Jan. 20: Giving you back some time today; Comedy is a funny way of being serious

This morning I find myself in Denver. Normally Saturday commentaries are focused on letters from readers, in-depth looks at topics like reverse mortgages or pipeline hedging or the economy, or Saturday Spotlights featuring the charity work of companies in our industry, or vendor news. But it’s pretty quiet out there for many, some would say eerily quiet. I thought, maybe I’ll write about interest rates, or hackers attempting to dupe individuals and companies, or the NAR verdict, or the CFPB, or the lack of inventory, or all the rumors about mergers and acquisitions that will eventually probably come to pass, or more staff reductions. I could write about industry friends looking for work, leaving the biz, or retiring. Or untimely deaths ranging from the Golden State Warriors coach who died during a team dinner to our industry’s Dave Stevens. (Dave’s Life Celebration will be held Friday, February 2nd from 2-5:30 at Capitol One Hall, Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.) But I found myself a little unmotivated, and contemplating how time is short.

Instead, I thought, I’ll just send out some morsels from my stash of jokes through the years. Many have been in the Commentary. Some are racier than others; no complaints please. If you’re easily offended, don’t read them. And take the rest of Saturday off.


The crusty Navy Master Chief noticed a new seaman and barked at him, “Get over here! What’s your name sailor?”

“John,” the new seaman replied.

“Look, I don’t know what kind of bleeding-heart pansy crap they’re teaching sailors in boot camp these days, but I don’t call anyone by his first name,” the chief scowled. “It breeds familiarity, and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my sailors by their last names only: Smith, Jones, Baker, whatever. And you are to refer to me as ‘Chief.’ Do I make myself clear?”

“Aye, Aye, Chief!”

“Now that we’ve got that straight, what’s your last name?”

The seaman sighed. “Darling, my name is John Darling, Chief.”

“Okay, John, here’s what I want you to do…”

A young coed, very pretty and very sexy, wore an extra tight blouse and shirt which magnified her abundant charms.

She wriggled up to her professor after class and cooed “Professor, I’d do anything to pass your exam with high marks.”

The professor smiled at her and asked, “Anything?”

She replied, “Anything at all…”

“Okay,” the professor said. “Study.”

Several years ago, a US Navy cruiser anchored in Mississippi for a week’s shore leave.
The first evening, the ship’s Captain received the following note from the wife of a wealthy plantation owner:
“Dear Captain, Thursday will be my daughter Melinda’s Debutante Ball. I would like you to send four well-mannered, handsome, unmarried officers in their formal dress uniforms to attend the dance. They should arrive promptly at 8:00 PM prepared for an evening of polite Southern conversation. They should be excellent dancers, as they will be the escorts of lovely refined young ladies. One last point: No Jews Please.”
At precisely 8:00 PM on Thursday, Melinda’s mother heard a polite rap at the door which she opened to find, in full dress uniform, four handsome, smiling Black officers. Her mouth fell open, but pulling herself together, she stammered, “There must be some mistake.”
“No, Madam,” said the first officer. “Captain Goldberg never makes mistakes.”

Here is an interesting “fact” on manure.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas, of course. (Just ask the person in the next cubicle.)

As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen: methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOM!
Several ships were destroyed in this manner before someone figured out just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the instruction, “Stow high in transit” on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane. Thus evolved the term, made from the initials of “Stow High In Transit” which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.
You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I – I always thought it was an underwriting term.   

An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back, fixed up nicely: picnic tables, horseshoe courts, a volleyball court, and some apple and peach trees. The pond was properly shaped and fixed up for swimming.
One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond and look it over, as he hadn’t been there in a while. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing. As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.
One of the women shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave!”
The old man frowned, “I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked.”
Holding the bucket up he said, “I’m here to feed the alligator.”
Old men can still think fast.

The buzz word in today’s business world is MARKETING.
People often ask for a simple explanation of “Marketing,” so here it is.

You’re a woman and you see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, “I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s Direct Marketing.
You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says, “She’s fantastic in bed.” That’s Advertising.
You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, “Hi, I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s Telemarketing.
You see a guy at a party; you straighten your dress, walk up to him, and pour him a drink. You say, “May I?” and reach up to straighten his tie, brushing gently against him and then say, “By the way, I’m fantastic in bed.” That’s Public Relations.
You’re at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, “I hear you’re fantastic in bed.” That’s Brand Recognition.
You’re at a party and see a handsome guy. He fancies you, but you talk him into going home with your friend. That’s a Sales Rep.
Your friend can’t satisfy him, so he calls you. That’s Tech Support.
You’re on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you’re passing. So, you climb onto the roof of one and shout at the top of your lungs, “I’m fantastic in bed!” That’s Junk Mail.

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers.
One evening, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the 95th birthday gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who moved to Florida.
The first said, “You know I had a big house built for Mama.”
The second said, “And I had a large theatre built in the house.”
The third said, “And I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.”
The fourth said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot who could recite the entire Bible. It took ten preachers almost 8 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $50,000 a year for five years to the church, but it was worth it Mama only has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it.”
The other brothers were impressed. After the celebration Mama sent out her “Thank You” notes.
She wrote, “Milton, the house you built is so huge that I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.”
“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home; I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks.”
“Michael, you gave me an expensive theatre with Dolby sound, and it can hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I’ve lost my hearing, and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.”
“Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious Thank you so much.”
Love, Mama

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Rob Chrisman