I’m writing this column on the morning of Tuesday, November 8. I find myself in the unenviable position of having to write a column just prior to one of the most significant and possibly last elections in our nation’s history, yet it won’t run until after the election has taken place. I have no idea how this one’s going to shake out, but I think there’s a decent chance that regular readers of this column will need a laugh.
And so, with that in mind, I’m simply going to share my favorite joke. I hope you enjoy.
It’s the old west in the late 1800s. A wealthy young man rolls into a dusty frontier town and spots a saloon. He steps inside and walks up to the bar. The elderly bartender asks him if he wants a drink.
“Mister,” the young man says, “I don’t want to buy a drink; I want to buy this bar out from under you. My claim finally struck gold and I intend to own my own saloon and make a name for myself. Name your price.”
“Well,” the old man says, “you’ve caught me at the right time. As you can see, I’m an old man now, and I’ve been thinking about selling this place for a while. So I’ll sell it to you, and at a fair price to boot.”
The young man reaches into his pocket for his checkbook, but the old man grabs his arm with a wiry grip.
“There’s just one thing you’ve got to promise me,” the old man says. “If you ever hear that Big John is coming, you run. Just drop everything and head for the hills. That Big John … he’s bad news.”
“Yeah, whatever, old man,” the young man says, and he writes a check and buys the place.
The young man runs the saloon for many, many years, making quite a comfortable living, until eventually he finds that he’s become an old man himself. One day, he’s standing behind the bar polishing some glasses when a grizzled old miner bursts through the batwing doors.
“BIG JOHN’S A-COMING!” the miner shrieks before darting back out the door and running screaming down the street.
Suddenly, the whole saloon erupts into chaos. The old cowboys all flee for the front door, three of them getting wedged into it like the Three Stooges. Another cowboy heaves himself through the plate glass window and jumps on his horse. Still another cowboy pulls up the floorboards with his bare hands and hides in the crawlspace. Within seconds, the bar is empty…
…save for the saloon owner, who’s long since forgotten the old man’s warning.
Before he can even react, darkness falls over the bar. He looks out the window and sees a massive shape blotting out the setting sun. It’s the biggest man he’s ever seen in his life.
The mountain of a man slowly rides up to the saloon. He doesn’t ride a horse; no, this guy rides a buffalo, and even the buffalo seems to be straining under his weight. He steps off the buffalo and rises to his full height, ten feet tall if he’s an inch. He pushes open the batwing doors, causing them to fly off their hinges and clatter across the floor. He ducks to enter the saloon.
This man doesn’t carry a set of pistols on his hips; he has two sawed-off eight gauge shotguns. He doesn’t carry a rifle on his back; he carries a Civil War-era Gatling gun. And he doesn’t have a whip over his shoulder; he has a live rattlesnake.
The man stomps over to the bar, the boards creaking beneath his heavy boots. He slams a fist on the old oak bar, cracking it in half.
“Gimme a beer,” the man growls, his voice like thunder.
The saloon owner takes a beer with a shaking hand and pushes it across the ruined bar. The giant man doesn’t bother uncorking it; he bites the neck off the bottle and downs the contents in one gulp.
Terrified, the saloon owner asks the guy if he’d like another beer.
“ANOTHER BEER?!?” the man booms. “Son, I ain’t got time! Big John’s a-coming!”