(Roughly) Daily

Some things never change…

Readers may recall an earlier missive regarding Philogelos (The Laughter-Lover) the oldest extant joke book, compiled in the 4th/5th Century CE.  The helpful folks at Dave, a British cable/satellite channel, have taken the excavation a step further, funding research at the University of Wolverhampton to identify the ten oldest (surviving) jokes in the world.  Entries from Philogelos are the last (most recent) two on the list.  The oldest?

1. Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap (1900 BC – 1600 BC Sumerian Proverb Collection 1.12-1.13)

2. How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish (An abridged version first found in 1600 BC on the Westcar Papryus)

3. Three ox drivers from Adab were thirsty: one owned the ox, the other owned the cow and the other owned the wagon’s load. The owner of the ox refused to get water because he feared his ox would be eaten by a lion; the owner of the cow refused because he thought his cow might wander off into the desert; the owner of the wagon refused because he feared his load would be stolen. So they all went. In their absence the ox made love to the cow which gave birth to a calf which ate the wagon’s load. Problem: Who owns the calf?! (1200 BC)

For the remainder of the equally Catskills-ready rundown, click here.  Read the Reuters backgrounder here.

As we work on our patter, we might wish a racy birthday to Jacqueline Susann, whose 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls, is the best-selling novel of all time (having sold over 30 million copies so far, 2 million more copies worldwide than Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, its closest competition); she was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1918.

Paperback Cover

Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 20, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized