Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
I had a friend who was adamantly against the anthropomorphism of animals, but not in the way that vegans tend to over-protect them against jokes which the creatures themselves would never understand. He spent most of his adult life shooting them.
Another friend used to get into a seething rage if he ever heard of an animal being called by a human name, preferring 'Fido' or 'Rover' for dogs. God knows what he would have thought about my friend's Border Collie called 'Steve', or another friend's budgie called 'Margaret'.
Yet another acquaintance would get very angry if she saw an animal dressed in human clothing, seeing it as demeaning to the animal. Some animals do not like being laughed at, it's true, but I suspect this is because the sound of a load of humans making braying noises whilst staring at the surrounded creature must be unsettling - a bit like us being encircled by a pack of howling wolves which had previously shown no signs of ill intent.
I prefer the jokes which start off looking as though they are straying into the realms of anthropomorphism, but then wrong-foot you at the last minute. Here is a recent example:
A man is sitting on a bench watching another man approaching with his dog. The dog stops to sniff part of a wall, then stands on its hind legs and places its front paws on the wall and proceeds to piss standing upright, much to the amazement of the observer.
"Has your dog always peed like that?" asks the incredulous man.
"Ever since the wall fell on him."
I'm pretty sure I have already told you this true story, but it was so long ago that it would stand another airing, even though it is now famous.
The wife of a British diplomat would take their young son to the central park in Khartoum every day, because the father was posted to the embassy in Sudan. The boy was intrigued by the life-size statue of General Gordon mounted on a camel.
After a few years, the diplomat was posted elsewhere and preparations were made to move their entire household to another country. On the morning of their imminent departure, the boy became insistent that they go to the park to say goodbye to Gordon forever, and the mother agreed to it and took him there.
The boy bid a tearful farewell, and they left the park for the last time.
Eventually, as they were going home, the lad turned to his mother and asked, "Who was that man sitting on Gordon?"