[In which we are reminded that jailhouse humor is beastly, cruel, disgusting, foul, inhuman, sick, wicked, and deranged. All at the same time….]

There are some topics about which one should never, ever joke.

This blog post discusses such a topic.

If you’re a healthy, normal person, or are easily offended, close your browser and go read a book.

For once, I am being serious. Please. For your own sake.

You cannot say you were not warned.

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Recently I visited the Walpole Public Library. They had leftovers from their Friends of the Library sale, and we were invited to take what we wanted for our Lending Library.

From the 150 books we chose, one of them — LIFE Laughs Last — held our special attention. Specifically, a B&W photograph appearing on page 156, taken in a San Francisco court room somewhere in the 1960s. Obviously, they posed for this. What’s not so obvious is WHY. Even now, I find it almost impossible to imagine what gave these adults the idea to stage this. It’s WEIRD.

Upon seeing the photo, I chuckled and promptly showed it to one of my cynical Lending Library clerks. He laughed out loud and said: “Teddy’s accuser!”

‘Teddy’ (not his real name) has a disturbingly dark, sardonic outlook on life. Teddy holds nothing sacred. Teddy makes fun of everyone and everything. In particular, Teddy cracks jokes about topics which no tasteful, intelligent, well-bred, sane man would ever think to joke about.

Once the other clerks caught on about the Life photo, this is what they did with it:


This photo was taped to one side of our book binding cabinet.

The next day, our Superintendent comes through the libraries leading a tour of approximately 15 people. It isn’t until hours after he’s gone that I realize that this “in-joke” was visible where he might have noticed. The fact that he did NOT notice bode well for all concerned. The man has a great sense of humor but, had he seen the posting, his professional sensibilities would have impelled him to object.

You may be asking yourself: Schmuck! Didn’t it occur to you that Administration might see this thing? Yes, it did. But Management only occasionally visit the libraries. Of course, life being the Obstinate Cuss that it is, it took less than one solar day for Management to make a walk-through, and it had to be the Superintendent, a man for whom I hold the utmost respect. Thankfully, his attention was on his tour group and not on appropriate and professional Department of Correction office decor.

Which made the joke even funnier. It’s like suppressed laughter in church. You’re not supposed to laugh, but you do, which makes you laugh more.

But I took the thing down. No sense tempting fate ad infinitum. I’m foolish, yes, but NOT fool-hardy. I’m told by folks who love words that there’s a significant difference. Being too lazy to look it up, I choose to believe them.

Jailhouse humor: You either get it, or you don’t.