Wherein obtuseness is turned to devilish advantage

besen04_familyguy-familytv.gifShortly after our first child was born, my ex-wife and I travelled north to show off the new baby to my parents.  One night, we all sat around the TV to watch a comedy that often ended on a somewhat risqué note.  I hoped that it would not be too blue and mentally prepared to create a brief diversion if the humour was lurching too near the edge.

   Sure enough, at the end of the show, the following joke is told:  Two nuns are having a bath together.  One nun says to the other one, “Where’s the soap?” to which the second nun replies, “Yes, it does, doesn’t it.” 

As usual the dim-witted character fails to get the joke and the main character raises her eyes as the credits roll. 

Dead silence meets this scene in the Oscarandre household. I notice my wife is blushing.  Then my mother who, with her religious proclivities, has been quite keen to have a laugh at the expense of the Catholics, says, “I don’t get that; do you, Bob?” 

My father looks equally mystified but has reached that age where he has come to expect it.  “It’s no good looking at me,” he says.   

So everyone looks at me instead. 

“Well,” I begin, “there is nothing to get.  That’s the point – the joke has no point.  It’s an absurdist piece that simply shows how dim-witted the character is.  She doesn’t even get a non-joke.” 

“Oh,” says my mother, her voice edged with disappointment.  “Well, it’s all a bit too clever for me.  Who wants a cup of tea?” 

As we make our way home that evening, my wife says to me, “You handled that joke business really well tonight.  You even had me convinced.”  Then she laughs, “Shit, I didn’t know where to look. Certainly not at your poor mum” 

Then she stops as if something has just hit her.  She is aware of my mind racing desperately, aware that I have become too silent. “You did just make all that stuff up, didn’t you?  You did get the joke?” 

But my confusion is too obvious, even in the darkness.  “You didn’t get it, did you?  You really thought that stuff you said was true.”  Now she is laughing and the tears are running down her face. 

By the next morning I have learned something about nuns and soap that I didn’t know before.  But that’s what happens when you are raised an Anglican, no one tells you anything.  

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6 Comments

Filed under humour, life

6 responses to “Wherein obtuseness is turned to devilish advantage

  1. S

    That reminds me of how all of my friends laughed at me when I revealed to them that I was a late comer to understanding the full meaning of, “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”. To explain, I grew up in a largely Jewish suburb. All of my friends were either Jewish or Atheists. I never knew any Catholics, still don’t understand the difference between Catholicism and Christianity.

    I went to a Catholic college where I not only saw a nun in person for the first time ever, but also met nuns for the very first time (they’re funnier than I was led to believe). Thus, my freshman year at college was the very first time I really learned anything about Catholicism, let alone that nun garb is called a “habit”.

    Then, one day, during a break when I returned home, ‘Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit’ is aired on tv, and I laughed. Hard. I finally got the full extent of the joke.

    That said – I don’t get it. What’s the joke, then?

  2. Reminds me of my religious school days and ‘Why is she called a nun?’ … ‘Because she never had nun and she don’t want nun’. 🙂 I don’t know the ‘smiley’ for snigger.

  3. My atheist upbrining is showing too… I felt like a heel that I didn’t get the joke, felt better that you hadn’t, and now feel like a heel again. I’ve got a trillion things in my head that could be the answer, but nothing obvious.

    I’m with S here. What’s the joke?

    Damn nuns.

  4. Hi S and Beauty – I’m sure you guys are just trying to make me feel better (it worked!). The joke is a play on words which may be easier to understand verbally rather than in writing where there is a purposeful mis-spelling. “Where’s…” should read “(It) wears the soap.”
    Welcome home, John. I was once threatened with a religious school for the “discipline” but I fell back on the old trick of pleading and begging which saw me narrowly escape perdition.

  5. Tee-hee… I get it now. And I’ll quit while I’m behind and stop my comment here.

  6. EuroPosh

    having been raised Catholic, I immediately got the joke, mainly from the context — it was the English word play that confused me. 🙂
    we have tons of jokes about nuns.

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