John is my second oldest friend. The only older friend I have is Mike, who I saw this spring for the first time in 20 years. But John has lived in New Haven almost as long as we've been in Connecticut. So, I see him a lot. And have for years. He was a graduate student in Morgantown, WV when Bern and I lived there in 1971-73. He's a West Virginian, like Bern and I. He's a psychologist who works for the VA in West Haven and has a private practice. He is an unconventional therapist, which is one of the things I like about him since I've always been an unconventional priest.
We met because he's an Episcopalian and we went to church together. In fact, now that I think about it, I met him in the late 60's, before Bern and I were married, at St. Gabrial's in Morgantown and then re-connected when Bern and I came back after my two years at Harvard and our marriage in rhere.
John is one of the two people who goes on vacation with Bern and Mimi and Tim and I each September. This time next week we'll be in our house on Oak Island and ready for our first night there.
John is remarkably funny. Not just humorous but by having jokes.
Two he told tonight when he came for dinner.
A blind cowboy walks into a girl's Biker Bar. He gets a drink and says, to whoever is near him, "Anyone want to hear a blond joke?"
The woman to his right says, "I'll give you a break because you're blind. But need to know that I'm blonde and I'm an ex-Marine and the bartender is blond and she's an ex-Marine and the woman on the other side of you is blond and she's an ex-Marine and four women at a table over there are karate teachers and they're all blond. So, do you want to tell your 'blond joke'?
"Well, no," the man said, "not if I'll have to explain it seven times...."
The other one goes like this:
A man sees someone he's known for years and is really good friends with and is so excited to meet up with him on the street. The only thing is, his friend has a big orange head.
So the guy talks to his old friend for a while, catching up, and then says, "what happened to your head?"
"Oh," the old friend tells him, "I had a genie in a bottle and I had three wishes. My first wish was for a wonderful house. See that house over there with the pool, that's my house. My second wish was for a beautiful, loving wife. See that beautiful woman by the pool? She's my wife and she loves me to death. Then, I think the mistake I made was that I wished for a big orange head."
People differ greatly about what they think is funny. John had told those two jokes to Sherry, the sixth person of our vacation 'family' and when he told the second one she said, "why did he wish for a big orange head?"
I'm sure you've been in the position to 'explain' a joke. You just can't. Jokes are like this--you 'get them' or you don't and there is no place in between to explain them.
John and Sherry will be going to Oak Island with Bern and Mimi and Tim and I. And at no time will any of us try to explain that joke.
John is dear and funny and a profoundly good friend. I look forward to our time together in a week.
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