For Audience Participation Friday last week I solicited unfunny jokes, and you, the readership, rose to the occasion with some jokes that were thoroughly unamusing. Having suffered through that together, I thought it might be good to cleanse our palates, so to speak, with some jokes that are actually funny. So for this Audience Participation Friday the question is this: Heard any good jokes lately?
I’ll get things started with one of my favorites, which concerns a surly turtle on a picnic. Three turtles went on a picnic. Being turtles, it took them ten days to get from their house to the picnic site, which was out in the countryside. When they finally got to thei spot beside the river, they began to unpack the basket. They pulled out the sandwiches, the potato salad, the baked beans, the slaw, the apples, the root beer. That’s when they realized that they had left the bottle opener at home. Accusations flew; each turtle thought it was somebody else’s fault that they had left the bottle opener at home. At last, however, they decided that it didn’t much matter whose fault it was; they would draw straws to determine who would have to schlep back to the house for the bottle opener. The turtle who drew the short straw was furious. “It’s not my fault that we don’t have a bottle opener,” he said.

“But we agreed,” said one of the other turtles. “It doesn’t matter who left the bottle opener; that’s why we were drawing straws; one of us has to go back, and it turned out to be you.”

“All right,” said the unlucky turtle. “I’ll go. But you have to promise me one thing.”

“What’s that?” asked the other turtles.

“You have to promise not to eat the picnic until I get back.”

It was so agreed, and the turtle left to fetch the bottle opener. Ten days passed, then fifteen, then twenty, and the two remaining turtles eyed first the picnic, then the horizon whence they expected to see the third turtle come. “It’s about time for him to be getting back,” the one turtle said to the other. “Ten days there, ten days back.” He looked at the repacked picnic basket with longing. “I sure could use a bite to eat,” he said.

“We made a promise,” said the other turtle. “We said we wouldn’t eat the picnic until he got back.”

Twenty-two days passed, then twenty-three, then twenty-four. “I’m not sure he’s coming back,” said the one turtle. “He’s had more than enough time to get there and back. I’m mighty hungry,” he said, caressing the top of the picnic basket.

“I don’t see what it would hurt if we had half a sandwich each to tide us over,” said the other turtle.

“He wouldn’t want us to starve to death, would he?” the other asked rhetorically.

So they opened the picnic basket, pulled out a sandwich, unwrapped it, and cut it in half. Just as they were raising their half-sandwiches to their lips, the third turtle jumped out from behind a rock. “AHA!” he shouted. “I knew you wouldn’t wait! I’m not going.”