Thursday, August 04, 2005

# Posted 8:03 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

REAGAN'S HUMOR: In addition to his talent for making the unexpected quip, Reagan had an extensive repertoire of set-piece stories calculated to delight his audience. Below are two of them that I came across while reading Dinesh D'Souza's book about the Great Communicator.

The first of the two has a special resonance for those of us who have personally endured the perils of the British welfare state. It is also one of those stories that Reagan probably would've told only in all-male company:
Winston Churchill...arrived at a London hotel for a function when he decided to stop by the men's room. No sooner did he find a position to relieve himself than who should enter the men's room but his old political rival Clement Attlee. To Churchill's surprise, Attlee came and stood right next to him, so Churchill nervously moved a few places away. "My, my, Winston," Attlee exclaimed. "Are we being modest?" Churchill replied, "Not at all Clement. It's just that whenever you see something that is large, privately owned and working well, you want to nationalize it." (pp. 209)
The second of the two is one Reagan's many jokes about life in the Soviet Union:
A man...goes to the Soviet bureau of transportation to order an automobile. He is informed that he will have to put down his money now, but there is a ten-year wait. Nevertheless, he fills out the various forms and has them processed through the various agencies, and he signs in countless places, and finally he gets to the last agency, where they put the stamp on his papers. He pays them his money, and they say, "Come back in ten years and your car." He asks, "Morning or afternoon?" The man in the agency says, "We're talking about ten years from now. What difference does it make? He replies, "The plumber is coming in the morning." (pp. 139)
And to think that some day our children won't even understand why that's funny.
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