Where’s The Punch Line?


Two newlyweds are in their honeymoon suite on their wedding night. They are about to go to bed together for the first time when the bride says “Honey, this is a big event in our lives. After such a long, exhausting day today I think we should wait until tomorrow to sleep together, when we will both have more energy.” The groom looks at his bride and says “Honey, of course we should wait until tomorrow. I love you very much and would not dream of doing anything you didn’t want to do.”

Where’s The Punch Line?

The groom does not actually love her. He would have rather married his old girlfriend, who he did actually love, but they broke up before he realized that she was the best he was going to get.

A group of nuns are reporting to St. Peter at the gates of Heaven. One by one St. Peter asks them their name, checks them off his list, and then opens the gates to let them in. This process goes smoothly until the last nun, Sister Melanie, the pitchfork-wielding nun with horns, a tail, and a goatee, approaches the gates. When Sister Melanie tells St. Peter her name he slowly looks her up and down and then says that he’s sorry but he can’t admit her to Heaven. He asks her to report to Hell immediately.

Where’s The Punch Line?

In an ironic twist of fate, Sister Melanie has been damned to an eternity of Hell just because of her devil-like features and her love of pitchforks, despite devoting her entire life to the Church.

Before filing for divorce a woman goes to see her lawyer to get the paperwork done. The lawyer asks her a few questions, prepares the paperwork, and then hands them to her along with an invoice for his services. The woman looks at the paperwork for a minute and then yells “You filled these out all wrong!”

Where’s The Punch Line?

The lawyer is the woman’s husband. He doesn’t want a divorce.

Two men become stranded on a desert island after their ship develops a leak. They eat all the coconuts and fruit on the island but eventually run out of food. The first man says that they should flip a coin to decide who lives. He suggests that whoever loses the coin toss should drown himself and provide his body for food to the other man. This will allow the winner to live longer and give that person a better chance to survive. The second man agrees that this is a good idea and they shake their hands to confirm the agreement.

Where’s The Punch Line?

The men only have twenty-dollar bills with them.

Three guys are sitting in a bar when a gorgeous blonde wearing a short red dress walks through the door. All of the guys immediately start arguing about whether they should approach her, and who should be the one who gets to talk with her at the bar. They begin debating over who saw her first and then hold an arm-wrestling competition to decide who should be the lucky one that gets to talk to her.

Where’s The Punch Line?

None of these men actually have a chance with this woman!

A man walks into a bar and orders a gin and tonic. “What would you like?” asks the bartender. The man repeats that he would like a gin and tonic, and then sits back to wait for the drink. The bartender just stares at him for a minute while the man fidgets nervously. Then the bartender puts his towel on the bar and leans up close to the man and says, “Listen partner, are you going to order something or just sit there all day?” Finally, realizing that the bartender is probably deaf, the man writes his order down on a piece of paper, at which point the bartender offers a big smile and gets the drink ready.

Where’s The Punch Line?

The bartender wasn’t deaf. He was just screwing around.


Letters To Superman


Dear Superman,

At last week’s Municipal Leaders Convention I was seated at a table with Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City. By ten o’clock he was fairly drunk and was rubbing that Bat Signal creation of his in everyone’s face, going on and on about the citizens of Gotham this, how safe they feel that. He seemed to think it was a pretty big deal, being able to get Batman’s attention any time he wants, just by shining his giant symbol into the sky.

Superman, I know you’re usually on top of everything in the city, but would you mind if we created our own “Superb-Signal” for Metropolis? It could make our residents feel safer. More importantly, I think it could help me edge out McLaren in next month’s big race. I just know he’s going to play the affordable housing card to the low-income voters. I need something like a giant glowing sky-signal to win them back.

I was even thinking about a few designs for it. It could be these big green letters that spell out “Come Over Here Superman,” or maybe just a giant red eyeball that could sort of watch over the city until you arrived? Of course, the eyeball would have to be friendly looking to citizens, yet cast fear into the hearts of villains, which admittedly is a little difficult. We could always go with a big blimp that kind of flies through the sky with crazy lightning bolts flashing out of it. Maybe we could even play the opening riff of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” over and over while the signal is displayed? I’d love to see the look on Gordon’s face when we unveil a symbol that has its own soundtrack.

My point is that the possibilities are endless. Let’s meet in my office later this week to discuss.


Don Pollack

Mayor, Metropolis


My Dearest Superman,

How fitting it is that this letter is the last thing you’ll ever read as hero of this city. It was 20 years ago today that I sent you a simple request for your assistance on a new turbo-charged gamma-ray accelerator I was building at the time. You told me you were busy, that you were saving lives, and that you didn’t have time to help me with my invention so long as the aforementioned lives were in need of saving. You turned me down, Superman, oh yes, and I never forgave you. But now, after many years, sweet vengeance has finally come. I would laugh at this point, as the thought so amuses me. Alas, the written word conveys this poorly, so I’ll soldier on.

As you read this letter with your super-vision through the envelope, fourteen Kryptonite-tipped rocket missiles are headed towards your precious Fortress of Solitude. Also, an army of bloodhounds (trained in my secret underground kennel) are trolling Metropolis’ libraries and archives, eating all evidence of your existence in the papers. Soon Superman, oh so very soon, all that’s left of your recorded identity will be turned to ash — or a foaming, bite-sized ball of dog saliva and paper pulp. I assure you, were we meeting in person, I would be laughing immensely hard and hearty as I say this, so amused am I at your predicament. Again, though, the written word. Moving on.

With my stranglehold on the media, and your peaceful refuge in ruins, your reputation and notoriety is doomed to fade away. I do hope, however, that these latest actions don’t hurt the on-the-side social relationship we’ve developed over the last few years. What of your dog, Mr. Paws, by the way? What an adorable rascal. Were you able to sort out that confusion with the vet about his shots? I hope he has stopped gnawing on his crotch and can have that visor of his removed soon.

As you might have guessed, everything else in the Luther household is busy busy busy as always! Young Casey Luther is leading the Metropolis “A” hockey team in assists this year, no doubt due to the boy’s growing skill at methodically eliminating his competition with elaborate schemes. A great many small jerseyed bodies will not be found for years to come, I assure you. Nevertheless, my boy shall receive that assists award, even if I have to step in and scramble a few brains myself with my new Type C Neuron Defibrillator. At any rate, it looks like Casey is starting to take after his old man after all. I have resolved to kill him last, as you no doubt surmised.

Not much else is new here. I’m still trying to shape the backyard hedge into a duck. Sheila’s recruitment drive for the Metropolis Volunteer Network is going well. She already has more than 40 people interested in helping out with her summer theater production of “Oh! Calcutta!” Remember to let Sheila or I know if you’re interested in helping out. We won’t have need of your heat-vision, however. Suffice it to say, the production is sizzling enough without it! Oh, but I joke.

Hope everything else is well with you. Please don’t be a stranger; and if you have the time, please don’t hesitate to die horribly also.


Lex Luthor


Dear Superman,

Thank you!!! Thank you so much for saving my son last Sunday!!! Were it not for you, our little Ethan would have fallen hundreds of feet to his death off the edge of Skyline Bridge. As you remember, our little boy climbed out of his stroller, climbed over the guard rail, and then fell off the side of the bridge. I don’t know how you did it, Superman, but you flew right under him, caught him gently, and then brought him back to us with a smile. We will never forget what you did for us and will count each day with Ethan as a special blessing for the rest of our lives!!!

Bringing me to the point. Since you were so brave and kind to my family last Sunday, I was hoping I could ask for your help with a few other things. I figured that even Superman wouldn’t be SO BUSY that he couldn’t lend another hand, right? Heck, you were probably just watching soap operas when this letter arrived, right? (Don’t worry, you can tell me. I watch the occasional “Bold and the Beautiful” myself! Antonio is such a rogue!)

But I’m getting sidetracked. Long before last weekend’s near tragedy, it seemed to me that Reggie was trying to hide something. Before we were married he suffered from a long bout of alcoholism. Now, he’s been dry for the last seven years. I’m not sure if alcoholism qualifies in your little book of “things to save,” but do you think Reggie is starting to drink again? Could you see if he really is working late on a big project? I suspect he might just be going out drinking with the boys. The lying, lying bastard. Just fire me an email when you know for sure!!!

One more quickie for you: My mother has lung cancer. It’s been hard on me and I was wondering if you could at least look into some sort of “super-treatment” type thingamajig for her. Someone told me that on your planet you could heal things just by touching them, yes? If that’s true we would REALLY appreciate that. Consider the healing fair square for your years of sitting by while Nana smoked herself silly on three packs a day!!! We forgive you!!! (Even though, technically, it could be considered murder. Think about that.)

Anyway, thanks again!!!

Theresa Chapman

P.S. Oh, can you baby-sit for us next Thursday? You and Ethan already know each other, after all, and Reggie got me tickets to the Elton John concert for my birthday!!! Plus, I’m sure you can’t be THAT busy. Do you even have a job? No offense!!!


Clarifying My Relationship


Last year I married a very nice lady, developed a relationship with her 22-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, divorced the very nice lady because of philosophical differences, had a child with her 22-year-old daughter, and then was at a loss for words, for I was caught in a mysterious web of undefined relationship titles.

My new child, a daughter, was certainly my daughter, I don’t deny that, but wasn’t she also my grand-step-daughter, since she was the daughter of my step-daughter? Or did the step-daughter rule not apply since I had already divorced the very nice lady who was the mother of the step-daughter, thereby nullifying all relationship titles associated with that key central relationship? And what was I supposed to call the mother of my new daughter, the 22-year-old, whom I had not married nor even dated? She wasn’t my wife or girlfriend, but calling her my step-daughter from a previous marriage seemed a bit, I don’t know, square.

To get myself out of this embarrassing headache I married the 22-year-old daughter, who was the mother of my new zero-year-old daughter, formerly called my grand-step-daughter. I say formerly because when a man and a woman get married and produce a baby girl, the baby girl is called the daughter, case closed, right? All previous relationships involved in producing the baby girl go out the door, right? For clarity, that’s what I’m assuming. Also, the 22-year-old daughter of my ex-wife, my step-daughter, was now also my wife, which I decided must supercede all other relationship titles.

I rested easy for a few minutes after the wedding, kicking off my dress shoes in the back of a Lincoln as we rode to the airport, thinking I had finally sorted out these relationship titles. My “wife” and I had a new baby “daughter,” I thought, smiling slowly at the image of this perfectly nuclear family I had helped create. We would grow up together in a quiet cul-de-sac, with other families such as ours living next door, shooting free throws on our driveway in the afternoon, watching office-based sitcoms in the evening, and erasing our Internet cache at night. It would be so perfect.

Then it struck me: Since the title of wife supercedes all other titles, what about my ex-wife, the very nice lady? Sure, we divorced because of philosophical differences, but the fact remains that she was my wife, and it was through her that I met my new wife, her 22-year-old daughter. If the divorce nullifies all relationship titles associated with the key central relationship, in this case my marriage to the very nice lady, then my relationship with the very nice lady’s 22-year-old daughter, my step-daughter, would have also been nullified. She was just a 22-year-old woman then, and not anything else. I began thinking that I had got married for nothing.

Then I remembered having this same thought well before getting married to the 22-year-old daughter. Look back a few paragraphs if you don’t believe me, for this thought is well documented. It seems I may have acted too hastily, though, because here I am now, with a gold band around my finger, telling the whole world I got married because I had to when I didn’t necessarily have to. I mean, why didn’t I just slow down a bit, think it through, and realize that the key central relationship here, the marriage, affects everything only when the marriage is intact. This makes sense, right? What I’m saying is clear and logical, right, and I’m just a few paces ahead of the crowd on this whole matter, aren’t I? This doesn’t all loop around backwards and end up in nonsensical circle of rhetoric, does it?

Because if so, if I married my 22-year-old non-wife and non-girlfriend just so she would become my wife so that I could mentally supercede the only other title she had in my mind, as a step-daughter from a previous marriage, then that would seem a bit, I don’t know, square.

Then again, wouldn’t you be caught in a nonsensical circle of rhetoric too if your ex-wife was now your mother-in-law?


Neil On Neal
The Almost Completely Unknown Neil Pasricha Interviews Neal Pollack, The Greatest Living American Writer


According to the blurb on his book, The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, “Neal Pollack has been the Greatest Living American Writer across six decades, seven continents and ten wives. He has won the Pulitzer prize, the Booker Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award (twice), and the Premio Simon Bolivar for contributions to the people’s struggle in Latin America. In 1985, Pollack’s writing was declared ‘beyond our meager standards’ by the Swedish Academy.”

This statement is so obviously true, and so great, one cannot help but suspect Pollack wrote it himself. And why not? Who else is fit to praise him? Not us. We content ourselves with trying to divine what goes on in the head of one so gifted and so heartrendingly honest that the world truly is not worthy of him. Incidentally, if you want to know more about the “Wally” referred to in this interview, you will have no choice but to purchase the aforementioned book. After you have satisfied your morbid curiosity, of course, you are free to toss the book in the fire. In fact, that would be far the best thing you could do after contaminating it with your unspeakably grubby hands. Then go out and buy another copy, and this time, be more careful not to besmirch it with your foul touch.

The Big Jewel: What lessons did you learn from Cambridge? What did Wally teach you about yourself?

Neal Pollack: The years in Cambridge were spent, naturally, in a stupor. I learned particularly that gin does not mix well with cognac, and that opium does not mix well with Scotch. To tie in with the second question, I also learned that I am not capable of true love between men, unless that man is Wally Trumbull. Indeed, the blissful, stolen hours I spent in Wally’s arms, out there behind the rugby equipment shed, were the only hours I count as truly spent in my life. There I learned how to be a man, and how to make a fistful of hair my own.

TBJ: Have you ever saved anyone’s life?

NP: If only I could have saved Wally’s that fateful day in the Phillipines, or JFK’s that day in Dallas, or, let’s face it, James Dean’s on that fateful highway or Kurt Cobain that dark afternoon in Seattle. Why do all the beautiful men have to die, with the possible exception of Paul Newman, who is pretty sturdy? Why? Why?

TBJ: What advice do you have for young people from broken families with little ambition?

NP: Well, I say, one of your own became President of the United States, so there is hope.

TBJ: What do most celebrities look like naked?

NP: Having actually seen most celebrities naked, I can tell you that they’re pretty hot, with the exception of Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is, surprisingly, a hog. Most male celebrities are ripped beyond belief, especially Shemar Moore from The Young and the Restless. Mmm, girl. He is fine. Also, it is hard to imagine how spectacular Christina Ricci is in the sack until you’ve sacked out with Christina Ricci. On a ski lift. At Sundance.

TBJ: Can you tell us a humorous anecdote about someone you publicly humiliated?

NP: Oh, ho. Can I ever!

TBJ: How can somebody learn to be like you?

NP: It is not something that can be learned. Some things in the world are simply innate, like the speed of Ali’s left jab, the grind of Lili St. Cyr’s hips, the charm of William Jefferson Clinton. So, too, is my writing ability. It is a gift from god. A bequeath from the immortal universe. All mortals can do is bask in its glow and root for me to win awards.

TBJ: Are there any questions you get sick of answering?

NP: Yes.

TBJ: What are your thoughts on morons?

NP: They are all pretty much down on paper in my novel “The Moron,” which narrowly lost the Pulitzer to “Humboldt’s Gift” in 1976.

TBJ: Word Association time, Neal. What’s the first word you think of when you hear the following? Love.

NP: Wally.

TBJ: Life.

NP: Wally.

TBJ: Semen

NP: Wally.

TBJ: Hippo.

NP: Catherine Zeta-Jones.

TBJ: The Big Jewel.

NP: Hilarity.

TBJ: Other Web sites.

NP: Excrement.

TBJ: Harry Potter.

NP: Little girly wizard-boy.

TBJ: Eggos.

NP: Hot, sticky syrup.

TBJ: Bathing Suit.

NP: Wally.

TBJ: Model.

NP: Citizen.

TBJ: Can you compare yourself to a specific literary figure, rock band, and film?

NP: Yes, I can. The literary figure I most closely resemble doesn’t exist, but is a cross between Shakespeare, Dickens, Joyce, and Alice Walker. The rock band I most resemble is Outkast. As for film, nothing better captures my experience on this earth better than Apocalypse Now. Or maybe St. Elmo’s Fire.

The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature is available in a newly expanded Perennial paperback edition at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and fine bookstores everywhere, as well as the kinds of sleazy bookstores where you probably shop. The original hardcover edition, which has fewer things in it but will be a much more reliable way to prop up that wobbly kitchen table leg, can still be ordered online from McSweeney’s Books at http://store.yahoo.com/mcsweeneysbooks/nealpolanofa.html. For ostensibly nude pictures of Neal Pollack and other sights too glorious for human eyes, visit http://www.nealpollack.com.


Your Call Is Important To Us


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We appreciate your patience. We have noticed that you are quite a patient person, as you have not hung up the phone, despite the wait you have endured thus far. Perhaps you are of the mind that you have invested so much time in this call that you may as well keep waiting, because you’ll just have to wait again the next time you call anyway. Simple economics, however, shows that this reasoning is flawed. All the time that has passed while you have been waiting is a sunk cost, and you should make a rational decision now about holding based only on the amount of future time necessary to invest and what you could be doing otherwise. It’s the same as if you bought a hockey ticket for a hundred dollars and were then invited to a party for the same night. When deciding whether you should go to the party or the hockey game, you should not consider the money already spent. The hundred dollars is gone regardless of the decision you make. So, since you had no idea how long this call would take when you first called, and you still have no idea how long this call will take, it is unreasonable to want to keep waiting merely because you have already been waiting so long. Thank you for calling Middle Trust and Loan.


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Your Life


* After years of working in your basement lab you finally invent a perpetual motion machine, only to realize that one of the parts you were using to make the machine is a perpetual motion machine itself.

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally invent a time machine, only to realize that the time machine only has one setting and that setting is “Present Time.”

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally invent a money-making machine, only to realize that the money-making machine needs a time machine with a “Future” setting on it to run properly.

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally invent a money-making machine that runs off of a time machine with only a “Present Time” setting, only to realize that you gave away your time machine with only a “Present Time” setting to your only son for his Show and Tell project, on the day he was kidnapped by thugs demanding a ransom of a perpetual motion machine that doesn’t use another perpetual motion machine as a part.

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally invent a perpetual motion machine that doesn’t use another perpetual motion machine as a part so you can pay the ransom, only to realize that you could have used the perpetual motion machine you were using as a part for the ransom all along.

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally go upstairs to check the mail, where you read an updated ransom note that says the kidnappers who took your son are sick of waiting for your perpetual motion machine that doesn’t use another perpetual motion machine as a part and have changed their ransom to 1 million dollars.

* After years of working in your basement lab you finally use your perpetual motion machine that doesn’t use another perpetual motion machine as a part to help create a time machine with a “Future” setting to help create a money-making machine which you use to print out 1 million dollars, only to realize that your son wasn’t kidnapped at all, but instead merely lost your time machine with a “Present Time” setting at school and was so embarrassed that he faked his own kidnapping.

* After years of working in your basement lab only to realize that your many inventions haven’t garnered you the fame and fortune you were hoping for and, instead, have caused you to completely lose touch with your only son during his formative years of adolescence, you close off your basement and start a fresh life with your son, vowing to never again retreat to the basement for years at a time.

* After years of living an enriching life with your only son you slowly wallow into old age and near-bankruptcy, only to realize that you could have garnered the fame and fortune you were hoping for simply by properly marketing your perpetual motion machine you were using as a part in your first perpetual motion machine in the first place.