My Grandkids: Crawling
Capitalist Crapola Redux: Playing the Game

Irritating My Wife

There are certain traits and habits I have carried with me my entire life. I have, since childhood, been easily amused, often by my own “wit” and wordplay. I am also easily amused by others, leading to my wife’s maxim, “You’re easy to amuse.” This goes with being an incurable optimist, I suspect.

Another major aspect of my character is my love of repetition. Maybe it was caused by a too-early exposure to the most consistent meme of early to mid 20th century broadcast humor (and also, in the opinion of professional comedy writers, the cheapest laugh there is): the catchphrase.

I have so many, and repeat them so frequently, that my daughters once suggested I number them, so we could all save time. Instead of saying, “Last time I used that, I put it away,” I would just say “Number 29.” That’s a phrase I learned from my mother; later in life she decided it was too sarcastic, and asked me to stop using it with my daughters and never use it with my grandchildren.

Now to the irritating my wife part. I tend to speak the same catchphrase every time I hear the same triggering phrase. There are a half-dozen of these. So, when Vicki says something she knows is a trigger, she just says: “Don’t say it.”

I was put in mind of this by one of my favorites, which I have been asked to give up entirely, “Don’t inhale as if you are about to say it. Don’t get  that look on your face like you’re thinking of saying it.”

What is “it?” Her: “I’m going to change,” meaning her clothes. “No, No, Don’t change. I like you just the way you are.” It never gets old… for me. After 43 years and several thousand repetitions, it apparently gets old for her.


Robert E. Malchman

Reminds me of the story of the guy from Harvard who visits his friend at MIT, who takes him to the MIT Humor Club. The meeting starts, and one guy gets up and says, "46," and the whole room cracks up. Another gets up and say, "22," and again, the whole room convulses with laughter.

"What's going on," asks the Harvie, who is confused (as Harvies are wont to be). "They're just saying numbers."

"Oh," says his friend. "For efficiency, we've assigned a number to each joke so we don't have to spend the whole time saying it. We can just give the number."

"Can I try?" asks the Harvie.

"Sure," says his friend.

So the Harvie gets up and says, "39." Dead silence. "What happened?" he whispers to his friend. "Why isn't anyone laughing?"

The friend says, "You told it wrong."

Paul Schindler

I have never heard that story. It is hysterical. My second favorite Harvard story (after can't read or can't count) is a variation on an old Harvard-Yale Joke:
A Harvard man and an MIT man are standing at urinals. As they leave, the Harvard man washes his hands, while the MIT man simply leaves.
"At Harvard, we are taught to wash our hands after urinating."
"At MIT, we're taught not to pee on our hands."

Robert E. Malchman.

Yep, I know both of those jokes and love 'em.

It says a lot that you always hear from the Harvies, "I got into Harvard; I got into Harvard; I got into Harvard. But it's, "I graduated from MIT."

Paul Schindler

They probably don't think of it as a joke, but when one of them says to me, "I went to school in Cambridge," I always say, "Oh, MIT?" Alas, there's nothing as snappy for "I went to school in New Haven."

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