Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Joke

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm telling my grandfather's favorite joke. I have no idea how I know this was his joke or when he told it or when I understood it, as he died when I was ten years old, but I know it was his. The man was larger than life, joked with everyone, had these ridiculous bushy eyebrows, was always warm and effusive with us grandkids.

He would have these HUGE St. Patrick's Day parties where he would invite over all these clients and stuff and all the furniture would be cleared out of the living room and they'd rent party tables and chairs. I don't know how we managed to fit all those people in their house, but we did. My grandmother would slave over giant pots of corned beef all day, pulling out portable hot plates for all the pots of boiling water, which is HYSTERICAL when you know that she wasn't even Irish, she was French, German and English from upstate New York. But she'd married an Irishman and that's the way things went. My grandfather was actually born and raised in San Francisco (hence me being 3rd gen native), but HIS parents were fresh off the boat Irish and it's pretty in your roots when you're that Irish.

Now, he told lot's of jokes. Silly ridiculous phrases. "What a life without a wife but ten times worse with her!" In the eulogy I gave for my grandmother I mentioned how every single time they went over the Golden Gate Bridge he'd say, "Better go through the wide lane! Mother's in the car!" I'm sure there are other jokes and phrases trapped in the far corners of my brain if I thought about it. But this one? It's my favorite:

An Irishman is stranded on a desert island. He's been there for days, weeks even, roaming around by himself, when on the beach he comes upon a lamp. As anyone who has ever found a lamp knows, he picks it up and rubs it. And sure enough! Out comes a genie.

The genie says to the Irishman, "I will grant you two wishes, but only two! Use them wisely. What would you like for your first wish?"

The Irishman thinks about it for a minute and he says, "Ye know, I'm quite parched. I would just about kill for a bottle of fine Irish whiskey."

The genie says, "Your wish is my command." In the Irishman's hand appears a bottle of fine Irish whiskey. He is so grateful to for it, having not had a drop of alcohol in several weeks, that he gulps the whole bottle down as quickly as possible. "Ahhh! That was just fine!" he exclaims to the genie upon finishin. He looks down and finds that the bottle has refilled. "What's this!?" he asks the genie.

The genie responds, "Your wish for a bottle of whiskey was so modest, I made it a refilling bottle of whiskey. So long as you possess that bottle, it will never be empty."

The Irishman thanks the genie and says, "Well that's fucking grand!"

The genie then asks the Irishman, "What would you like for your second wish?"

Without missing a beat the Irishman says, "I'll have another bottle of whiskey!"

(For the record: I am at home this St. Patrick's Day, about to nap for a few minutes and then convince myself to go to the gym. I'm conflicted (as with much else these days) about how I feel about this. But it dawned on me earlier that my last St. Pat's Day was an epic night in Baton Rouge after a baseball game and trying to break into the football stadium at 3 a.m., and the year before that involved green jello shots at Dos Gringos in Scottsdale, AZ while I was there for spring training. So, I guess I'm okay with being home and not making an ass out of myself. Mostly.)

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