With Two Simple Words, My Calls Are Screened Forever
I went up to my friend McClarty yesterday. We had the following exchange of dialogue:
ME (wearing a pained expression, obviously greatly troubled): Guess what?
McCLARTY (concerned): What?
ME (cheerfully): Chicken butt!
There followed peal after peal of delighted laughter from myself. Not so much from McClarty. But that's what makes the Chicken Butt gag the funniest joke ever. Consider its power: Firstly, it is so breathtakingly asinine that its emission from a thirty-six year old mouth provides a sudden jolt of the bizarre, a glancing blow to reality that leaves witnesses agog. Secondly, it is as nonsensical as any gag can be, as my answer to the poor rube's simple one-word query satisfies not one shred of his or her intent in posing it. The enthusiastic response "Chicken butt!" can in no way aid or complete any possible discussion on any possible topic that might have been raised by the "Guess what?" question. The phrase has no verb to go with it and so it just hangs there in the air like a balloon of unfulfilled promise. A full, delicious half second passes between its delivery and the rube's realization that there's nothing more to come. In that half second, his entire world collapses in a defeated heap as he sees that precious moments of his life have just been utterly wasted. Thirdly, the whole thing does what all the best jokes do: it makes a person who is otherwise having a completely normal, productive day into an accomplice in its idiocy. Merely by saying "What?", poor McClarty became part of the joke, indelibly entwined in its web of irrelevance, causing the cold splash of water that is "Chicken butt!" to go all over himself, leaving me unscathed and perhaps even spiritually renewed. He literally asked for it. He's the one embarrassed for getting suckered; not me. No court of law in this land would be able to deny that the whole thing could have been avoided had McClarty not opened his wordhole and provoked the mental violence that ensued. And finally, what puts the icing on the cake is that I rewarded a friend's polite interest in me by permanently destroying his faith in me forever. In the blink of an eye, his regard for me plummeted to heretofore unimagined depths as I made it clear that during all the time he's known me, he's been horribly unaware that he has been dealing with a total moron. I've erected an unscalable wall of mistrust between us, for if I can come out with something so catastrophically stupid, who's to say that any further communication between us will not similarly be corrupted by my stunningly petty immaturity?
Oh, man. Chicken butt. Genius.