Dear Erudite and Learned Jokeliners of the World, Unite!

Who could have guessed on 3 March 1996 that 45 Jokelines later, we'd still be here joking away. For those of you who have been with us all this time, you may already know that Jokeline now has over 40 offices and divisions with correspondents all around the world. We are located in a very tall virtual skyscraper standing in the yale.edu domain. But tomorrow Jokeline offices floats off into the ether to location unknown. The Boyz Upstairs have promised to publish Jokeline from wherever in the world. And thus O Loyal and Magnanimous Jokeliners, fear not, for Jokeline will continue. It may go through bumpy moments in June but it will return, but the Jokeline Library is full of material. But enough of this, let's on with JL 46!

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Anecdote of the Week

About 2 weeks ago, I'm walking down the street in New Haven and this nice sporty car pulls up. The window opens. I ask, "OK, where do you need directions to?"

I look inside and see a cute woman in her 20s. She asks, "Can you spare a couple of dollars?"

Puzzled, I ask, "For what?"

She says, "I'm almost out of gas; I need to buy gas."

Well she's cute and clearly in momentary need since financially she seems normally well off even if a bit absentminded enough to forget other forms of credit. I look into my wallet and see only a $20. "You got change?"

She says no, thanks me, and drives off.

Last Monday I am walking along a different street in the same neighborhood. A blue sports car pulls up behind me and somone solicits my help. Inside there is a pretty woman, well dressed. "Excuse me," she says. "Do you have a couple of bucks?"

I ask, "For what?"

"Oh, I need gas."

Smiling, I reply. "What a coincidence, that's what you asked me for last week."

Embarrassment contorts her face into a twisted smile, "Oops.... Sorry." She drives away.

Then I thought of all the lines I should have used...

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I strongly encourage Jokeliners to send in their anecdotes. Funny, stupid, and wildly accidental things happen to us all the time and Jokeline wants to know!

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Facts About College

Many of you young persons out there are seriously thinking about going to college. (That is, of course, a lie. The only things you young persons think seriously about are loud music and sex. Trust me: these are closely related to college.)

College is basically a bunch of rooms where you sit for roughly 2000 hours and try to memorize things. The 2000 hours are spread out over 4 years; you spend the rest of the time sleeping and trying to get dates.

Basically, you learn two things in college:

* Things you will need to know in later life (two hours). These include how to make collect telephone calls and get beer and crepe-paper stains out of your pajamas.

* Things you will not need to know in later life (1,998 hours). These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in -ology, -osophy, -istry, -ics, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them. If you fail to forget them, you become a professor and have to stay in college for the rest of your life.

It's very difficult to forget everything. For example, when I was in college, I had to memorize -- don't ask me why -- the names of three metaphysical poets other than John Donne. I have managed to forget one of them, but I still remember that the other two were named Vaughan and Crashaw. Sometimes, when I'm trying to remember something important like whether my wife told me to get tuna packed in oil or tuna packed in water, Vaughan and Crashaw just pop up in my mind, right there in the supermarket.

After you've been in college for a year or so, you're supposed to choose a major, which is the subject you intend to memorize and forget the most things about. Here is a very important piece of advice: Be sure to choose a major that does not involve Known Facts and Right Answers.

This means you must *not* major in mathematics, physics, biology, or chemistry, because these subjects involve actual facts. If, for example, you major in mathematics, you're going to wander into class one day and the professor will say: "Define the cosine integer of the quadrant of a rhomboid binary axis, and extrapolate your result to five significant vertices." If you don't come up with *exactly* the answer the professori has in mind, you fail. The same is true of chemistry: if you write in youri exam book that carbon and hydrogen combine to form oak, your professor will flunk you. He wants you to come up with the same answer he and all the other chemists have agreed on. Scientists are extremely snotty about this.

So you should major in subjects like English, philosophy, and psychology -- subjects in which nobody really understands what anybody else is talking about, and which involve virtually no actual facts. I attended classes in all these subjects, so I'll give you a quick overview of each:

ENGLISH: This involves writing papers about long books you have read little snippets of just before class. Here is a tip on how to get good grades on your English papers: Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say that Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in *your* paper, *you* say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland. Your professor, who is sick to death of reading papers and never liked Moby-Dick anyway, will think you are enormously creative. If you can regularly come up with lunatic interpretations of simple stories, you should major in English.

PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs.

PSYCHOLOGY: This involves talking about rats and dreams. Psychologists are *obsessed* with rats and dreams. I once spent an entire semester training a rat to punch little buttons in a certain sequence, then training my roommate to do the same thing. The rat learned much faster. My roommate is now a doctor. If you like rats or dreams, and above all if you dream about rats, you should major in psychology.

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Thanks to loyal reader Dave Barry for writing this piece.

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Dear Mom and Dad:

It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness. I will bring you up to date, but before you read on, please sit down.

Well then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed. I only get those sick headaches once a day.

Fortunately the fire in the dormitory and my jump were witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the fire department and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital and since I had nowhere to live, because of the burned out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it's kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to be married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.

Yes Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the love, devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing our pre-marital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up with the penicillin injections I am taking daily.

I know you will welcome him into our family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I know your oft expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his skin color is somewhat darker than ours. I am sure you will love him as I do. His family background is good too, for I am told that his father is an important gun-bearer in the village in Africa from which he came.

Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture. I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged. I do not have syphilis and there is no man (of any color) in my life. However, I am getting a 'D' in History and an 'F' in Science and I wanted you to see those marks in the proper perspective.

Your Loving Daughter

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Ivies Go To Sesame Street

The year was 2020, the average tuition (per year) for each Ivy League institution was $84,242 and they just weren't getting enough applicants. So they decided, in an unprecendented move to take out advertising in the middle of Sesame Street episodes. Read on for their masterful slogans...

BROWN:

Hey kids! Is half of your head shaved? Do you have a nose ring? Are you terribly progressive and do you have a lot of empathy? Are you sick and tired of silly things like grades and majors? COME TO BROWN!!!

COLUMBIA:

Hey kids! Do you like Harlem? Do you like commuters? Are you planning on transferring to another Ivy school after your freshman year? COME TO COLUMBIA!!!

HARVARD:

Hey kids! Do you hate teachers? I mean really hate them? Do you never want to have another teacher again? And what about a social life? Do you hate that, too? COME TO HARVARD!!!

PRINCETON:

Hey kids! Do you have any idea what an eating club is? Are you pompous? Can you learn to be? Are you the smartest person you know? How many clubs were you in in high school? Have you always dreamed of living in the great state of New Jersey? COME TO PRINCETON!!!

PENN:

Hey kids! Did you like high school a lot? How about four more years of the same? Are you dying to visit scenic West Philadelphia? Does the concept of rigorous academics scare you? COME TO PENN!!!

CORNELL:

Hey kids! Do you hate intimacy? Are you interested in jumping off high places? Have you ever wanted to converse with future hotel managers? Do you like bureaucracy? Do you like archaic forms and the chance to stand in lines with the best and brightest? COME TO CORNELL -- The Big Red Tape!!!

YALE:

Hey kids! Do you want to get shot? COME TO YALE!!!

DARTMOUTH:

Hey kids! Do you hate civilization? Looking to get away from stuff like culture and people? Do you like to drink? Do you like to drink some more? Do you like to continue to drink? And what's your feeling on drinking? COME TO DARTMOUTH!!!

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Thanks to Daniel Smith-Rowsey who is returning from a long spate of teaching English in Madrid.

Well kids, the Boyz Upstairs and the Jokemaster would like to thank you for support and see you next issue!

Jokemaster

www.chloe.hgs.yale.edu/~jkohl/jokeline/jokeline.html