It’s a cheerful day out there: clear, sunny with the temp in the high 60s — they’re predicting 80 for Easter Sunday! Added to all that high on a feeling stuff I noticed that the first of my (hundreds of) daffodils have bloomed. Even Eeyore would need to get a speeding ticket to be a big grump on a day like this.
But lots of days aren’t like this. I hit my spiritual nadir at the end of February, and for reasons personal and financial it was a nasty winter. At times like that, when the Black Dog is lying on your chest you might have to pony up for some cheer — and it’s worth every cent.
I keep meaning to build a library of DVDs guaranteed to crack me up: the truly tasteless juvenile flix like Zoolander. On a down day it’s easier to pluck out and play from a pile than to update a Netflix Queue.
I do own a couple of joke books, and I consider them as necessary to a family bookcase as a King James Bible, “The Joy of Cooking” and the complete works of Carl Hiassen. An Ole and Lena joke from the Prairie Home Companion”Pretty Good Joke Book” never fails. Lou spends many hours a week in bookstores and this winter he devoted much of his browsing to joke books. He’d come home with a crib sheet written on the backs of the perfume smellies he’d picked up at Macy’s and regale me with the jokes of the day.
Here’s one he told us during those sad evenings in Marquette. Yes it’s a leetle bit naughty and profane, but my sister-in-law Patty, who’s three things I ain’t — wholesome, Catholic and near-teetotal — laughed, yes, out loud. I suspect it’s so old that some version was told by those pilgrims to Canterbury.
George was driving to the airport on his way home from business trip to Nevada. He spotted a roadside sign out of the corner of his eye that whipped his neck backwards. It read: Sisters of Mercy Bordello, one Mile ahead. A good Catholic boy, George thought “That can’t be right!”
But a minute later he saw another sign: “Sisters of Mercy Bordello, a half mile ahead.” He mused about that cute Irish nun who was his teacher in sixth grade.
A few seconds later, there it was: “Sisters of Mercy Bordello, a quarter mile ahead. We leave Nothing to your Imagination.” Then “Sister of Mercy Bordello, turn right here. One block.” George was hot and bothered. Sister Mary Frances! He turned right there.
It looked like a stone fortress. He rang the bell and was admitted by a middle-aged hatchet-faced sister. She said “Walk down the hall and knock on the door'” It was a long gloomy hall, but he rapped on the door. A pretty novice opened it and said: “That’s fifty dollars, and I’ll meet you down the hall. I’ll be ready — just go though the door at the end of the corridor.” George handed her fifty dollars and headed down the dark hall , through the massive oak door.
He stepped out and was almost blinded by the sunshine. The door slammed behind him. It was locked.He was looking out into the convent garden and a last sign told him: “Thank you and God bless you. You’ve just been screwed by the Sisters of Mercy.”