Have You Heard The One
About President Bush?

(Originally appeared on McSweeney’s, October 4 2004)

#1.

A traveling businessman walks into a bar and orders a drink. After a few sips, the businessman looks up, sees President Bush on the television, and yells: “Now there’s the biggest horse’s ass I’ve ever seen!”

A customer walks over to the businessman and slugs him. The businessman stands, brushes himself off, and sits back at the bar.

A few minutes later, as the businessman is finishing another beer, Mrs. Bush appears on the television. “She’s a horse’s ass too,” declares the businessman.

This time, another customer walks over to the businessman and knocks him off his stool.

“This must be Bush country!” exclaims the businessman, shaken.

“Nope,” the bartender zings. “Horse country!”

The bar resounds with laughter and then, just as quickly, fills with silence.

After what seems like an eternity, the businessman, still on the ground, quips: “You all think you’re so funny.

I haven’t worked since last April. The family’s house is being repossessed, I threw out my back last year, and despite the few hundred dollars in Bush tax cuts, I can’t afford health care for my sick wife. I’m new to town and could use some friends. And this is how I’m treated!” At this, the businessman begins to weep.

“I’m sorry, friend,” says the bartender, also weeping. “I was just trying to lighten the mood, I don’t even like horses! Besides, my own wife is terribly sick and I, too, can hardly afford health care. So here, let me buy you a drink, okay?”

“All right, then, cracks the businessman, slowly and painfully making his way back to a standing position. “But make it a double, for I am in some serious pain.”



#2.

Two rednecks, Jesse and Billy Bob, are fishing by moonlight next to a sparkling stream in the pristine wilderness.

Jesse turns to Billy Bob and asks: “What does a blonde owl say?”

After thinking for a long moment, Billy Bob replies: “I don’t know, Jesse. Tell me.”

At which Jesse impishly declares: “What! What!”

There is no laughter, just the gentle rushing of the stream and, in the distance, the high-pitched chirping of crickets.

“Get it?” asks Jesse, pulling nervously at his overalls. “Instead of ‘Who! Who!’”

“My wife is a blonde,” says Billy Bob, taken aback. “You knew that. Why, of all things, a blonde joke?”

“I’m sorry, my mind is on other things,” says Jesse. “Can’t think straight. The election, it’s been gnawing at me.”

“Well, it’s been gnawing at me, too,” says Billy Bob, “but I’m not making asinine jokes.”

“No, you’re not,” replies Jesse. “Again, sorry.”

“Do you think the Democrats have any chance of competing with Bush?” asks Billy Bob. “I mean, any chance at all?”

With pitch-perfect timing, Jesse retorts: “Don’t know.”

“Don’t know, either,” comes back Billy Bob, smiling or grimacing, one can not be sure. “I really don’t know.”

The two rednecks continue to fish.



#3.

President Bush visits his doctor for the results of a brain scan.

The doctor, looking very serious, says: “Mr. President, I have some bad news for you. We have learned, through extensive medical testing, that your brain has two sides: the left side and the right side.”

President Bush, slightly frightened, asks: “But that’s normal, isn’t it? I thought everybody has two sides to their brain.”

With a gleam in his eye, the doctor jibes: “That’s true, Mr. President. But your brain is very unusual, because on the left side there isn’t anything right, while on the right side there isn’t anything left!”

President Bush does not laugh, but rather looks perplexed: “Why are you joking? This is a medical examination. Is this a laughing matter to you?”

The doctor, without missing a beat, rejoins: “I have a brother in Iraq, in the Marines. He was almost killed in Falluja last week. That’s three times in one month. I love him dearly, and want nothing more than for him to come home safe. It’s not right for me to tease, but this is how I cope best under tremendous pressure. The whole country seems a little down in the dumps. Maybe we should all joke more.”

Thinking for a moment, the President comes back with the following snap: “I understand completely. I hope he remains safe.”