March 13, 2013

My Favorite Joke...

I note that the Roman Catholic Church elected a new Pope today.  Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has now become Pope Francis, the first of his name.  I've always been somewhat in awe of the position Cardinal Bergoglio now holds; whether one is a follower of his faith, some other, or none whatsoever, the Pope is the head of an organization that counts some 1.3 billion followers.  That little fact deserves some respect, right there.  But his elevation to Pontifex Maximus allows me the chance to roll out my all-time favorite joke, which is, alas, limited in times that it can be told and still be funny.

But first, some background.  It is a winter's morning in 1992.  The sky is blue and clear, with a sort of vividness that only occurs when it is bone-achingly cold... which it is.  There's maybe a foot of fresh white snow on the ground, everywhere but streets, parking lots and sidewalks.  None of the many people visible seem to notice the cold, however.  That's because this is Minnesota, and the residents are used to it being below zero.  Well, that, and everybody has on big hulking parkas that'd keep the wearer warm on the surface of Pluto.

Amongst these huddled masses, enter Wonderduck and his fellow grad student in lighting design, Mike.  Mike and Wonderduck get along pretty well; they're both from Illinois, outsiders to these here Northerners.  Further, they're currently the only theatre tech grad students and have the same grad advisor.  To say they spend a lot of time together would be something of an understatement: they have the same classes, work on each others productions (example: Mike is a show's lighting designer, Wonderduck would be his master electrician, and vice-versa), help teach the same classes, and so on.  The main difference between them is that Mike is pushing 40, while Wonderduck is in his low 20s.  Both have an interest in history, however, that often left the other grad students bored and confused. 

On this frigid morning, Wonderduck and Mike are walking from their reserved parking spots towards the theatre building, about a three-block stroll.  Normally not a problem, on mornings like this it could be considered something of a trial for us Illinoisans and our thin "southern" blood.  As we make our way towards the warmth of the tallest building in the city, we turn a corner that reveals the northern edge of the campus.  The theatre building is there, and just to the west, across a wide expanse of courtyard (that I was known to fly kites from, even in January, but I digress), the Freshman Dorm building. 

As anybody who's experienced bitterly cold days like this one will attest, things like vehicles and buildings appear to smoke a lot when it's frigid, and this day was no exception.  Small cars would go by, leaving clouds of exhaust to rival any jumbo jet contrail.  Buildings seemed to have their own external microclimate, wreathed as they are in clouds of steam condensate.  For whatever reason, however, on this day the Freshman Dorm was pumping out enough of this stuff to make any nuclear power plant cooling tower feel inadequate, and it was all a pure, pristine white.

At this point, Mike turned to Wonderduck and said "wow, look at that."  Wonderduck, suitably impressed, nodded and said to Mike "Yeah.  You know what that means, right?"

A beat passed before Mike replied with excellent comic timing: "The freshmen have elected a Pope?"

Exunt two grad students, laughing uproariously.

And now you know why my favorite joke is only funny at very limited and specific times. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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I've seen it here at least once before, in an F1 post.  Quality humor.

Posted by: Mikeski at March 14, 2013 10:19 PM (DU6Ja)

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