Nun Jokes and April Fools

When did you last hear of a genuinely funny April Fool? One that was both clever and convincing but which didn’t leave anyone feeling diminished or taken advantage of? One that sticks in my mind was a pseudo-technical review in a respected printing journal some years ago. It concerned a scanning device built from a homely microwave by Chinese engineers. It was brilliant in every way: cutting-edge technology (scanners cost thousands of pounds back then), detailed fake analyses of performance and cost and so on and so forth. The name, alas, gave it away: Lirap One.

Most people enjoy jokes and a sense of humour usually comes fairly high up on the list of desirable qualities in a husband or wife. It is certainly a sine-qua-non of surviving community life, but, pace Freud, it is difficult to define or explain how it works. It doesn’t always travel well. The jokes I tell in Spanish, for example, work quite differently from the jokes I tell in English; and I’m not sure I would even attempt a joke in French. The British and Americans are divided by more than a common language: what is funny to one is not always funny to the other as we frequently learn to our cost.

Humour can be cruel, as every child knows, but I’m not sure we are any better than our forebears at ensuring that we don’t give offence when we make jokes, for all our attempts to outlaw certain subjects. When confronted with a particularly tiresome ‘nun joke’ for example, I sometimes ask the teller to substitute the words ‘black’ or ‘gay’ and see if it is still tellable. The results can be quite revealing.

One thing of which I am absolutely certain is that Jesus had a good sense of humour. The gentle teasing of the Syro-Phoenician woman, the parables he told, his dialogues with Peter and the other apostles, all  are eloquent of someone who knew how to laugh and make others laugh. Mind you, given the disciples he had (and still has) it was a very necessary quality. Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone.



5 thoughts on “Nun Jokes and April Fools”

  1. I love the gospel story where Jesus has been speaking to the crowds all day and goes away to a quiet place. The disciples search for him and find him. They say “Master, everyone is looking for you!” The reply?

    “Let’s go somewhere else!”

    Fantastic humour and humanity shown by Jesus there.

  2. Oh, grrrrrrrr. I just wrote a three-part comment (including a strong yay to the topic and variety of humor; an elaborated wish that the weather outside my windows this morning might be a divine April fool’s joke, and an un-mean joke). But then when I tried to post it, I was told I hadn’t filled out all necessary fields. Indeed I missed my e-mail studpidly. But then when I tried to go back to my post, I just got a brand new box. My own absent-mindedness (or perhaps stupidity? impatience?) played an April Fool’s joke on me…. Decidedly mean!

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