The Graveyard’s Edge

Q: Why is there a fence around the cemetery?
A: Because people are dying to get in!

Explanation: A cemetery is a graveyard, a place where dead people are buried.  If you are looking for some famous cemeteries, you might check out this link from Fordor’s.  Most cemeteries that I know of have a fence going around the outside of the cemetery.  I am not sure why, exactly, but perhaps the fence shows where the boundaries of the graveyard are.

“Dying to do something” is an idiom that means that you really want to do something.  If I say that I am dying to eat churros in Madrid, it means that I really want to try them when I travel to Madrid.

This joke is funny because it plays with the meaning of “dying to:”  the literal meaning that people are actually losing their lives (we all will die!) and will go to the graveyard, and the figurative meaning that people are dying to get into the cemetery (they really want to get in).  Most people do not want to get into a cemetery; most people do not want to die.

Suicide, though, is not funny.  If you are considering suicide, please, please, please reach out to those who are near you and ask for help.  There are people who love you, even in the darkest moments.  For right now, read this amazing, saving poem.

If you are looking for an odd and wonderful book to read, I would highly recommend The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  It takes a while to get into the book, but it is worth the effort.  Here is chapter 1:

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It’s a Virtue

Q: When do doctors get mad?
A: When they lose their patients! (patience)

Explanation: Patients are the people who go to see a doctor.  When you go to the doctor, you are a patient (noun).

Patience (notice the spelling difference) is the ability to wait without getting upset, the ability to explain something without getting upset, the ability to endure a difficult situation calmly.  Getting mad quickly is the opposite of patience.  Road rage is the opposite of patience.  You probably know people who are the opposite of patient (adjective).

This joke is funny because both words sound the same.  A doctor who has patients who decide to not see him or her, might lose his or her patience, that is, get upset when fewer people make appointments.

I found this joke after listening to the previous joke’s song, Patience by Guns ‘n Roses.  Here is another way to think of patience:

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Beacon of Light

Q: How many musicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: A-one, a-two, a-one, two, three, four!

Explanation: There are many, many jokes that start ask, “How many ________ does it take to change a lightbulb?  You can do a search of “lightbulb jokes” and see more.  Most lightbulb jokes make fun of someone.  By the way, when I search, I see both light bulb (two words) and lightbulb (one compound word).  When I looked for which is correct, I found this.

This joke is funny because, well, lightbulb jokes are funny.  This one in particular is funny because many musicians start off their songs with the 1, 2, 3, 4 count.

Here is a song that starts with a 1, 2, 3, 4 count to begin.  If you are patient, you will hear it–

Q.E.P.D./R.I.P. Chris

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Q: What does a computer do when it is tired?
A: It crashes!

Explanation: Did your computer ever stop working (freeze) or turn itself off when you wanted to use it?  If it did, you can say your computer crashed.  Computer crashes are frustrating because you cannot get your work done, and sometimes you lose the work you finished most recently, unless you saved it.  Thankfully, they do not happen too often.

The word crash has other meanings.  If someone is tired, a person might say, “I’m going to go crash.”  This means that the person will go to bed and sleep.  Or you could say, “I crashed lat night at 8:30 because I was so tired.”

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word crash: A computer not working, and someone going to bed.

Here are two songs about another meaning of the word crash:

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It’s About Time

Q: Where can you go to practice math on New Year’s Eve?
A: Times Square!

Explanation: Happy New Year!  It’s 2023 which means that Explain the Joke is celebrating 10 years of explaining jokes in English.

To get better at math, people often people often practice addition (+) or subtraction (-) problems; then they work on multiplication (x) and division (÷), and all the way through calculus and beyond.  Practicing multiplication is also known as practicing your times tables.  You can say what is seven times nine (7 x 9), or you can can say what is seven multiplied by nine.  They mean the same thing, times or multiplied by.

Times Square is an area in New York City.  One of the things Times Square is known for is its party on New Year’s Eve.  During that party, many people gather in Times Square and watch on TV to see the ball drop; when the ball gets to the bottom, the new year starts.  (By the way, to drop the ball is an idiom that means to make a mistake.)

This joke is funny because it plays with the ideas of times (multiplication) and Times Square.

If you would like to see the ball drop to mark the beginning of 2023, take a look here:

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Spare Change

Q: When does it rain money?
A: When there is change in the weather!

Explanation: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain,” according to the song from My Fair Lady.   In Peru, they just wish it would rain!  But nowhere does it rain money.  Rain is water that falls from the sky as part of the evaporation/water cycle.  When it is sunny outside, and then the weather changes to cloudy or rainy, we say that there is a change in the weather.

Change is also the word used for money in the form of coins.  In the United States, change includes pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars.  There are also dollar coins.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word change: coin money, or when one thing becomes different, like the weather changes. If there were change, coins, in the weather, well, there might be coins falling from the sky, but we all know that doesn’t happen.

John Fogerty sang about change in the weather-

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Leave Hanging

Q: What happens when winter arrives?
A: Autumn leaves!

Explanation: In the northern hemisphere winter officially starts on December 21 (winter solstice, astronomical winter), but for many places in the north, it is already cold.  Did you know that there is more than one way to mark the start of winter?  Meteorologists, people who study the weather, talk about meteorological winter which starts on December 1.  When talking about seasons, winter comes after fall; fall is also known as autumn.

In the autumn, leaves change colors and fall to the ground as the trees get ready for the winter, and the following spring.  Autumn leaves are beautiful!

Leaves, though, has another meaning.  When something leaves, it goes away.  For example, the teacher leaves home to go to work, and the student leaves school to go home.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word leaves:  The tree has leaves that change colors in the autumn (autumn leaves), and autumn leaves, or goes away, so that winter can come.

Eric Clapton has a song called Autumn Leaves

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No Thorn, No Rose

Q: Where do roses sleep?
A: In a flower bed!

Explanation: According to many surveys, roses are one of the most popular flowers.  Although they have thorns, some people say that they are not that hard to grow.

When you have a garden with flowers (as opposed to a garden with fruits and vegetables), we can call that area a flower bed.  If you prepare the flower bed well, the flowers will grow well.  I have never heard anyone call a vegetable garden a vegetable bed.

A bed, without flower, is a piece of furniture where people sleep, but you kew that.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word bed and flower bed.  Yes, it makes sense that roses would sleep, if they sleep, in a flower bed.  (Thank you, Trevor for the joke!)

Here is a motivational speech titled, Make Your Bed:

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Turkey Crossing

Q: Why did the turkey cross the road?
A: So people would think he was a chicken!

Explanation: Happy Thanksgiving!

In many countries throughout the world people celebrate a day of thanks.  In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November; that will be November 24 in 2022.  One of the traditional foods for that celebration is turkey.

This joke is funny because it plays with another, well-known joke: Why did the chicken cross the road?  (There are many cross the road jokes.)  Of course, the turkey does not want to become someone’s dinner. So, if it pretends to be a chicken as it crosses the road, it will have a better chance of staying alive, and not ending up on someone’s plate.

There is a lot of research about the benefits of being thankful, of feeling and showing gratitude.  Here is a TED talk about being grateful:

Thank you for reading this blog!

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Banner’s Begonias

Q: Why was the Incredible Hulk so good at gardening?
A: Because he had a green thumb!

Explanation: Dr. David/Robert Bruce Banner becomes the superhero known as the Hulk, or the Incredible Hulk, when he becomes angry.  In that process of becoming the Hulk, his body transforms, becoming larger with lots of muscles, and his skin turns green.  When his skin turns green, his whole body turns green, including his thumb.

To have a green thumb is an idiom that means to be really good at taking care of plants and gardens. My wife has a green thumb, which you can see when you admire the succulents, bonsai, orchid, and geraniums in the window garden.  OK, you don’t really need a green thumb to grow geraniums, but you get the idea.

This joke is funny because it plays with the literal and the figurative meanings of green thumb.

Watch here to see a transformation of Dr. Banner into the Hulk.  Better yet, watch this video to learn how to grow geraniums:

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