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A Poor Joke

By Phillip Hines 

Country comedian Jerry Clower told this story of a lady he once knew in Amite County, Mississippi.  

She lived near a construction site, and workers were putting a tar roof on a building near her house.  

This lady had 16 children, and one day she lost one of them. She began hunting for him and discovered he had fallen into a 50-gallon drum of black roofing tar at the construction site.   

She reached down, hauled him up, looked at him, and shoved him back down in the drum of tar. She said, “Boy, it would be a lot easier to have another one than to clean you up!” 

A husband and wife were driving through Louisiana. As they approached Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town. They argued back and forth, so when they stopped for lunch the husband asked the waitress, “Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are, very slowly?”  

She leaned over the counter and said, “Burrr-gerrr Kiiing.” 

Most of us like good jokes and enjoy telling them – and there is nothing wrong with a “good” joke; a good sense of humor is especially important in life.   

The wise man said in Proverbs 17:22, A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Solomon would also say in Ecclesiastes 3:4, there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.   

However, Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:4 to speak neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”   

He also said in Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 

Years ago, I read a little article about telling jokes that I thought was excellent. It listed several circumstances in which a joke would be out of place. The author is unknown to me.   

It goes like this: 

“When someone blushes with embarrassment, 

When some heart carries away an ache, 

When something sacred is made to appear common, 

When somebody’s weakness provides the laughter, 

When profanity is required to make it funny, 

When a child is brought to tears, or 

When everyone cannot join in the laughter – 

Then … it is a poor joke!”