Tuesday, September 11, 2007



First, the joke:

A miner wanders down into town with a year's worth of gold. He cashes his haul in, heads to the saloon, and orders a bottle of whiskey.

After he's gotten a few in him, he motions the bartender over.

"Bartender," he whispers, "have you got any ladies around here who might be intimate, you know, for money?"

"Naw," says the bartender. "But we got Ol' Joe out back!"

"I don't go for that stuff!" the miner says, and storms off.

A year later, he wanders back into town with another year's gold. He heads to the same saloon, and orders another bottle of whiskey. After he gets a few in him, he again motions to the bartender.

"Bartender," he asks, "did you get any ladies since last year?"

"Naw," the bartender says, "but we still got Ol' Joe out back."

"I told you I don't go for that stuff," he miner says. He gets up to leave, but gives his two year lack of intimacy thought.

"Let me ask," he says quietly, "if I went out back with Ol' Joe, who'd have to know about it?"

"Well," says the bartender, "you, and me. And Ol' Joe, of course. And Billy Bob and Red and Slim."

"Billy Bob, Red and Slim," says the miner. "Who the hell are they?"

"Well they gotta hold Ol' Joe down. He don't go for that, either...."

I heard this joke a long time ago. I even posted it here a while back.

I heard it again the other day. And I noticed something.

Maybe it's a sign of a classic, but I got something different out of it this time.

See, it's never said exactly what Ol' Joe is. When I first heard the joke, my mind formed the image of three guys having to hold a horse or mule down. And it's funny enough, because I don't expect a horse or a mule would appreciate or enjoy the amorous intentions of a miner, no matter how much he paid.

But when I heard it this time around, a new image popped into my head. Like I said, it's never mentioned just who or what Ol' Joe is. My imagination took over, and for some reason, it popped into my head the idea that Ol' Joe is not an old mule or horse.

Instead, in this new concoction, Ol' Joe is a grizzled old miner himself, too beaten down by life to go out and mine anymore. Indeed, he's too old and decrepit to flee the town and the hellish existence that seems to entail the guys from the bar chasing him down and raping him from time to time.

Or maybe he's got something that keeps him there in town. Because he's got enough fight in him that three guys have to hold him down while the other miners get their business done.

For some reason, that struck me as funny, though. I can't explain why the idea of forced relations with a grizzled old miner is funnier than relations with a horse, but on this day, it is.


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