Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He took some comfort in knowing that he had said it first – he had said the joke first. Nobody had responded, but he had said it – aloud, for them all to admire, yet none had done so. Then, moments later, seconds really, the other man, a taller, finer looking man, says the same joke, nearly word for word, and the crowd adores it. They fawn and laugh and feel comfortable around the man who has just made this devastatingly amusing joke, and meanwhile the man who had actually said it, or rather who had said it first, is standing alone under his umbrella wondering to himself Did they hear what I said? Did they hear that that’s just exactly what I said?

They had, in fact, heard, but like so many of the things that this premier jokester said, they felt awkward about it. Is he trying to be amusing? one woman asked herself. Had she asked this aloud, perhaps, the man would have told her that Yes, yes I was attempting to be amusing, for I am an amusing fellow. Watch, I’ll prove it. In just a few moments someone else will repeat what I’ve said and the others, all the others including yourself, will find the man’s joke, which is to say my joke, devastatingly amusing. He would, perhaps, have said this to the woman, but she didn’t ask her question aloud but instead only to herself. Is he trying to be amusing? she asked. Is he amusing?

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