No laughing matter: why can’t I remember jokes

17 Sep
I heard a great gag last week, via Twitter, about a zoo. I had a chortle and thought very distinctly to myself, I need to remember this one, it’s flaming hilarious. I even tweeted the joke donor to thank her for sharing.

I have memorised it:

‘I went to the zoo the other day, it was bloody rubbish. There was only one dog there. It was a Shih Tzu’.

It is a point of unfeasible pride to me that I can write that down in a way that makes vaguely humorous sense (although I have a sinister feeling the actual joke, properly worded, is even funnier), because there is only one other joke filed in my mental lexicon, and that’s been there for about a decade, committed to memory as a direct result of someone saying, in wonderment, ‘you really don’t know any jokes at all, do you’. No, at that stage, I didn’t, so I got this one:

‘Horse walks into a bar and says to the barman, ‘pint of lager please’. Barman says ‘yes, of course, but why the long face?”

(Incidentally I find this joke so funny that I am snickering to myself as I write, and the gentleman next to me is probably Facebooking furiously about the loon he finds himself lumbered with on the 19.37).

So why can’t I remember jokes?  I have a reasonable sense of humour, I think.  It may be frequently tested by circumstance, but it always bounces back, grinning.  And I can remember other short, pithy things.  The really sinister bits from TS Eliot’s Wasteland, for instance.  All the words, pretty much, to When Will I Be Famous? by Bros.  The speech from my first ever school play, when I was four and played the Sun (honestly, I can).  But not jokes.

If someone has a reason, I would love to hear it.  Equally, now I’ve given away both the jokes in my hysterical lexicon, if someone has a new gag I could memorise, that too would be much appreciated.  Thank you.

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