First steps on the journey of the joke
My friends got back to me on the joke. I am a pseudo taxi driver. One day I was driving the aforementioned husband and wife team to a house where they were to eat. I dropped the joke into the conversation. The non-blind wife, I'll call her Tara, laughed. Motty, the blind man at the back of the bus took issue - happy to discuss it.
As our chatter weaned its way around town houses Tara came in defensively. "I know you'll say I have no sense of humour". She is marked by her life positions of radical, feminist, activist, protector of the spouse, the advocate and the carer. "Oh! No! I wouldn't say that". I remind her she laughed. She was the one who found it funny.
I recognise something here that is once again uncomfortable. It's not just about the joke its about our position to the joke, our response to it through the lens of that position. Tara is one of the most politically correct people I know. It's fun for me to test her limits, her tolerance. She recognises I am doing this and in common with other people whose positions I test includes me and appreciates me more than others might.
Motty, in the back is on a roll. He has been through his desire to swop jokes about blindness with someone with different impairments. "When I worked in therapy there was a man with a speech impairment. He had a cracking sense of humour but was terrible on punchlines. Couldn't ever get them out. I told him I'd give him a joke about his impairment for every one he gave me about his. I don't mind jokes about blindness. I can take them. There is great diversity amongst us".
Motty rolls on. He says its not just about a diverse range of impairments but a range of preferences within the word humour. We all have preferences. Some are shared. He is what some of us would call a little bit sick. He loves a good accident. A custard pie in the face remains ideal. As is clowning. He is at the cutting edge. He talks about falling down manhole covers, stepping into dog poo, going out in non matching shoes. Its not that he does this that amuses him its how others receive it. He hoots. Tara covers her eyes and ears. There is a little bit of concern, there is some recognition, there is a strong possibility that we are onto something with this limits of a joke business and the joke travels on.
The joke has been to the north of England. My correspondent confirms my fears. The joke is not, in his opinion funny. "I didn't get it first time. I had to think about it. Even when I understood it, even when I got the references I didn't laugh about it. But, I don't think its harsh, unkind, hostile or anything like that. You know what you should do with it? You should talk to Laurence Clark."