Tag Archives: Humor

Business Meeting in Bed

Sandra and I will often end our day with a quick discussion of what’s on the docket for the next day. Last night was typical.


SANDRA: “After I get the kids off to school I need to ship some packages, and do layout work.”

ME: “Aren’t you driving to get Keliana?”

SANDRA: “That’s at 2:30. So… shipping, layout, lunch, and then I’m driving”

ME: “Okay. My day… I’ll start by staggering around the house mumbling about the migraine alarm. I’ll  shamble into and back out of the kitchen without taking my meds until my head clears and I DO take my meds.”

SANDRA: *rolls eyes silently in the dark*

ME: *can totally hear Sandra rolling her eyes silently in the dark.*

ME: “At some point I’ll fall toward the shower, and fall back out clean. Eventually I’ll end up wearing trousers in my office, and I guess I’ll draw stuff until I can’t draw any more stuff.”

SANDRA: “Cool. Let me know if you need help with the shambling part. We don’t want you spending too much time checking that one off the list.”


I’m happy to report that the shambling got done quickly, so I snuck a blog post in between shambling and the shower.

And Now, a FitBit Filk

Go ahead and sing it. You know the melody already.

When I wake up, well I know you’re gonna be
you’re gonna be the one who vibrates me awake
When I go out, yeah I know you’re gonna be
You’re gonna be the one who counts the steps I take.

If I get drunk, well I know you’re gonna be
you’re gonna be the one who logs my lifts of glass
When I’m hung over? Well I know you’re gonna count
You’re gonna count the hours I spend flat on my ass.

But I would walk 5000 steps
And I would walk 5000 more
Just to feel that buzz upon my wrist for my
ten thousand step reward

When I work out, yes I know we’ll have some fun
because you’ll be the one who’s workin’ out with me.
And when I’m hungry from the workin’ out I’ve done
I swear I’ll tell you every calorie I eat.

When I come home (When I come home) and I’m limpin’ like a fool
I’m gonna limp along with gusto ’cause of you.
But when I shower, well I only have one rule
I’m gonna take that long hot shower without you.

But I would walk 5000 steps
And I would walk 5000 more
Just to feel that buzz upon my wrist for my
ten thousand step reward

When I’m lonely, well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s lonely wearing you
And when I’m dreaming, well I know you’ll know I dream
because somehow you track my sleeping and that’s creepy.

When I go out (When I go out), well I know you’re gonna go
You’re gonna go just fine with what I choose to wear.
And when I come home (When I come home), yes I know I’m gonna wish
I’m gonna wish I’d walked instead of driving there.
I’m gonna wish I’d walked instead of driving there.

But I would walk 5000 steps
And I would walk 5000 more
Just to feel that buzz upon my wrist for my
ten thousand step reward

Apologies to the Proclaimers, and to my FitBit, who doesn’t get to go out nearly as often as he’d like.


This Is Not the One With an Elephant In It.

In my previous post I said that everything was done except the pictures. Well, this morning I finished the last of the illustrations for The Unofficial Anecdotal History of Challenge Coins. This one is definitely my favorite:

ChallengeCoin-ArmyMoney-LetteredEverything has been handed off to Sandra. An update will go out to Kickstarter supporters first, and then the PDF will go live, probably by Tuesday of next week.

Yes, we’re delivering this about eighteen months later than we wanted it to, but we ARE delivering it. We’re sorry to have kept everyone waiting, and we look forward to sharing the stories that people have shared with us.

(We will not be using those stories to buy beers.)

“What’s the difference between…?”

A group of us were talking, and a friend said “I heard a new joke!” Then he turned to me and said “Howard’s probably heard it already, but here goes…”

Q: What’s the difference between boogers and broccoli?

A: Kids won’t eat broccoli.

We all laughed (we includes me) and then in mock astonishment my friend said “you hadn’t heard that one?”

“Not that one” I replied, “but I’ve heard lots of jokes like it. By the time you’d finished the question I had three punchlines. You used the straight one. It’s a good one though. I laughed.”

At this point everybody was eyebrows-up. Was I really claiming to have three punchlines to a joke I’d just heard? Well, yes. The “what’s the difference between X and Y?” joke is a formula with lots of formulaic punchlines. Of course, it helped that broccoli is a food. In that context I immediately knew the stock punchline had to do with eating.

I went on: “I would have gone the self-deprecatory route, and said ‘I still won’t eat broccoli.”

They laughed, and there was some groaning. Formulaically, that punchline encapsulates the ‘kids eat boogers but not vegetables’ thought, and additionally identifies me as a kid in the worst possible way.

But I wasn’t done: “And then there’s one of the earliest change-ups on the joke: ‘that explains the broccoli salad you made.'”

More groaning, but still lots of laughter. Also, I could tell that this group of people was now nervous about telling me jokes. Hey, it’s okay to tell me a joke. Just don’t call attention to the fact that I may have heard it, because that’s a setup for more jokes and a soapbox.

I later shared this experience with my 12-year-old son, and we realized that there was a self-deprecatory version of that third punchline, giving us a fourth:

A: Oh, good. You’ll like this broccoli salad just fine.

For me, THAT one is the home run. Self-deprecatory AND I’m making YOU eat the boogers. Win/win!

The operating principle here, for me anyway, is that lots of setups can deliver more than one punchline, and often a good punchline can be made into a great one, or fine-tuned for the audience, with a little exploration. Using the same basic setup, I tried this on one of my old favorites, which goes like this:

Q: What’s the difference between a clarinet and an onion?

A: Nobody cries when you chop up a clarinet.

I quickly arrived at one where the joke is on the listener (the classic change-up on the formula):

A: This explains why you’ve had such trouble learning to play the clarinet.

Now that it was personal, it was time to return to the onion:

A: I didn’t cry when I chopped up your clarinet.

I’ve talked before about how the first punchline that comes to mind is low-hanging fruit. If you want to learn how to reach further up into the tree, take some old “Dad” jokes like these and see what other punchlines their setups can lead to.

And don’t be afraid to play with the setup, too. I love this gem:

Q: What’s the difference between an accordion and a trampoline?

A: Take off your shoes before jumping on the trampoline.

As I mused upon other punchlines, my son said “is an accordion sort of like a bagpipe?” Ah, my young genius…

Q: What’s the difference between an accordion and a bagpipe?

A: Which side of the road you’re on when you hit the player with your car.

(*Note: For the record, I enjoy well-played accordions, bagpipes, and clarinets, and not only can I tell the difference between broccoli and boogers, I can tell the difference between broccoli and cauliflower, and I’ll eat both of them.)