I received an email today from one of my internet chums, Dr. David Kamens, emeritus professor of history at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. I’ve never met the good Dr. Kamens face-to-face, but we have developed a most enjoyable email friendship over the last few years made possible by our mutual friendship with Richard Harris. Richard is my high school classmate, East High, Superior, WI, class of ’63. He is also the legendary, much beloved, and now retired director of Ball State’s highly acclaimed Disability Services program.
David was commenting on my original posting on Cromwell’s Head entitled A Rhetorician and a Philosopher Walk Into A Bar…” He was waiting for the punchline. It not being forthcoming quickly enough (in truth, without prodding from David, there never would have been a punchline), Dr. Kamens decided to supply his own punchline. “Try this,” he wrote: “. . . & when the bartender asks ‘whussup?’ the two trip over themselves to respond first.”
Okay. It’s a start. I replied: “The rhetorician will always win the race to be first to respond. The philosopher will lose time as he fills his pipe, struggles to get it drawing properly, and then begins to muse dreamily about the nature of up vs. down. By that time, the rhetorician will have spewed enough words that, if properly rearranged, would make a decent translation of War & Peace.”
Upon further thought, I decided that my response was not in the spirit of the “….walks into a bar” game. So I offer this: “A rhetorician and a philosopher walk into a bar where they are recognized by the bartender who had taken classes from the aging professors as an undergraduate. Remembering their loquaciousness, the bartender decided to cut off discussion and asked them: “What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?” Think about it. When you get it, you’ll laugh and laugh and laugh.
Fine; if you think you can do better than David or I, go ahead, give it a shot. But let me warn you, comedy is not easy. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org