Have you heard any good ones lately?

jokes“Have you heard the one about…?” You hear that phrase as someone passes and if you’re like me, you want to hear the rest of the story, all the way to the punch line.

Whenever I’m asked to speak to a group, I like to find a group appropriate joke to throw in. It seems to lighten up the subject matter and to make the information seem “friendlier” somehow.

I have a brother-in-law who is the master of jokes. Any comment can trigger “that reminds me of a story…” or simply “that reminds me….” and immediately a smile comes to my face. He does this so smoothly that sometimes I don’t realize it’s a joke until he delivers the punch line. Then the groans come followed by laughter. He even tells the same jokes numerous times and I still find them to be hilarious. My sister, on the other hand, usually groans and rolls her eyes. I guess it is possible to hear the same story too many times.

It seems to me that jokes can be a great substitute for small talk. Too often, in a social situation, we revert to talking about work issues or just plain gossiping. I always find it refreshing when someone in the group has an entertaining story to tell instead. This seems to change the mood and raise people’s spirits.

The world has gotten so serious. Often a short joke is what we need to relax the mood. Laughter is a great mood changer and a joke can bring it on.

My greatest challenge with jokes is that I can never remember them. Sometimes I get through the story part and forget the punch line. Then other times I can remember the punch line but I’ll be darned if I can remember the rest of the story.

What I really need is some method to organize a few of my favorite jokes to keep handy to relax a too heavy occasion. I think I will start making it a point to write down a few key phrases to keep in a safe place to remind me of the highlights of an especially good story. A small “Joke Journal” kept in my purse could come in very handy. Of course, I could always call my brother-in-law and ask him to repeat the high points of a particularly good joke. He might not appreciate my stealing his material. I’ve tried looking on the internet but I can never find the really good stories when I need them. Another trick might be to be sure to tell a favorite joke several times to cement it in my brain. That might work, or not.

Most of the time appropriateness is key in joke telling. Jokes in bad taste can be received very negatively. In today’s “Me Too” world we need to keep them clean.

But I must admit, a good off-color joke if told well and not too raunchy can also be really funny. Fortunately, there is plenty of material available to choose from.

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