It takes a great sense of humor to appreciate a great joke. I have a good sense of humor. You see, you gotta be able to appreciate the nuances; the little pieces of the joke that make it funny, without askin’ you to laugh. If you can’t do that, then that joke is gonna fall deader than a door nail right in front of you. This is why Charlie and I were such great friends; he could tell the jokes, and I could appreciate them. That’s why I called him “Punchline”. He never fuckin’ stopped bein’ funny, like that time
You see, no one else could appreciate Charlie’s last joke. A town of five hundred people and just a fifth of a percent of them could realize the true genius of it, catch all of the nuances and fit the pieces together. The other ninety-nine-point-eight saw that joke fall dead.
The greatness of a great joke comes in the “turn”, so to speak. That is, the unexpected takes the place of the expected, and takes anyone hearing the joke by surprise. Or something like that (some famous guy said that last bit). So, for Charlie’s joke to be as good as it was, he had to set up the expected.
Charlie, since I knew him, was a straight-fuckin’-A student. He studied, did homework and reading, and aced everything. I never saw anything but that goddamn proto-alphabetic symbol on anything a teacher handed back. Now, let me make something clear here. I’m not sayin’ I was jealous. That was just what he did. He couldn’t help it, even if he had wanted to. He didn’t, but that’s alright because I knew he couldn’t help it. Even when that fuckin’ asshole McArthur wrote that stupid fuckin’ note on my test – Looks like your buddy left you “B”-hind – he couldn’t help it. “You know he’s an asshole,” Charlie said to me a...
... middle of paper ...
...e’s clues think I’m the fuckin’ crazy one.
You see, I have a good sense of humor. Not like these others here. I woulda thought it was the best joke in the world, the ultimate April Fools. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I just have a good sense of humor. I pieced it together, but not all of it. I missed some of those nuances. Because of ol’, fuckin’ good-not-great me, I never saw the true joke Charlie had been settin’ up. I never saw that it was on me. Charlie set-up me up an expectation, and I had to face that turn to the unexpected.
It was just like Charlie to turn off the switch on the 28th. Give ‘em that three days. That final set-up. So, on April 1st, two thousand, fuckin’ twelve, I sit laughing in the front row of the Mitcheltown Presbyterian Church as my best fuckin’ friend serves the punchline for the greatest joke ever told from the inside of an oak box.
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