A Basic Joke

     Well, Thanksgiving is past and we must now face the reality that Christmas is upon us.  I have, myself, always stated that I DO love Christmas: I’m just not very good at it.  So many things which used to be so simple have become difficult with the passage of time.  For example, at my age, it is harder and harder to get on Santa’s naughty List.  So with a view to correcting that situation, I thought we would return to the subject of postcards dealing with butt jokes.

     There are, according to some slang dictionaries, more words for referring to the seating arrangement of the human anatomy than any other part of the body.  Among your postcard cartoonists, none was more versatile than “behind”.   They could use this in a perfectly innocent sentence and then draw the illustration to leave you in no doubt about which meaning they wanted you to see.  The card at the top of this column shows how this was done.  The man is merely saying that his girl is behind him in the picture, and nothing else.

     We dedicated an entire column to this running gag.

     Any use of the word could prompt a picture.  I don’t know that the cartoonist really did his best with this one.  He could at least have had the behind on the left.

     Of course, the most common use of the joke was to excuse oneself for not having written.  People would, in theory, be chortling so much at getting the double meaning that you could toss in another old joke as well.

     And in case those postcards from the 1940s and 1950s make you think we eventually grew out of that joke, these two from a later era show we never left the joke behind.

     A vacation scene would add to your explanation about why you hadn’t written.  It is, we are told, so easy to get behind at the beach.

     Vacations, of course, were for leaving things behind, as noted here.

     The joke could also express regret at the vacation’s end.

     And the resumption of the cares of daily life, with bills to pay.  (His pants are torn, see, or rent, so he…oh, you got that one.)

     Or the rigors of watching your weight.

     Or just the daily grind, as seen with this sorry tail.

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