(Eric Shansby)

If you think columnists want all the readers they can get, you have another think coming. Too many readers, too many letters to answer. So from time to time we like to “thin the herd.” I do it by rewriting corny old jokes into Shakespearean sonnets.

Why the Blind Man Crossed the Road

A man who could not see just crossed the road

For reasons that I scarcely wish to say.

Right quick did he get flattened, like a toad

Beneath the wheel of someone’s Chevrolet.

The move he made was reckless and unwise.

Defying both clear wisdom, and the laws —

What would possess a person lacking eyes

To take a risk like that for no good cause?

For no car could have stopped or even slowed

So quick in danger’s way this guy did veer.

Why did the blind man boldly cross the road?

The answer, it is sad and odd, but clear.

He crossed the road (and thus his heart
stopped tickin’)

Because he followed blind his seein’-eye chicken.

The Old Man and the Genie

A man of Jewish faith and long white beard

Encountered on the beach a silver dish

From which a genie suddenly appeared

And said he’d grant the man a single wish.

With paper and a pen the old man drew

A Middle Eastern map in his own hand.

“Bring peace to ev’ry Arab, ev’ry Jew

For centuries, within this troubled land.”

Aghast, the genie said, “The task’s too big!

Might not you make a wish that’s less complex?”

The old man thought. “Perhaps you might
things rig

So my wife will maybe give me oral sex?”

The genie scratched his head and blinked, and then

He coughed and said, “Let’s see that map again.”

The Bear, the Hippie, the Rednecks and the Priest

Walking in the woods, a priest espied

A sandaled hippie under a fierce bear.

Then, from the brush a pair of rednecks hied

And shot the grizzly deader than a chair.

They put the big beast’s carcass on their hood

And gently helped the hippie to the back.

The priest remarked upon this show of good

And praised their work in ending the attack.

“Though your politics and his must be at odds,

You’ve shown that for all humans you still care!”

And then he left. One redneck said, “Ye gods!

Some priests know squat ‘bout how to hunt
for bear.”

“Now let’s make sure the hippie’s still okay

Or we’ll have to find more bait in town today.”

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