When In Doubt, Speculate

A man walked into a philosophy club meeting.  “Why am I here?” he asked, awkwardly forgetting himself and the reason he had stepped through the door. This question, of course, was meant to be purely rhetorical, but such a distinction was understandably lost on a roomful of metaphysicians. “Are you here?” the Solipsist replied unhelpfully. “You must be seeking apatheia*,” the Stoic suggested instead, mistaking the man for someone who might recognize (or even appreciate) obscure Hellenistic jargon from the 3rd century BC. “No,” the Fatalist argued, “you’re here, because you couldn’t be anywhere else… unless you’re lost, that is, in which case you were destined to be lost… in which case…” Meanwhile, René Descartes, inexplicably back from the grave, added nothing to the ongoing conversation and simply stared out the window, blankly, humming the tune to “I’m a Little Teapot.” “Actually,” the Pragmatist in the corner interjected, “you probably just saw the flyer for our free ribs buffet.” The man’s eyes lit up. “Now I remember!” he exclaimed happily. “Would you mind handing me one of those plates and a packet of wet wipes?”

*Apatheia, in Greek, means “without pathos.” Pathos, in Greek, means “emotion” or “experience” or “suffering.” Emotion and experience and suffering aren’t really synonyms… so Greek is sort of confusing.

© 2014 Tony Vicory.

The Runaround?

A man walked into a hurdle… again and again. If he had jumped over it instead, like his Track & Field coach had instructed, this never would have happened. (The coach had also instructed him to sprint, but, alas, the man could barely wander without assistance.) “We should have seen this coming,” a teammate muttered, suddenly remembering that they had, a thousand times before in practice. “I just don’t understand,” another one added. “He came so highly recommended by our opponents.” “Look on the bright side,” the coach said, sighing wistfully as he watched the man begin to ride the hurdle like a toy pony. “At least he’s not competing in the javelin throw anymore…”

© 2014 Tony Vicory.

Routed

A man walked into oncoming traffic. Suffice it to say, his Global Positioning System had failed him in two distinct yet equally important ways: firstly, by providing dangerously inaccurate directions and secondly, by neglecting to remind him that controlled-access highways should only be navigated within the safety of a well-maintained and legally registered automobile. Unsurprisingly, the man had barely entered the turnpike when he was immediately (and irreversibly) flattened like a pancake: a pancake which, for proverbial purposes, had also been run over by a 1998 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Laredo. Afterwards, following the compulsory police investigation, the local coroner declared the man’s death as “exactly what you would expect if a human being stepped face-first into a mid-size SUV on the interstate.” He also suggested that the accident might have been avoided if the man had spent more time playing FroggerTM as a child. With the case swiftly closed, neither the driver nor the GPS were charged with any wrongdoing. However, months later, the GPS was arrested, after it was revealed that the device had been secretly cavorting with the dead man’s wife, who had recently received a sizeable payout, for nearly a decade. Of course, the GPS initially denied the relationship, but upon the discovery of several incriminating photographs, most of which had been taken at nearby insurance agencies, it coolly replied, “Recalculating…”

© 2014 Tony Vicory.

Once Upon a Time…

A man walked into a unicorn. He was impaled. Luckily for him, unicorn horns are made of laughter and sunshine, so it didn’t hurt. Basically, it was like being stabbed with the beam of a flashlight. Unluckily for him, however, he had stumbled into the creature while it was trying to relieve itself, discreetly, behind a pomegranate tree, so in a fit of embarrassed rage, the unicorn clubbed him to death like a baby seal. It was a sight both grisly and fantastical, made all the more astonishing by the unicorn’s distinct lack of opposable thumbs and/or hands. This fact was later used as a signature argument in the much-publicized murder trial, in which the defendant’s attorney famously said, “If you want the proof, just check the hoof.” The attorney then squandered any goodwill he might have attained by adding, “Indeed, this hoof does tell the troof.” (Neither the jury nor the judge seemed to appreciate the forced off-rhyme.) Nevertheless, despite an earnest yet lyrically-flawed defense, the unicorn was eventually acquitted of all charges, thanks in no small part to the vagaries of imaginary law, and released back into the wild. Many years later, when asked to comment about the incident, the unicorn simply replied, “Neigh,” and trotted off. The victim’s family, too, had been equally tight-lipped, mostly because they had no idea what the hell anyone was talking about.

© 2014 Tony Vicory.

Organ Trail

A man walked into a bar — which was a miracle, really, because he had no legs. He’d lost them in the war, to a card sharp named Louie, whose Full House beat a Straight. “Best two out of three?” the man asked, hoping to recoup his missing limbs. “No, thanks,” Louie replied, “I wouldn’t know what to do with a third leg.” Back at the bar, the man stopped having flashbacks and ordered a gin and tonic; he received a screwdriver instead, because the mixologist was new and was wearing a tool belt. Also, the man had no tongue — he’d lost it in the sofa cushions while looking for his nipples — so enunciation wasn’t his strong suit. (Coincidentally, neither was a Straight. *See previous joke.) The man would have swallowed the screwdriver anyway — without taste buds, he could never tell the difference between alcoholic beverages and simple machinery — but unfortunately he had left his throat on the nightstand, along with his fingers, one kidney and a copy of Doctor Zhivago, which he hadn’t finished reading, because his eyes were still on vacation in Morocco. “Care for another?” the mixologist asked absentmindedly. “No, thank you,” the man gurgled, shaking the head he didn’t have.  “It’s just as well,” the mixologist said, “I’ve only got a pipe wrench left.” The man slumped the shoulders he would have had, if not for the sweepstakes scam, and re-positioned the ass he couldn’t sit on. “I don’t usually drink this early in the morning,” he confessed, “but my life is falling apart, you see, what with my lungs getting divorced and all.” “That’s heartbreaking,” the mixologist replied, apropos of nothing, as she couldn’t hear him. Moments later, for storytelling purposes, the man’s heart did break; in fact, it shattered into a million pieces. (Inexplicably, his brain, pelvis and what was left of his skeletal system, i.e. a femur, shattered, too; however, they didn’t carry any poetic resonance and were therefore disregarded, once again for storytelling purposes.) “Clean up on Aisle 7!” the mixologist announced, dripping with self-awareness and cardiac residue. Grabbing a mop, she couldn’t help but think, This hardware store has the weirdest cocktail hours…

© 2014 Tony Vicory.