of snow today. Park your cars on the …,” and then the power goes out.

"What should I do?” a confused Louie asks his wife.

"This time,” she says, "why don’t you just leave the car in the garage?”

Home Selling Mistakes

It’s tough enough selling a home nowadays. Don’t make the mistakes that turned off these readers on the City Room blog of The New York Times:

• “It was a good house, well-maintained. But the bed with the person in it was off-putting.”

• “The family dog, long departed, was stuffed and standing next to the fireplace. RIP Sparky.”

• “The main distraction was dirt. Although there was the tiny child who proudly showed us the refrigerator full of ‘Daddy’s beer’ just outside an upstairs bedroom.”


I was driving when I saw the flash of a traffic camera. I figured that my picture had been taken for speeding, even though I knew I wasn’t. Just to be sure, I went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly. But again the camera flashed. Thinking this was pretty funny, I drove past even slower three more times, laughing as the camera snapped away each time while I drove by it at a snail’s pace.

Two weeks later, I got five tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt.

Water Broke

I answered a 911 call at our emergency dispatch center from a woman who said her water broke.

"Stay calm," I advised. "Now, how far apart are your contractions?"

"No contractions," she said breathlessly. "But my basement is flooding fast."

The Stream

A motorist was driving down a rural dirt road when he came upon a stream. He called out to a man walking by, "Do you think I can drive my car through the stream?"

"I suppose you can," said the man.

So the driver started across, but within seconds, his car sank, and he barely escaped with his life.

"You lied to me!" the driver screamed at the passerby. "That stream is at least ten feet deep!"

"That’s funny. It only reaches up to the middle of the ducks."

We Have Our Suspicions

"Police were called to Market Square for a report about a ‘suspicious coin.’ Investigating officer reported it was a quarter."

"The Learning Center reports a man stands at his window watching the center, making parents nervous. Police ID him as a cardboard cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger."

"Police receive a report of a newborn infant found in a trash can. Upon investigation, officers discover it was only a burrito."

Crossing the Street

When my friend spotted a blind man and his guide dog at a crosswalk, she stopped her car and waved them on.

"Uh, Cynthia," I said, "he can’t see you."

"I know that," she said indignantly. "I’m waving the dog on."

Make it Stop! 13 Fads That Have Got To Go

Know what’s grating? Grown adults calling everything awesome.

“Dad survived a heart attack.” “Awesome!”

“Dad cut his toenails.” “Awesome!”

When did this word come to dominate the English language alongside such stalwarts as and, the, but, and Kardashian?

Of course, sharing pet peeves is more fun than keeping them to ourselves. So to that end, we’ve assembled a roster of fellow curmudgeons to drive a stake through the heart of our more loathsome fads. They’re awesome—just not in a good way.


Elastic Waistband Nation

I don’t know if I should call it a trend or a tragedy—people wandering in public as though they’ve just been interrupted during a long winter’s nap. Dressing down has been taken way too far! Now, I’m not saying that we should all don white gloves and a top hat, but must one wear a Juicy Couture tracksuit to make air travel bearable or to enjoy theater? And as if to prove that things are spinning out of control, there’s the Snuggie. Adults wearing fleece onesies? What fresh new hell is this!

Carson Kressley, host of ABC’s True Beauty

Group Pride

It’s great to take pride in one’s ethnic diversity, but does everyone have to break it down for you? “I’m one quarter Cherokee on my dad’s side and Jewish, Samoan, and one twelfth Minnesotan on my mom’s … ” Who cares? And the other day, the guy who fixed my computer proudly proclaimed, “I’m a geek!” There was a time when geeks were ashamed of their techie status. Not anymore. Know what else is new? “Croning” festivals for women turning 60. Yippee! I’m a full-grown crone! Is there no one who isn’t proud of who they are?

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids

Bowwow Bling

I’m all for spoiling Spot with high-quality pet food and toys. But I draw the line at four-footed, fur-trimmed dresses and coats. The idea of removing one animal’s pelt to warm up another is woefully unhip. As for fashion shows featuring matching mother-daughter getups for Mommy and Puppy … please. Let’s keep canines off the catwalks; they’d much rather go naked than be dressed to resemble refugees from the set of Dynasty.

Julia Szabo, author of Pretty Pet-Friendly; follow her on Twitter @PetReporter1

Beyond One’s Qualifications

Forget for a second just how tough the job market is today. More and more job seekers won’t settle for anything less than manager status, regardless of their experience—or lack thereof—in a particular field. One hiring manager received a résumé from a part-time model. Included was a four-by-six-inch card showing her in various poses, and at the bottom, it read “good hands.” She was applying for a corporate position.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president, human resources, careerbuilder.com

Ugg Boots

Has there ever been a shoe more aptly named?

Andrea Henry, comedian


“Just Sayin’??”

They’re two little words innocuous enough on their own, though together they are poison. Just Sayin’ is the Hummel Lil’ Rascal of figures of speech, harmless until you look closer and see the slingshot in his back pocket. The way it’s used is in the form of a pulled punch. “No one above the age of seven should be seen chewing gum. Just sayin’.” “My boss smells like a brewery. Just sayin’.” It’s like a coy kicking of the dirt. “I’m going to say something offensive, but by adding these two words, I won’t have to take responsibility for it.”

Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

“Some Love”

Where’s the love? Lately, everywhere: “Vegan Diets Get Some Love.” “Historic Windows Get Some Love.”

Love preceded by some doth not always run smooth: “I have to quit being so teed off before I give him some love,” a fan wrote of former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. And we’re all being told to love on demand: “Call Henry Waxman’s office and give him some love!” Sorry, I don’t know the congressman well enough. When love is reduced to little more than a verbal thumbs-up, I’ll settle for some like.

Leslie Savan, author of Slam Dunks and No-Brainers

Hipster Words

Fusion food, gastropubs, words that end with the suffix “-ista” (as in frugalista or no-imaginationista) are predictable, overused labels that tell us little and quickly become yesterday’s news, only to be replaced by an equally loathsome word du jour. And while we’re at it, may the term wardrobe malfunction RIP, along with BFF, LOL, and OMG.

Linda Arroz, of Makeover Media

“Too Easy”

When I was serving in Iraq, I noticed something new—every challenge was met with the brash response “too easy.” Whether the soldiers knew what they were doing or not, they seemed to think simply saying “too easy” was enough to bestow on them the ability to diagnose electric faults in a Humvee or to correctly torque bolts.

Of course, I soon discovered something else. “Too easy” was usually followed a few minutes later by the far more feeble “Uh … how do you do that?”

Sgt. Neil Gussman, U.S. Army


Yooneek Baby Names

I’m talking to you, Madysyn, and you, Aadinn, and you, too, Makayla. Or rather, your parents. This effort to be more kre8tiv by taking a perfectly okay name and contorting it with extra letters and strange substitutes only condemns your poor child to a lifetime of respelling her name, explaining its derivation, and assuring people that yes, her parents really do in most cases know how to spell.

Most annoying of all, these bizarre spellings don’t do anything to change the name’s pronunciation or specialness, so Madysyn in the end is really just plain old Madison. So why change the spelling in the first place? That’s right: just to be annoying.

Pamela Redmond Satran, coauthor of The Baby Name Bible

Preschoolers with Mohawks

I’m sick of parents imposing their lost punk youth on their four-year-olds. It’s one thing to mangle your own hair—but quite another to try to make your kid too cool for preschool.

Helene Stapinski,author of Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History


“Should I Flush?”

It boggles my mind that anyone thinks it’s okay to talk on a cell phone in a public restroom. Standing next to a man who is talking while conducting his business on and off the phone is disconcerting enough and invites the question “Do I flush?” But can you imagine being on the other end of the call? Don’t make them ask, “Where are you?” Avoid the unpleasantness: Table your talk until far from the toilet.

Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute


We’ve changed the motto of the United States. “Huh?” you say. And you’re right. “Huh?” is the nation’s new rallying cry. Ladies say “huh?” Gentlemen say “huh?” Children say “huh?” to everything. You could tell my children that their Crocs are on fire and they’d say “huh?”

Once it would have been “pardon me” or “come again” or “sorry, Daddy, I didn’t hear what you said.” Now it’s the dull, uncouth, distracted “huh?” This is the result of the dull, uncouth distr
actions of modern life. People are constantly staring at something other than the person speaking to them—a laptop, BlackBerry, video game, Kindle, text message—and wearing iPod earbuds and talking on a cell phone too. The cell phone conversation goes like this: Person with cell phone pauses slack-jawed, says, “huh?” and then pauses while something is said again. He now says something, waits for the corresponding “huh?” and repeats himself.

In 1956, Congress changed the motto of the United States to “In God We Trust” because nobody knew what the old motto meant anymore. America’s original motto, appearing on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, was “e pluribus unum” (“one out of many”) or, as we might say today, “e pluribus huh?”

P. J. O’Rourke, author of the forthcoming book on political theory Don’t Vote—It Just Encourages the B*st*rds

12 Trends We’d Like to See

“Pull up your pants,” “pay it forward,” and please—please!—”put shopping carts back where they belong.” When we asked readers what fads they look forward to, those topped the list. But they didn’t stop there:

1. Say “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem,” which implies it might have been a problem. -Patricia B., Channahon, Illinois

2. A universal hand signal for poor drivers that means “Sorry, I’m an idiot.”? -Laura M., St. Louis, Missouri

3. An understanding among voters that a negative political ad will disqualify that candidate. -Doug M., Tupelo, Mississippi

4. Allow pro golfers to wear shorts in PGA tournaments. -David G., Moline, Illinois

5. Subject-verb agreement. -Judy G., Atlanta, Georgia

6. More random acts of kindness. -Ken L., Discovery Bay, California

7. People getting along as well as dogs do at the dog park. -Bryant H., Huntsville, Alabama

8. Rather than focus on salary, let’s focus on what one brings to society. -Jerome D., Carlisle, Pennsylvania

9. More inviting, user-friendly porches. -Dr. Bob L., Ogdensburg, New York

10. Less Facebook, more face time. Cherish the people, not their personal Internet accounts. -Mercy S., Binghamton, New York

11. People discussing topics other than sports and home renovations. Something—anything!—deeper than scores and drywall. -Gina B., Joppa, Maryland

12. I just want my cat to stop stepping on my head while I’m trying to sleep. -Eileen E., Fieldsboro, New Jersey

Gassing Up

When my father ran out of gas, he called my mother to pick him up in her car. They went to a gas station, filled a gas can, and returned to his car. After a few minutes, he got into her car again. “We need to go back to the gas station,” he said.

“One gallon wasn’t enough?” she asked.

“It would have been if I’d put it in the right car.”

Odd Jobsite

On his way to perform at a graveside service, the bagpiper gets lost. After many wrong turns, he finally arrives, but the minister and mourners have already gone. Only the grave diggers remain, and they’re eating lunch. Not knowing what else to do, the bagpiper begins to play.

The workers put down their lunches and weep as the man plays “Amazing Grace.” When he finishes, he packs up his bagpipes and heads for his car. As he opens the door, he hears one of the workers say, “I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years.”

Movie Quotes—The First Drafts

The Godfather: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. Well, he can refuse it, of course. I just know that if someone were to make me an offer like this, I’d jump all over it. But who am I to impose my feelings on someone else?”

The Terminator: “I’ll be back. Do you need anything while I’m up?”

Dirty Harry: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? I ask myself that every day, and you know what? I feel so very lucky. Loving family, steady work …”

Taxi Driver: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Sorry, it looked like you were talkin’ to me. My mistake.”

Water Colors

Tourists say some odd things when they charter my boat in Key West. "How many sunset sails do you have at night?" asked one. Another wondered, "Does the water go around the island?"

But the most interesting came when I asked a customer why she’d brought along a dozen empty jars. She answered, "I want to take home a sample of each color of water that we’ll be going in."

Top Secret

The Department of Defense has a Contact Us link on its website inviting readers to pose any question they want. One guy did just that: "So do you have any top secret information you would like to tell me? I am doing a project for my senior economics class and was just wondering … E-mail me back."


While I was planning a trip to Nova Scotia, a Titanic-related tour caught my eye. The description: “Learn of the Titanic tragedy along with a guided visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where 121 victims are still buried on a deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach.”

Waiting for Work

When I took my Weed Eater back to the home-and-garden store to get it fixed, I was asked if I wanted to wait until the job was done.

"How long will it take?" I asked.

The clerk answered, "A day or two."

Good Records

The pay for this gig is whatever you can haul away: “Need someone to sit with elderly man. Must have excellent references and current police record.”

Adventures in Title Writing

What’s the toughest part about writing a book? It’s deciding what to call it, as these finalists for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year prove.

Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter
An Intellectual History of Cannibalism
Father Christmas Needs a Wee!
Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich
The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Casting Aspersions

A coworker stormed into my friend’s office, yelling, "Did you tell Joan I was a witch?!" Stunned, my friend sputtered, "No! I don’t know how she found out."

3 Funny Conversations Overheard at Dinner

Anyone can eavesdrop, but not everyone thinks to record conversations for posterity. We thank those snoopers who alerted overheardinnewyork.com to these:

Guy: Your glasses can’t be bad—you just got them!
Girl: Yeah, but I cheated on the eye exam, so it’s really my own fault.
Guy: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Girl: I’m very competitive.

Girl: Why would he say that I was not educated?
Friend: Well, that’s not exactly what he said, now, was it?
Girl: No. He said I was tapid and voided of thought.
Friend: Vapid and devoid of thought.
Girl: Same thing.

Girl #1 (picking up box of baking soda): I didn’t know soda was baked.
Girl #2: Thank God it’s not fried! Do you know how many extra calories that would be?!

Unlikely Problem

One of our visiting Italian students at Sheppard Air Force Base said he wouldn’t be able to fly that day.

"Why?" his teacher asked.

Marshaling all the English he knew, the student pointed to his ears and explained, "It’s my fallopian tubes."

One Last Look

When a body was brought to her funeral home, my friend contacted the next of kin. Per previous instructions, the deceased would be cremated, she told him, so he needed to come in to identify the body.

Considering the task at hand, the relative asked, "Does this need to be done before or after the cremation?"


Medical transcription requires a keen ear for technical jargon. But one applicant insisted she was singularly qualified for the position. After all, she wrote in her cover letter, "both of my sisters are nurses, and I watch the cable shows Dr. G: Medical Examiner and Trauma: Life in the E.R."

Meet the Madmen of Pranks

Walk into Jerry Stepani’s office and you’ll see vestiges of the practical jokes of yore. There’s a whoopee cushion on the couch, a dollar tied to a string on the floor, even fake vomit on his desk. But Stepani, president of Pranks Inc., a subsidiary of Bloomberg, isn’t looking back. The golden age of pranks is here. “There are big bucks in yucks,” he says as he jolts me with a joy buzzer.

Stepani and company are busy establishing the U.S. Prank Exchange, which lets investors buy and sell shares in hoaxes. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “blue-chip pranks, like those involving whoopee cushions, are expected to have moderate growth, whereas tech and online pranks are expected to be highly volatile but …”

Okay, we’re lying. There is no Pranks Inc., no Prank Exchange, no Wall Street Journal article, not even a Jerry Stepani as far as we know. Too bad—we could make a mint, what with all the pranks being perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. Just last year, the world was introduced to bottled organic air (courtesy of Whole Foods Market), animal gyms (Virgin), and a new breed of sheep sporting tartan-patterned wool (the London Daily Mail), to name but a few. Bears may have decimated the stock and housing markets, but there’s still a lot of bull in the bull business. Here, four of the best pranksters tell us what makes them trick.

Gag Reflex
Forty-two-year-old comedian Tom Mabe was a prank prodigy, having executed his first when he was only eight. He had just made a snowman on the front lawn of his Louisville, Kentucky, home when he watched helplessly as teenagers in a car ran over it. He made another, with the same result. The third snowman he built was on a fire hydrant. “There I was with their wrecked car and water gushing out everywhere, and I acted like, Gee, I didn’t think anyone would hit it with his car,” he says. “I had to do something. I was just a little guy. So I came up with this kind of cowardly way of getting revenge.”

Mabe grew up to be six feet four inches tall, but he never lost the little-guy attitude. His specialty is torturing telemarketers. He once checked into a Washington, D.C., hotel that was hosting a telemarketing convention, and spent the night making phony phone calls, trying to sell the sellers insomnia medicine at three o’clock in the morning. The front desk manager finally begged him to stop because one of the guests was so outraged. Mabe promised to fix the situation. He phoned the guest and identified himself as the manager. “Sir, I’m sorry about your losing sleep,” he said. “I believe we can make it up to you.”

“Thank God,” the man said.

“Here it is … Rock-a-bye, baby, in the treetop …”

Why do you pull pranks? “Revenge and fun. If some salesman is going to call my house, it’s game on.”

Best gag you’ve pulled off: “One time there were a couple of homeless guys in front of a McDonald’s. I called the restaurant impersonating a policeman and pretended that the men were actually undercover cops. I persuaded the manager to bring them burgers and coffee.”

Best gag someone else pulled off: “My buddy Jim Clark took his family to the zoo, and upon exiting, he and his family ran past the people entering screaming, ‘Run, run! It’s right behind us!’ People were taking cover, jumping up on picnic tables!”

Any pranks you regret pulling? “I once saw a dead deer by the side of the road. I ran back to my house, put on a Santa suit, and then I lay down beside the deer—just in time for a school bus to drive by. Freaked the kids right out.”

Pearls of wisdom: “If you’re a revenge prankster like me, remember: Not everyone is evil, not even telemarketers. Every year around Christmas, when one of them calls, I’ll always say something like, ‘Hmmm, that transmission insurance policy sounds like something I could really use, but it’s kind of expensive, and it is Christmas. Hmmm … Do you think—do you think that if I put my kid on the phone, you could pretend to be Santa Claus and tell him you’re not coming this year?’ So far, no one has taken me up on this. Score one for humanity.”

Sir Pranksalot
Sir John Hargrave got into the pranks business honestly: He was born on April 1. With that head start, he founded one of the premier prankster sites on the Web, zug.com, which stands for “zug is utterly great.” The 41-year-old embarked on world hoax domination some years ago when, posing as a ten-year-old, he wrote to every U.S. senator asking them to send him a joke as part of a homework assignment. Many senators responded, including Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, who contributed this: “Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road? Because he didn’t have any guts!”

By the way, don’t let Hargrave’s lofty title fool you. He’s from Boston. He added “sir” to his legal name when Buckingham Palace refused to knight him for “honourable pranking.”

Why do you pull pranks?
“It’s a sport for thrill seekers. The moment before you pull off something, it’s pure adrenaline.”

Best gag you’ve pulled off: “I once filled out my tax forms using Roman numerals. The IRS was not amused.”

Best gag someone else pulled off: “Mat Benote, a graffiti artist, hung one of his paintings at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It took two days before they realized it didn’t belong.”

Any pranks you regret pulling? “No, but I do regret having been punked myself. Before my book Mischief Maker’s Manual was published, I solicited celebrity blurbs on my website. I got an e-mail from a kid who said Eric Idle of Monty Python was his uncle. So the next thing I know, I was e-mailing with Eric Idle, and having conversations with his assistant. A year later, I saw this article, ‘How I Pranked John Hargrave.’ It was the kid—he played all the parts in the prank: Eric Idle, the assistant, everyone.”

A gag anyone can pull off: “Stick someone’s toothbrush in a Dixie cup of water, and put it in the freezer overnight. Put it back in its normal place in the morning.”

Pearls of wisdom:
“Pranks and practical jokes should never be confused. A practical joke is something you pull on coworkers, like the guys in Utah who transformed their vacationing colleague’s cubicle into a small cottage, complete with a working doorbell, mailbox, and ceiling fan. A prank goes after the man. For example, there’s a video where Tom Cruise is being interviewed. The interviewer is holding a trick microphone and squirts water in Cruise’s face. Cruise starts chewing him out, and we crack up because, well, Tom Cruise is the man.”

Getting Schooled
Tension fills the halls of collegehumor.com. Two of the humor site’s writers are at war, a prank war to be precise. The small-scale gags that Streeter Seidell and Amir Blumenfeld first pulled on each other have ballooned into elaborate productions.

In one, Blumenfeld arranged for Seidell and his girlfriend to go to a Yankees game. Unbeknownst to Seidell, Blumenfeld also arranged for the scoreboard to display a bogus wedding proposal. A hidden camera recorded the couple’s reaction. It’s painful to watch. Seidell’s girlfriend is understandably startled. Seidell is even more startled when she accepts. “I did not put that up!” he exclaims. “I don’t want to marry you.” She slaps him and leaves. For good.

Seidell, 27, says his friendly war with Amir has only escalated since then.

Why do you pull pranks? “It began as a fun way to kill boredom. Now I’m just trying to top the one before.”

Best gag you’ve pulled off: “I arranged for Amir to be selected to take a halftime half-court shot for a half-million dollars at a college basketball game. While Amir was led to a secluded office ‘to sign forms,’ I let the crowd in on the gag and requested their help. When Amir came back, we blindfolded him, and he took his shot … missing by at least 20 feet. But on cue, the crowd went crazy, as if he sank the shot. Amir did a victory lap around the court, yelling and punching the air. It lasted right up to the presentation of the fake check … which was presented by me. That’s when he realized he’d been had.”

Best gag someone else pulled off: “The lottery ticket prank. Videotape a lottery drawing. The next day, buy a ticket, asking for the same numbers that won the day before. Give that ticket to a friend and watch the ‘live’ drawing together. When he ‘wins,’ he will leap for joy like Amir did … until you turn off the tape.”

A gag anyone can pull off: “Bet someone that you can make it so they cannot lift a glass of beer off the table with their thumbs. When they’ve agreed to the bet, have them place their thumbs on the table next to each other. Now balance the full glass of beer on their thumbs. Unless they want to take a beer bath, they’re stuck.”

Pearls of wisdom: “You need a bit of meanness to be funny, but too much and you make people uncomfortable.” Like what Amir did to your ex-girlfriend? “Yeah.”

Prank You Very Much
On a freezing January morning, New York City commuters boarded subways from various lines and braced themselves for the day. They could not have expected this: Fellow passengers—businesspeople and college kids alike—removed their pants and skirts and nonchalantly rode to their destination, Union Square, in their underwear. Riders gawked, leered, and laughed their heads off. The ninth annual No Pants Subway Ride was another successful gag perpetrated by Charlie Todd and his New York Prank Collective, Improv Everywhere.

Todd has a curiously upbeat mission for a guy trying to pull a fast one on the populace: “Cause scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” They stage such scenes about ten times a year. There was the impromptu wedding reception for an unsuspecting couple getting married at City Hall, and Frozen Grand Central, in which 200 “agents” (the preferred term for participants) milled about Grand Central Terminal’s Main Concourse before unexpectedly freezing in place during rush hour.

Todd, 31, grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, and moved to New York City in 2001. It was there, in an East Village bar, that something changed his life for good—he pretended to be the alternative rock singer Ben Folds. “People were posing for photographs with me, the bartender gave me free drinks, a girl gave me her number,” he says. “But what I liked about it was that it was a positive experience for everybody, even though they were being fooled. When it was over, I didn’t smirk, Ha-ha, you’ve been pranked. I just thanked everyone and left. It gave them something they could tell their friends. Even if they Googled Ben Folds and found out he’s, like, ten years older than me, they’d still have a wonderful story: ‘This guy, for some reason, pretended to be Ben Folds!’ ”

Why do you pull pranks? “I get excited about pulling pranks that make people smile.”

Best gag you’ve pulled off: “The fake U2 concert in 2005. We assembled a group of musicians—with me dressed as Bono—and played a rooftop concert in New York. It was a crazy 20 minutes for the crowd watching … especially when the police arrested us for unreasonable noise.”

Best gag someone else pulled off: “Rob Cockerham posted a fake T.G.I. Friday’s menu page on his website cockeyed.com and encouraged people to insert it inside a real T.G.I. Friday menu. It parodied the Atkins Diet and had really disgusting stuff, like Bacon Churner with Faux-tatoes: two whole sticks of fresh Dutch dairy butter on a bed of crisp bacon.”

A gag anyone can pull off: “Here’s one my college roommates pulled on me: They covered every object and surface in my bedroom with tin foil. All the windows and lightbulbs were blacked out. I needed a flashlight to even figure out what was going on.”

Pearls of wisdom: “Anyone can pull pranks. Look at Frozen Grand Central. All you have to do is freeze in place.”

Revenge of the Nerds
A self-described nerd’s paradise, MIT has a long tradition of hoaxes. The students’ favorite target is the school’s Great Dome, home to the engineering library. Over the years, the dome has been dressed up like R2D2, accessorized with a solar-powered subway car that moved along a track, and crowned with a beanie. But in 1994, the ante was upped when students awoke to find a police car, with blinking lights, parked 150 feet high. Closer investigation revealed a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wipers and a dummy dressed as a campus policeman, a box of doughnuts at his side.


After finishing his meal, my grandfather, a retired Marine captain, asked the waitress for the 15 percent discount the restaurant offered veterans.

"Do you need to see my military ID?" he asked.

"That’s all right," she said. "I know you were in the military. I can tell by your T-shirt."

Grandpa’s shirt read "Welcome to Gettysburg National Military Park."

Shower Talk

One of our hotel guests complained to me about a spraying showerhead: "I can’t get in the shower without getting wet!"

Brain Food

The worst ad campaign ever, spotted at a Mexican fast-food restaurant: A sign behind the counter read “It’s a fact tacos is brain food.”


Today, while playing "20 Questions" with my friend, I asked, "Monsters or aliens?" She gave it some thought, then responded, "Well, I’ve never actually met a monster, so I’m going to have to go with aliens."

Tracking the Argument

Three dolts are in the forest when they spot a set of tracks.

Dolt No. 1 says, "Hey, deer tracks!"

Dolt No. 2 says, "No, dog tracks!"

Dolt No. 3 says, "You’re both crazy—they’re cow tracks!"

They were still arguing when the train hit them.


As he trained troops at Fort Dix, New Jersey, my brother-in-law noticed that one medic was hopeless on the firing range.

"You better learn how to fire your weapon," he told her. "All soldiers have to qualify on the range before we can send them to Iraq."

The medic was relieved. "Then it’s okay," she said. "I’m not going to Iraq. I’m going to Baghdad."

Nearly There

Driving in Ohio, we spotted a sign that said "Wildlife Refuge." Seeing a dead deer lying in front of it, my husband shook his head.

"He almost made it."

Dark Room

On a nighttime visit to his brother’s base, my son Joe was impressed by the large airplane hangar in which Billy worked. But when Billy led him through another door, Joe was absolutely astounded by the massive, darkened room.

"This is the largest building I’ve ever been in!" he said. "What do you call it?"

His brother answered, "The outside."

Criminal Law

A man is on trial for armed robbery. The jury comes back with the verdict. The foreman stands, clears his throat, and announces, "Not guilty."

The defendant leaps to his feet. "Awesome!" he shouts. "Does that mean I get to keep the money?"

The Fringe Benefits

After I applied for jobs at both a library and a shoe store, my husband said he hoped that I’d get the one at the store. "It would be nice to have employee discounts on shoes," he explained. Then, without thinking, he added, "Of course, if you get the job at the library, we’ll get free books."

The Last Facebook Status Update

Frank Ferri … is standing over a patient in the operating room, scalpel in hand, wishing he hadn’t lied on his résumé about being a surgeon. Here goes nothing …

Frank Ferri … is in a marriage-counseling session with his wife, wondering what the score of the football game is. Go, Eagles!

Frank Ferri … thinks that if his boss doesn’t like him sleeping on the floor of the office, then his boss shouldn’t have gotten such comfy carpets.

Frank Ferri … needs help robbing the bank over on the corner of Main and Willow. Any takers? Be there around noonish.

Check One

Some people might object to filling out the part of our company’s job application form that asks "Race." Not one guy.

He responded, "Only on the interstate."


I was leading a tour through Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico when a woman asked, "How many miles of undiscovered passageways are there in this cave?"

Noise Makers

With a party going full bore in the apartment above his, my friend could forget about getting any sleep. The next day, he spotted the offending party giver.

"Didn’t you hear me pounding on the ceiling?" he asked.

The woman smiled pleasantly. "That’s okay. We were making a lot of noise ourselves."

Simple Directions

Despite his low opinion of lieutenants, the sergeant kept a respectful tone as he taught us how to bail out of a plane in an emergency.

"Sirs, to open the hatch," he began, "turn this lever to the right, then pull that handle."

"What if we don’t follow that sequence?" a second lieutenant asked.

"Then, sir," said the sergeant patiently, "you hit the hatch handle with a crash axe."

"That’ll open the hatch?"

"No, sir. But it will keep your mind occupied until you crash."

Police Blotter

Suspicious person: Officer made contact with a man walking backward down a street. When asked, the man told the officer he did not want anyone sneaking up on him.

Self Promotion

Waiting my turn to enter a rotary intersection, I noticed a guy drive around twice, then leave by the same road he’d entered. His vanity license plate read "GENIUS."

Conference Call

During a conference, I was pleasantly surprised to be seated next to a very handsome man. We flirted casually through dinner, then grew restless as the dignitaries gave speeches. During one particularly long-winded lecture, my new friend drew a # sign on a cocktail napkin. Elated, I wrote down my phone number.

Looking startled for a moment, he drew another # sign, this time adding an X to the upper-left-hand corner.


During a job interview at my granddaughter’s pharmacy, an applicant was asked, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"

"No," he answered. "My hearing is scheduled for next week."

Drawing Straws

When his drink arrived, my brother-in-law Keith asked the waitress for a straw. "Sorry, I’m out," she said, sounding irritated. "The customers won’t stop asking for them." "Well," joked Keith, "they must all be germaphobes."

"No," she said, "they’re mostly locals."

Difficult Travel

Fog forced our Puerto Rico-to-New York plane to be diverted to Washington, D.C. As I left the cockpit, a passenger complained, "A little bit of fog never stopped a train from getting to its destination."

I was about to respond, but his wife did the honors. "That’s right, Charlie," she said.

"Next time you want to go from San Juan to New York, you take the train."

Generous Boyfriend

A teenager brings her new boyfriend home to meet her parents. They’re appalled by his haircut, his tattoos, his piercings.

Later, the girl’s mom says, "Dear, he doesn’t seem to be a very nice boy."

"Oh, please, Mom!" says the daughter. "If he wasn’t nice, would he be doing 500 hours of community service?"

Passing the Test

One time, I had to tell a candidate that we would not be able to offer him a job because his drug test had come back positive and ours was a drug-free environment. After a minute he asked, "Can you tell me which one showed up?"

A Tad Late

A tour bus stops in Runnymede, England, and the guide says it was here that the Magna Carta was signed.

"When did they sign it?" one passenger asks.

"1215," the guide responds.

"Dang! We missed it by 20 minutes."

Truth in Advertising

Driving along a country road, I ignored a Bridge Out sign and continued on. But in a few miles I came to a stop: The road was completely barricaded. So I turned around and retraced my route. That’s when I saw this sign on the back of the first: “It was, wasn’t it?”


Trying to do my share to help the environment, I set up a trash basket at my church and posted above it this suggestion: "Empty water bottles here."

I should have been a little more specific, because when I went to check it later, I didn’t find any bottles in it. But it was full of water.

It’s a Toss-Up

A woman walked into the elevator tossing her keys up in the air and catching them. After one too many tosses, she dropped the keys, and we watched as they disappeared into the crack between the open doors and the floor. I felt terrible for her. Or I did until she cried, "Oh no! Not again!"

New Car Wash

My niece was thrilled to hear that a new car wash was opening up in her neighborhood."How convenient," she said."I can walk to it."

Great Writers

A customer at our bookstore asked me, "Do you have the original book Romeo and Juliet? My daughter needs it for school, and all I can find is the play."

Good for Ants

A garden center customer picks up a container of insecticide and asks the salesperson, "Is this good for red ants?"

"No," says the salesperson. "It’ll kill ’em!"

Ridiculous Town Name

Two American tourists are driving through Wales. They decide to stop for a bite to eat in the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogo-

Baffled by the name, one of them turns to a local and asks, “Would you please say where we are—very slowly?”

The Welshman leans over and says, very slowly, “Burrr-gerrr Kinngg.”

*We kid you not! The 3,000 people in this community on the island of Anglesey must spend hours writing their return address.

Extra Supervision

When hiring new staff at her public library, my daughter always asks applicants what sort of supervision they’d be most comfortable with.

One genius answered, "I’ve always thought Superman’s X-ray vision would be cool."

Always Be Prepared

Seen on a marquee outside the Clinton Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Dannemora, New York: The Dannemora fire department reminds you it’s fire prevention week. Practice your escape plan.”

Status Update

A customer walked into our insurance office looking for a quote. But first I had to lead her through a litany of questions, including: "Marital status?"

"Well," she began, "I guess you could say we’re happy-as happy as most other couples nowadays."


When my coworker Donsa was promoted, we decided to celebrate. Her boss called the baker and ordered a cake.

"Two questions," said the baker. "Is Donsa a man or a woman? And what do you want the cake to say?"

"The cake should read ‘Congratulations’" the boss said. "Oh, and Donsa"s a woman." The next day, the office celebrated with a cake that read "Congratulations—Donsa’s a woman."

Time Difference

Try as I might, I just couldn’t get in sync with my insurance customer. When I asked if he lived in the Eastern or Central time zone, he answered, "We’re normal time." Not sure what that meant, I continued. "Let me put it this way: Is it 10:45 where you are?"

"No," he said. "It’s 10:46."

Send the Bill to…

Anyone traveling on business for our company must fill out an expense report. A field on the form asks for "name on credit card." One Einstein entered "MasterCard."


Numb Mouth

Fresh from a visit to the dentist, I decided to stop at my bank. Barely able to enunciate, I told the teller, “I’m sorry about not speaking more clearly. I’ve had Novocaine.”

“You should have used the drive-through,” she said.


“Everyone who goes through sounds like that,” she explained.


A Classic Custodian

After inflating the playground balls, our school custodian, a classical music fanatic, had an odd habit of writing the names of famous composers on them. No one seemed particularly bothered by this behavior except for one parent volunteer.

"Can you believe this?" she said, thrusting a basketball under my nose. "Some kid wrote his name on all the balls!"

"Who was it?" I asked.

"Aaron Copland."


Feeling Very Dumb

Spanish never came easily to my sister. Still, she did her best to communicate with the Spanish-speaking staff at the restaurant she managed. But when she made mistakes—and she made a lot—she’d apologize by saying, "Me estúpido."

Finally, a staffer took pity on her. "Susanna, you’re not estúpido," she said, bucking up my sister’s ego. "You are a woman," she continued. "So you are estúpida."


Bonus Points

The day before exams, four college roommates decided to stay up late drinking. Needless to say, they were late for class the next morning. But they thought they had a good alibi.

“We blew a tire on the way here,” said one of them.

“OK,” said the professor, “but you will have to take a different version of the exam than the other students.”

The first question, worth 95 points, read: “Which tire did you blow?”


ID, Please!

A woman walked into our copy shop to pick up a large order. While there, she asked me to make a copy of her driver’s license, birth certificate and passport. When I gave her the total price, she asked if she could pay with a personal check.

"Sure," I said automatically. "I just need to see some ID."


Bug Attack

Heading down the interstate,  our car passed through a huge swarm of gnats so dense that their bodies made popping noises as they hit the windshield. "I can’t get over how loud they are," my wife said.

"Well, we are hitting them at 65 miles an hour," I pointed out.

Her reply left me speechless. "I didn’t know bugs could fly that fast."


Smartest States

My friend was flabbergasted. She’d read that in a recent survey, our home state of California was ranked 47 in a list of the nation’s smartest states.

"Can you believe that?" she fumed. "We’re 47 out of 52!"


Bad Day

First I had to work late. Then I discovered that I’d locked my keys in the car. But the last straw was learning that roadside service couldn’t get a locksmith to me for at least two hours. Finally the guy showed, looking exhausted.

As he struggled with my door, I joked, "Do those Slim Jim tools come in purse-size?"

"Yeah," he muttered. "They’re called keys."


Left Behind

My friend John and I, determined to see the world, signed on a Norwegian freighter as deckhands. We were being trained as helmsmen, and John’s first lesson was given by the mate, a seasoned but gentle white-haired seafarer. John was holding the heading he had been given, when the mate ordered, “Come starboard.”

Pleased at knowing immediately which way starboard was, John left the helm and walked over to his instructor.

The mate had an incredulous look on his face as the helm swung freely, but he merely asked politely, “Could you bring the ship with you?”

Painting the Car

Hal’s handyman wasn’t the swiftest guy on earth. But he was cheap, and so was Hal, which is why he hired the guy to paint his porch for $50. “You tightwad,” scolded Hal’s wife. “Our porch covers half of the house! He’ll be there for days.” Hal simply smirked.

An hour later, there was a knock at the door. The handyman had finished. “How did you get done so quickly?” Hal asked.

“It was a piece of cake,” the handyman replied. “Oh, and it’s a Ferrari, not a Porsche.”


Speaking Slowly

Hoss drove over to the next county to buy a new bull for the farm. It cost more than expected, and he was left with only one dollar. This was a problem, since he needed to let his wife, Sue, know that he’d bought the bull so she could come get it with the truck—and telegrams cost a dollar per word. Hoss thought hard for a minute. Finally he said, “All right. Here’s my dollar. Go ahead and just make it this one word: Comfortable.”

“How’s that going to get your point across?” the clerk asked, scratching his head.

“Don’t worry,” Hoss said. “Sue’s not the greatest reader. She’ll say it real slow.”

Bold Statement

As a freelance secretary, I type story manuscripts. When an author pays me, I print the name of the story across the top of his check. Once when I took a check to the bank, the teller suddenly froze. Only after I had explained my procedure to a bank officer did the reason for the teller’s reaction become clear.

The story was called “Your Money or Your Life,” and that, of course, was what I had written in bold letters across the top of the check.


Hard to Pass

A man is pulled over by a police officer for a broken headlight. The cop looks in the car and sees a collection of knives on the backseat. “Sir,” he says. “Why do you have all those knives?”

“They’re for my juggling act,” the man replies.

“Prove it,” says the cop.

The man gets out of the car and begins juggling the knives just as two men drive by.

“Man,” says one guy. “I’m glad I quit drinking. These new sobriety tests are hard.”


Red Light

I had just pulled over someone for driving under the influence when another car pulled up behind us. I stopped what I was doing and ventured back to see if the driver needed assistance.

“No, I don’t need any help,” he said, reeking of booze. Then, pointing to the flashing cherry top on the roof of my cruiser, he continued, “I just stopped for the red light.”


Steered in the Wrong Direction

When the skipper of an Icelandic trawler accidentally rammed Englishman Jim Hughes’s yacht, he caused $30,000 worth of damage. Exactly a year and a day before, reported the London Times, the skipper, Eriker Olafsson, had hit the same boat, causing $40,000 in damage.

What are the odds of this happening twice? Pretty good, since Olafsson purposely steered toward Hughes to apologize for the previous year’s collision.

Weighed Down

During a business trip to Boeing’s Everett, Wash., factory, I noticed several 747 and 777 airliners being assembled. Before the engines were installed, huge weights were hung from the wings to keep the planes balanced. The solid-steel weights were bright yellow and marked “14,000 lbs.” But what I found particularly interesting was some stenciling I discovered on the side of each weight. Imprinted there was the warning: “Remove before flight.”



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