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Funny Ha, Ha


We all have a sense of humor, but it sometimes differs in different people. What’s funny to some, might not be funny to others. My analytical Aunt Jack, “Jaquelin Fischer”, would always reply to anyone who said, “That’s funny,” with a question: “Funny ha, ha or funny peculiar,” trying to decide if she should laugh or be perplexed. Laughter is not only God’s gift, but also a great reliever of stress. I’ve read that laughing is good for your heart, head and well-being. We need more laughter. In our family, the Fischer’s were funny, while my mother’s family were pretty stoic and for some reason laughed very little. My dad always played jokes on people, most often on family members. I remember one in particular he played on my mother. At breakfast, they both drank coffee liberally laced with cream and sugar. Dad always complained that mom’s coffee was too strong. She disagreed. My father was a welder at International Harvester and approved special welding rods for various alloys. One day, a rep came in and showed dad a special alloy that melted below the boiling point of water. It was no good for industrial use but was sometimes helpful in the electrical and pipe fitting fields. Dad hatched a plan and let me in on it. He took one of mom’s teaspoons from the silverware drawer and made an exact copy using the light weight, low melting point metal. The next morning, mom made the coffee, and dad poured them both a cup, placing a spoon in each cup. Mom’s cup had the special spoon. Dad complained, “Ginny, this coffee is too strong.” She frowned, looked at dad, and began stirring her coffee. She took the spoon out of the cup, and the bottom half had melted away. Her mouth gaped open. My brother Steve pointed but could not utter a word. Dad looked at me, and I could not help but laugh. Dad confessed his trick. Needless to say, mom was not amused. When I was teaching school, I became fond of student humor. In example, why should you never say 288? Because it’s too gross! Then another student would groan and reply, “That’s as funny as a screen door in a submarine.” Actually, one example of student humor became a great help when I retired from teaching, and began to substitute here in Meade County. It all started one day when I came into my room, and on the black board, which was green, there was a little fish drawn with “Mr.” written before its head, and “er’s class” written after its tail. The drawing of the fish substituted for the written word. I knew the kids wanted me to ask, “Who drew this picture?” But I pretended I didn’t see it and tended to business. The next morning, the picture was erased and drawn twice as big. I came in, wrote the date on the board and went about as if everything was just fine. The next day was Wednesday and the picture grew three times as big. Still, I did not say a word. I just went about my business, although I could hear giggles and snickering behind me. It was hard not to laugh. Friday, when I entered the room a little bit late, the students had drawn a great big fish with letters fore and aft. It covered the entire board, and I could not ignore it any longer. Facing the students, I asked if any of them noticed something different about the black board? We all laughed and I, the loudest. This did me good service when I began teaching in Meade County. From the day I began teaching as a substitute, I drew a little fish on the board with “Mr.” in front and “er” after the tail. I would ask the class to guess my name. They always did, and we all got to laugh together. It introduced me to the class in a fun way. I still have men and women come up to me and ask if I’m the teacher who drew the fish. That happened last week in Home Plate Restaurant. I may be wrong, but I think it was Brooke. Mr. Cornelius did something similar. He knew the secret.

GERRY FISCHER is the proud husband of Fran, father of two, retired teacher, author, and storyteller. Fran and Gerry have resided in Meade County for more than 20 years.