by Robert Brow  (    Aurora, Ontario         June 2008

 When I was a boy we used to ask riddles of the genre : "Why did the
 owl owl?" Answer "Because the woodpecker would peck her." "Vy voudn't
 de viper viper nose?" Answer "Because the adder ad er ankerchief."

 That kind of humor is dated and childish. Here are some more recent
 animal jokes, where the punch line is based on a different way of
 looking at the reality in the story.

 "What does a mummy kangaroo say when it rains?" Answer "I just hate
 these days when the children have to play inside."

 A couple thought their dog had died, so they rushed to the vet to
 check if he was still alive. The vet laid the animal on the table,
 picked up a cat from a basket and let it walk up and down the dog's
 back. "Yes, I am sorry your dog is dead, or he would have jumped up.
 That will be $333." The couple demanded an explanation for the cost.
 "It is just $33 for the surgery visit, but $300 for the cat scan."

 The Vegetarian Society hired an Elephant to go round every town in
 England with a big sign on both sides : "This is what vegetarianism
 does for you."

 A panda walked into a restaurant, ordered his meal, and ate it
 quietly. When he had finished, he pulled out a gun and shot the
 bottles off the bar. As he was walking out the manager rushed up to
 ask "What do you think you are doing?" The animal told him to look up
 the word panda in a dictionary, and ran off. The dictionary said "The
 panda is a tree-dwelling black and white animal that eats, shoots, and

 Little Joey was visiting the lions' cage at the zoo with his father.
 "Dad, if that lion gets out of the cage right now and attacks you,
 what bus do I take home?"

 A magician used to put on magic shows on a transatlantic liner, but he
 had a parrot that kept spoiling the tricks by saying "He's got it up
 his sleeve" or "That box has a false bottom." One day the ship hit an
 iceberg and sank. The magician saved himself on a raft. Three days
 later the parrot arrived exhausted and said "OK, I give up, where did
 you hide the ship?"

 A cowboy was thrown from his horse and broke a leg. The animal picked
 the man up by his belt, carried him home, and went to fetch a doctor.
 Another cowboy said he had the smartest horse on the ranch. "Don't you
 believe it, that animal is so stupid he came back with a vet."

 In these the joke arises from a clash between two models of reality.
 That is why they are similar to the method used in the model theology
 offered on this website. When there seems to be a problem in a Bible
 passage we look for an alternative model in which the difficulty is
 dissolved. Many objections to Christian faith are based on a wrong
 interpretation of what Jesus is recorded as saying in the Gospels.

Robert Brow
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