Takin’ What They’re Givin’

    A number of years ago, in response to no particular demand, I developed a musical lecture on the “I Hate My Job” song, a style of song as basic to the American experience as the hymn.  Had I been able to clear all the rights….

    But there is a broad literature of people taking out their workday frustrations, and this means there were plenty of jokes about the subject.  Yes, banana cream burrito, this was all an excuse to present another excerpt from my unpublished joke quiz.  I honestly am struggling hard to keep this from becoming a Monday tradition, but what can I do in the face of overwhelming demand?

    You recall the rules: these are really, really old jokes which you should know well enough to supply the missing punch lines.  Answers provided below so you can critique the way I phrased a classic.

        J 1. “I’d like to apply for that job as blogger,” said Justin.  “What’s the salary?”

    “I’ll pay you what you’re worth,” said henry.

    “Oh,” said Justin, “(          )”

        J 2. “Hey, where have you been?” called Fred, as Manny walked into the bar.

    Manny collapsed onto a barstool.  “Got a new job.  It’s a killer: eight hours without a break, the foreman’s a slavedriver who isn’t convinced you’re working until you drop over exhausted.  Nothing but work, work, work.”

    “Sounds rough,” said Fred.  “How long have you been at it.”

    Manny sighed.  “(          )”

        J 3. “Hello?  A young man named Hollingsworth listed you as a reference on his application for a job with my firm, and I wondered what you could tell me about him.”

    “Young Hollingsworth?  Comes of excellent stock.  He’s descended from the Feltons, the Harringtons…in fact, most of the First families of new England.  His grandfather was one of our leading bank executives, and….”

    “That’s very interesting.  But (          ).”

        J4. “The job is yours.  You realize, of course, that what we pay you is a private matter, and not to be gossiped about.  You are expected to keep your salary a secret.”

    “Don’t worry about that, sir.  (          ).”

        J5.  They call it Take-Home Pay because  (          ).

        J6. The junior assistant held the phone away from his ear as Mr. Gotlots ranted about a mistake in his latest report.  “Whew!  He’s going to get an ulcer!”

    “Not him,” said his office partner.  “(          )”

        J7. Alvin showed up for work at eleven, his face bandaged, his arm in a sling.  “Sorry I’m late,” he told the boss.  “I leaned out the window this morning to check the weather, went too far, and fell twenty-two stories.”

    The boss glared at him.  “(          )”

        J8. “Miss Collins, where’s my pencil?”

    “Behind your ear, sir.”

    “Come, come!  I’m a busy man!  (          )”

        J9.  Zuleika hugged her friend.  “Now that you’ve won the lottery, I guess you’ll be quitting your job as a cleaning woman.”

    “No,” said Arabella, “After thirty-five years I wouldn’t know how to go on without a job.  But (          ).”

        J10. “Took kind of a long lunch break, didn’t you, Buster?”

    “I had lunch and then I got a haircut.”

    “What makes you think it’s okay to get a haircut on company time?”

    “”Why not?  (          )”

        And, if you really need them, the ANSWERS

A1 I couldn’t live on THAT.

A2, I start tomorrow.

A3. We weren’t hiring the young man for breeding purposes.

A4. I’m as ashamed of it as you are.

A5. That’s the only place you can afford to go with it.

A6. He gives them.

A7. That took two hours?

A8. Which ear?

A9. “God help the boss if he gets in the way of my mop.”

A10. It grew on company time.

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