Alan Linda

Freelance Writer

It seems clear to me that humor runs in my family ancestry, because I just ran across something that a direct relative was known to say. Since he died in the late 1800’s, I think the “humor” connection is valid.

He said, when asked to what he attributed his long life—he was in his 90’s at the time—“Never sleep with someone else’s wife, and drink  beer at  breakfast every day.” Pretty risque for an elderly Methodist.

As I said, the humor thing appears to run in the family.

I myself have run afoul of an inability to resist perpetrating what I thought at the time would be a good joke. For example, after shooting a fox hanging around the chicken house, I noticed the neighbor across the road trapping gophers. Thinking it would be fun for him to see a fox in his gopher trap, I snuck over there and fastened a conventional jaw-type gopher trap on the fox’s nose. I never considered he would believe that little trap caught that large fox.

Next thing you know, his kids are in school talking about the fox their grandpa caught in a gopher trap. Even though I cautioned my kids about spilling the beans, they got spilled. Now, the neighbor was a pretty feisty old guy, and I was concerned. The next day, I found that fox lying at the end of my driveway.

So I picked up a pint of blackberry brandy and snuck that into his trap one of the following days. I guess that helped get me forgiven, although why someone would drink that stuff escapes me.

My ex has still not forgiven me for a Rooster Egg. After we had just moved up to this farm, she gathered chicken eggs one day and brought them into the house. She showed me what I knew to be one of the very large double yokers that new chickens occasionally lay. That genetic trait to think I was funny popped up in me, and, knowing she was a city girl and wouldn’t know any better, I said to her: “Look at that! That’s a Rooster Egg, and they are unbelievably rare!”

When she told the farm girls with whom she was bowling that night about the rare rooster egg, they of course were a bit more critical of such a miracle, and she came home with a bit of an attitude toward the whole thing. And me.

Now that you know some of my history regarding this humor stuff, you’ll appreciate the following story. My health insurance company sends out a nurse once a year to check up on me—and their other customers, too.

She drove into the yard, introduced herself to me, and, as she was following me into the farm house, said: “What are all those little houses scattered around the area?”

Where are you from, I asked her?

She replied that she was from someplace in Texas, had just moved up here.

You know, as do I,  that she was of course referring to all the deer stands that frequent this area.

Of course you can see my dilemma: I obviously had the opportunity here to run some “rooster egg” nonsense into her.

Or tell the truth. Hmmm.

Boy. Think of all the potential nonsense possible here. “Well,” I could have told her, “those are homes for the less fortunate folks around, who cannot afford better.” Those of us who are able, I could have told her, put them up and let anyone who wants to live in them.

Or: “Well,” I could have told her, “there’s a religion that has spread like wildfire around the region. It calls itself ‘The Church of the Sainted Homeless.’” They spread their religion by providing all these shelters for people who need them.

Or: “Well,” I could have said, “we have so many tornadoes around here that we keep these little concrete houses—you cannot tell by looking at them but they’re around three tons apiece—to hide in when these bad storms come. This particular line would have allowed me to run wild with the “storm” angle. Put the fear of You-Know-Who in her.

All these thoughts popped into my head in less than the three steps it took to get into the house.

So I told her.

What? Well, guess.