Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is the pope catholic?

Here's an old and crass joke that I used to find very funny.

A rabbit is hopping happily along in the woods. He suddenly looks up to see a bear squatting. The bear looks annoyed and then notices the rabbit.

"Hey can I ask you something?" he inquires of the rabbit.

"Sure" replies the rabbit.

"Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?"

"No" says the rabbit.

So the bear grabs the rabbit and wipes his ass with him.

Okay sorry.

When I first heard the joke I laughed because the punchline very simply capped a story about a bear who can do whatever he wants with/to a rabbit. There was no language play, no revealed secret, no one really playing the fool. The only frame switch was from the bear asking for advice (or just sympathy) to the bear being a jerk.

When the bear first asks if the rabbit has a problem with that specific hygiene issue I heard it as does this happen to you. When the he picks up the rabbit it's because he has taken the rabbit at his word and knows that he can wash it right off. Why would the rabbit care? It doesn't stick.

Then a few years later I thought about it some more and decided that there was some language play in there. I still hear the question at first as does this happen to you but after the bear scrubs with the bunny a new meaning of the question might explain the bear's chutzpah. Instead of having asked does this happen to you we might hear does this bother you as the bear's intention. So the bunny doesn't mind. The shit might stick, but he told the bear he doesn't have a problem with it.


  1. Whatever happened to gentler words like "butt" and "dung?"

  2. But what did that have to do with the pope being Catholic?

  3. Buffy, Does a bear "defecate" in the wooded area?

    Michael, that joke is a classic favorite of mine too. I always heard it as a bear and a squirrel, and the question usually was, "Does it bother you?"

    The hand motions are great too.

  4. A rabbit works better in the joke for me. We're more likely to care about a cute bunny. They have more personality. Who knows why?

    "Does it bother you?" almost forces the second reading. If the setup said "does it bother you when your shit sticks..." then it might preclude the punchline.

    What I like about the joke is that with either reading it's workable.


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