Tongue deep in cheek I turned to my aunt. “Harold and I are going to the Three Stooges movie. Do you want to join us?” Her silence was deafening.

I’ve read that the world is made of two types of people. There are those who think The Stooges are funny—and those who don’t understand why others think so. It’s a dynamic not limited to Larry, Curly and Moe and a paradigm that reminds me of Stuart and yes…myself.

To this day, Fenton makes me laugh; (I’m in the minority). Decades down the road his nonsense, repetitive as it is, breaks me up. Years after the first phony phone call I roar as he gives French lessons by phone. Indeed, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Was I not (just weeks ago) reciting his foreign gibberish in Great Neck? I love too, STILL, Stu’s “agitate and aggravate” game plan. How often in Vegas a few years back, did Snyder demand of me “B, why do you have to egg him on?” Indeed, Arthur wasn’t laughing, Ermine wasn’t laughing. No, these two lifelong friends, frustrated, just stared at two schmucks from Bayard…laughing.

Maybe it IS us? Does it matter?

It was 1972. Out east for my wedding, my eightyish grandmother unpacked at the Jersey motel. Looking up, she found, hanging proudly, a framed watercolor painted years earlier by her niece. Perplexed, this grand lady, fluent in seven languages, turned to my father:

“Albert, why is this here?”
“Bruce,” he chortled, perhaps even putting down his cigarette. “Are you responsible for this?” Triumphantly I recounted sneaking it from her duplex to my suitcase to the wall of the Howard Johnson’s.

My dad laughed of course, and I laughed— but his mother just stared. Not only did she not GET the joke, but she didn’t know there was one.

Some bits never get old.

Adorning the stage of my recent show was a massive framed photograph of yours truly. It was, perhaps, 12 by 18. Moreover, final curtain having fallen and its value gone, they gave it to me. What to do…

Days after we closed Stacy came in. As I stopped to see her (she stayed with the ex), opportunity knocked. Hard. Readying for dinner, The Little One erred leaving me alone downstairs. What better to do than pull the picture from my trunk (it might have stayed there a year), gingerly replace the dusty framing of three barefoot kids that Ms. Jersey had in her living room, and keep quiet?

There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. There is, moreover, no greater aphrodisiac than positive reinforcement.

Enthralled by my nonsense, Stacy not only took a picture of my picture on her mother’s wall, but put it on Facebook. As if that wasn’t enough, days later, some 350 miles away, my brother-in-law responded:

“…That reminds me…” he posted, “…of when either your father or Uncle Harold brought a picture from your Great grandmother’s (and Aunt Helen’s) house and hung it in their hotel room at your parent’s (sic) wedding….”

Joel’s validation, his memory some forty years later, spoke volumes.

As far as I can tell, my visage hung at the ex’s for days—at least through their first Seder. I sense this because at the SECOND Seder, the subject arose. At the hind end of the table, away from the madding crowd, I sat there listening. Innocently listening.

Stacy regaled them, sharing the story of the picture on the wall, and how the night before the Seder guests had laughed… and how no one knew YET where the picture of the children was.

“Where is it Bruce?” demanded my ex.
“Trust me, it’s safe,” I said. “Still on the property site”
“Just tell me where it is,” she repeated, (more frustrated than mad).

They were laughing, my brother and crew. They’d seen the movie before but still they were laughing.

“It’s in your garage,” I told her. “Protected.”
“Thank you,” she said, and turned to the masses.

“You think it’s funny?” she asked rhetorically. “You try living with him!”
And then they laughed harder. Much harder.

(Not all of them, I must say. I didn’t laugh. At all. Not only didn’t I GET the joke—I didn’t know there was one).

One Response to “I STARTED A JOKE”

  1. ABL says:

    I can’t believe no one else commented….that’s hysterical. I even went to stacys Facebook page to see the pic….hysterical!!

Leave a Reply