Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A joke about martial arts

Here's my new joke:
There's so many kinds of kung fu; white crane, crouching tiger, drunken monkey, cherry garcia, ugly stepchild.  Sorry, I got confused.  That last one was actually a flavour of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream.  It didn't sell well; only slightly better than the vanilla with tiny lumps of fudge in it endorsed by Louis Armstrong: Blowin' Chunks.

Yesterday I hurtled home at lunchtime to pick up my chequebook, only to realise that I'd left my doorkeys on my desk at the office.  Luckily I realised this two minutes before I got home, which meant I'd had the full benefit of sitting on a tram in 30 degree heat, sweating through my shirt.  I jumped straight into a taxi and sped back to Central.

Luckily, it wasn't just me having a forgetful day; the taxi driver forgot to start his meter until half way through the journey.  It's about 40 dollars from Happy Valley to Central, but when I tried to pay him this much he only took thirty - an unexpected display of helpfulness.  Of course, if I'd been a proper economist and intent on maximising my utility, I should have started at twenty and waited for him to bargain me up.

Or beat me with a tire-iron.

Still, it was good just to travel back safely; this was the same week that somebody managed to crash a minibus into a taxi (or the other way round - reports are scarce on detail) and bounce the minibus into the air and down into a pedestrian subway.  Undaunted by the possibility of death or being stuck upside down, I got into a second taxi and went back to Happy Valley, picked up my chequebook and then took a third taxi back to the office.

And then carried on perspiring for half an hour.  Luckily, I had a shirt to change into.  Unluckily, I'd already changed into it before taxi journey number three, so I was stuck, soaking, for the rest of the day.

That, and rushing through traffic to get to see the estate agent in the evening, did not put me in the best mental state.  It was a perfunctory visit to our potential new flat; I got to look at the front door (still there, still oblong), the windows (likewise) and the fridge, and having assured myself that the bathroom actually had a door (I've been caught out before by a landlady who vehemently insisted that doors to bathrooms were optional extras1).

Still, having left a deposit on the flat, I went to Poppy's, a Cantonese Italian restaurant. Well, one out of three isn't bad, I suppose. Vaguely satisfying pizza partly consumed, I embroiled myself in a short argument with my girlfriend over the division of the bill (her thoroughgoing scepticism at the strength of my mental arithmetic is something of a bind, and it's not as if I can demonstrate it in public by giving her a stout kick2), then took the MTR back to Central again.

All this use of public transport is exhausting to write, and, I guess, to read. At least it was late enough in the day that nobody was filling the carriage with all their possessions, contained in black plastic bags. Perhaps that's because of the new sign on the gates at Central, instructing you to only carry one bag of reasonable size upon the MTR. Or perhaps that means they're trying to make the MTR staff feel more important, by pretending that the Hong Kong underground railway is actually an Airbus 380, if you just turn your head and squint a bit.

The point was, by the time I got to the comedy club for open mike, it was twenty minutes in, I was exhausted, and I gabbled through my set in exactly six minutes, when even at a quick pace it should be seven. If only when I got more tired I talked more slowly, then preparing for a gig would be simplicity itself.

On the positive side, I met a Brazilian model who could lick one of her own elbows.

On the negative side, I can only think of one joke to make about that, and it's not so much a joke as something that involves at least one person punching me in the mouth after I've made an improper suggestion.

But, the model is going away from Hong Kong and needs somewhere to store some furniture, and now we have an enormous flat to fill with stuff, so I think that we could soon have our own desk. For free. Except it won't be our desk. And after six months it will go away again.

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why, when I got home and woke my girlfriend up to tell her that I'd been in a bar with a strange drunk woman from Brazil who was going to let me look after her desk for half a year, that she wasn't overjoyed to be told this.

Some people can be so unappreciative.

Tomorrow, back to the club for eight minutes of carefully crafted and rehearsed jokes. No, really. I also get to test out whether "fat neck" or "stupid neck" is more amusing. It's all in the details, isn't it?

1 On reflection, perhaps I should have been insulted by the suggestion that I'd never take a shower in the bathroom so there'd be no need to prevent steam flowing into the rest of the flat.
2 Yup, it's Wednesday, which means it's high time I invoked an eighteenth century philosopher as a way of winning an argument.


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