SHE AIN’T SKINNY, SHE’S TALL, THAT’S ALL
HOW CAN SLIM CHANCE AND FAT CHANCE MEAN THE SAME THING?
What’s so funny about this? This is one of the more popular questions about the English language and its oddities. These two seemingly opposite expressions do have almost the same meaning. Slim means skinny and a small amount of something, usually flesh. Fat means fat and implies a lot of something, usually flesh. So if English were logical, then surely having a slim chance means you don’t have much of a chance to win something or at something, such as money or poker. Likewise fat chance SHOULD mean that your chances are pretty good of winning something or at something like a race or chess. But here’s the kicker – one of these phrases is literal while the other is ironic. Which is which? Here we can let logic be our guide. If we want to be literal then “slim chance” is our logical choice since it means not having a lot. Looking at the photo accompanying this audioboo we see a slim young boy trying to fight a gigantic sumo wrestler. He doesn’t have much weight nor does he have much chance at winning. However if we want to be ironic, then we say, “Fat chance that the boy will win.” Remember irony is like sarcasm, we say the opposite of the obvious to make our point. Notice also the absence of the article “a”. It’s really used idiomatically. Fat chance that you will actually laugh at this joke. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
Listen to my audioboo: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1781167-she-ain-t-skinny-she-s-tall-that-s-all
Origin: This expression is actually a pun that is part of the title of a country song written in 1993 by country singer Pam Tillis. The complete title is “Cleopatra, the Queen of Denial. The pun refers to the Nile River in Egypt, and its ancient female pharaoh. Many popular songs, country and otherwise, utilize common expressions that are popular at the time the song is written. Personally I doubt that the writer of the song invented the pun. Mostly likely it had been in circulation for a number of years. Nevertheless, by incorporating it into her song title and lyrics, she gets full credit as or originator. The song is about a woman who has a bad boy boyfriend who lies and cheats on her, that is runs around with other women. But she refuses to accept or bellieve it, hence she is the ultimate denier, or the Queen of Denial
Usage: Informal, spoken and written, general American and British English
Idiomatic Meaning: A person who absolutely refuses to accept something he/she reads, sees or is told
Literal Meaning: A female ruler who absolutely refuses to accept something he/she reads, sees or is told
Why is this funny? In the photo we see Elizabeth Taylor in the starring role of the old movie “Cleopatra”. Both the original queen and Elizabeth Taylor were known for pretending to be innocents yet both had reputations as strong willed and enjoying the company of powerful men. One was actually the Queen of the Nile, but both were Queens of Denial (of doing anything wrong)
Sample sentence: Even though she was caught shop-lifting the teen age girl refused to admit she did anything wrong. She was the queen of denial.
DOGS ARE FOREVER IN THE PUSH-UP POSITION – MITCH HEDBERG
What’s so funny about this? – Mitch Hedberg, the creator if this joke reminds me of Steven Wright another comedian with great one-liners. Their jokes are not at all similar, yet they both look at the world through a lens of their own distortion. They see funny things in everyday, uneventful events and situations. I guess all comics do that to a certain extent, but these guys do it with short crisp one-liners that hit the nail right on the head. In other words, they know how to make point without going into excruciating detail, much as an abstract or impressionist painter, photographer or musician and writer. As you can tell, this is an art I have yet to master. But just because I can’t do it, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. We’ve had dogs in our house for almost twenty years, plus I had them when I was a kid. Yet Hedberg’s observations never remotely occurred to me, and believe me, I’ve spent PLENTY of time looking at my own and other dogs. When they are in the “down position” dogs do look exactly the way people do when they are about to do push-ups, not that they ever actually do them. Though I suppose they could be trained to do so. Dogs instinctively know how to exercise; they don’t go out and hire personal trainers. Sadly, people will go out and do just that even though the dog couldn’t care less. It’s all about the owners and not the dogs. That’s not funny but the joke is.
Listen to my audioboo: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1778469-down-boy
BEAM ME UP
The angry construction worker realized he’d better take a break before he fastened the site inspector to a steel column. He GIVES IT A REST before he RIVETS A GUEST
What’s so funny about this? I realize that this spoonerism is stretching things a bit, but I think it’s still legitimate. Yes the spelling changes but spoonerisms can be based on sounds too and sometimes odd spellings make the spoonerisms that much more fun. The other thing that I had to stretch a bit was the context. “Give it a rest” is a common idiom and can be applicable to many situations. Most often it means, stop doing whatever annoying thing you’re doing.” Take a break, relax, take a chill pill, etc. But the second part of the spoonerism is much more complicated and more than a little creepy or gory. After all, guests are usually other humans and we don’t normally use rivets and rivet guns on other people unless we mean to do them harm. Of course we might often fantasize doing harm to someone who is bothering or annoying us, but rarely, if ever would we act on it. That’s what the situation is in the joke. We have a construction worker who has to interact with a “site inspector.” No I’m not talking about an eye doctor, though that would be a good pun. I’m spelling site s-i-t-e, meaning location. It’s the word commonly used to refer to a place or location where building is taking place. A site inspector is that guy that a city, or municipality sends to a job site, a work site, a construction site to make sure that the workers are following the proper safety procedures on the job. In most cases they do, but some construction companies will “cut corners.” This does not mean that they damage the building buy eliminating the corners. It’s an idiom referring to some procedures which are less than perfectly safe but are less expensive than correct safety measures. So the company saves a little money but endangers the safety of the workers. It’s the site inspector’s job to find these kinds of problems and solve them quickly. But they frequently are not trusted by the workers and inspectors often “have their hands out”, looking for a bribe to look the other way. That’s why workers and inspectors are frequently antagonistic towards each other. In the joke, the construction worker realized he was getting too angry at the inspector but he still fantasized about riveting the inspector to one of the high beams. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
FULL OF IT
John Deere’s manure spreader is the only equipment the company won’t stand behind.
What’s so funny about this? John Deere, in case you don’t know was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, one of the largest and leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world. He lived from 1804 to1886. This company makes tractors, plows, hay bailers and all kinds of heavy equipment you’ve never heard of unless you live on a farm and can afford all this mechanized farming stuff. I’m not saying it isn’t any good, and I’m not saying it’s not necessary or helpful. I am saying it’s expensive. So it depends on how wealthy a farmer you are. The John Deere Company is very proud of all the machines they manufacture. People refer to the company as if it were an actual man, John Deere. He was, once, of course, but no more. A common way for a company to indicate their pride and confidence in their products is to say they STAND BEHIND their products. One of the better machines that Deere produces is a manure spreader. Manure, or animal feces, is a common ingredient in fertilizer, the stuff farmers put on plants to help them grow more and better. Spreading this manure used to be done by hand. As you can imagine it was not a job most famers relished, or liked. It was pretty stinky, I’m sure. So to have a machine that can spread the manure for them was probably a big help. However, as the joke points out, even though John Deere stands behind all of their equipment, the manure spreader is the one exception. It works very well, they should be proud. They just don’t want to stand behind it. Old John doesn’t want to be accused of being full of shit. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
Listen to my audioboo: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1773013-full-of-it