Perfect Joke.

What if I start telling you a story about a family that had not laughed for two generations? Do you imagine them living in a place as bleak and gloomy as if from the pages of King's books? The father of the family is a good Catholic who eats no meat on Fridays and marries enamoured couples on rare Sundays beneath a silver moon. His wife is a woman of honesty and reputation who eats bananas with fork and knife each morning and does her best to grow the plum-shaped tomatoes in the garden. Don't be funny! Jokes are such nonsense! Just a flow of words that makes senseless noise. A joke is a mere uproar of rushing water, confessing once again to being simply a tribute to our ego, an exercise of ignorance and overstatement in a constant run for attention. What I am looking for, though, is not attention, but the best beginning of the perfect joke. What should it be about? A married couple doing household chores and monkeying around? God's twitter account? A guy who walks into a bar? The images that could be listed in this connection are legion. I like good jokes: jokes that puzzle you to brain numbness; jokes that bring blush on your cheeks with coarse allusions; spontaneous, impromptu expressions that make everyone laugh, and unique wordplays that so often lose their beauty in translation. Hardly will you be lucky enough to meet a serious office worker in a well-tailored black suit with an umbrella heading for a 6.30 train wearing different socks. What is even less possible, is that this seemingly mundane story through a fine art of narrating will be made into a joke about many bodies being crammed like sardines on the way to work. Jokes and laughter return us to the springtime of our lives, the very nature of them lying deeper than I could ever imagine. Now, in my adulthood, I think of my father more often – a good Catholic who loved his simple wife, whose biggest ambition and pride was her small and cozy garden. Now I clearly see things that were invisible to me before: a real-life hell of poverty, injustice and hard life is out there, and there is another hell we are told about by the church doctrine. The perception of humour as a gateway and release from the former and as a means to make good friends in the latter fascinates me. The privileges people have in low life are so few, and necessity has no pity whatsoever for the poor. In my story, humour and life's drama are mingled together so closely! You have never imagined God as a funny man, right? In the wake of current proneness to atheism, you are probably right in believing in his non-existence. I, in my turn, know by heart from my father how the opening chapter goes: In the beginning was a Word, and the Word was with God. This Word of his was not just one. It was muttering under his nose, sighing, laughing loudly – he was looking for the perfect beginning, the same way I am now. Forget about the story I told in the beginning, as there is no man in the world who never laughed. What I take great pride in is that I can, and definitely will, pass on to the future generations the jokes my father used to tell so often. I now find it the right time to share the one I like most; it goes as follows: How do you make holy water? – Boil the hell out of it! I am fully confident now that all that is kind in the world, as well as true friendship and good intentions, starts exactly with this simplicity. Boil the hell out of everything and joke!

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Tiana Mar

Poet & Aspiring Author

Srebrenica, Bosnia & Herzegovina