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Monday, April 1, 2013

Fat Man With a Big Cigar

Probably fatter... and even more famous
Last thing I want, believe me, is for anybody to think that the way I have put this together is so that a favorable comparison can be made.
By that I mean, no, I am not in any way suggesting that there is any similarity with the classics. My intention is none other than to remember a joke that Payito [as me and my two younger brothers always called our father] used to narrate to us all when little.
As I have previously reminisced on this blog, the onomatopoeic retelling of the misadventures of a cat that fell into a well would have us bursting at the seams anytime he was in such a good enough disposition to tell jokes [you can go here to read the version in Spanish].

What you have to bear in mind is this: they are just jokes. Nothing more than jokes. Corny jokes at that. And to be truthful, absent some kind of physical humor, they probably won’t make sense to anybody.
There are, of course, details that I leave out. It’s a rather prolonged retelling. Not unlike what a stand-up comedian will do. Meaning, anytime there is a feedback from the audience the comedian is gonna milk it and hold the vibe for as long as it’s possible.
Along the way, details would gradually be made known [it doesn’t matter that we already knew them, what was funny was to let Payito imitate, for example, the acrobatics you go through when you are trying to ‘hold it’].

In brief, the joke of the chubby-cheeked man with the big cigar narrates the troubles the character endures while traveling on a train.
It’s crowded and hot. To top it off, just as the announcement is made that there is an approaching tunnel and will everybody please stay put and above all, don’t you dare looking out the window or you will most likely be decapitated by the craggy walls, he HAS to use the bathroom.
Which he can't.
Resourceful that he is, our character unfasten his belt, lowers his pants, let's his keister protrude out the window and thankfully proceeds to relieve himself.
Just then, as is his duty to make sure that no harm comes to his passengers, the conductor looks out the window and yells: “Will that chubby-cheeked man with the big cigar get his head in!”
That’s the whole joke.
Now, about the not-making-comparisons bit.
Telling jokes is always risky. And it’s even riskier to tell jokes whenever bodily functions are involved. Some call it toilet-humor.
But let's not hold up our noses.
Even the classics, as did Cervantes in this chapter of Don Quixote, use it.
Cervantes sets the stage:

The advice seemed good to Don Quixote, and, he leading Rocinante by the bridle and Sancho the ass by the halter, after he had packed away upon him the remains of the supper, they advanced the meadow feeling their way, for the darkness of the night made it impossible to see anything; but they had not gone two hundred paces when a loud noise of water, as if falling from great rocks, struck their ears. The sound cheered them greatly; but halting to make out by listening from what quarter it came they heard unseasonably another noise which spoiled the satisfaction the sound of the water gave them, especially for Sancho, who was by nature timid and faint-hearted. They heard, I say, strokes falling with a measured beat, and a certain rattling of iron and chains that, together with the furious din of the water, would have struck terror into any heart but Don Quixote's.

Sancho then manages to tie up Rocinante so as to prevent his master from leaving him alone in order to pursue another adventure. And the author continues [click on the pix to read]:



Hilarious, won't you agree?

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