John Arnold: Laughter is the best medicine

This week in his column John Arnold tells us some jokes and tales to put a smile on our faces during these difficult days
John Arnold: Laughter is the best medicine
Gary Cooper in High Noon back in 1952.

THE last week has been like years back when we first got the television. I suppose it was around 1963. Of course I used to love black and white Western and Cowboy films.

To my young mind over half a century ago, there were really only two types of films that were any good in the ‘Western World’. One was where it was just cowboys and Indians and nearly always the Indians were seen as the ‘savages’ trying to kill the ‘white man’. The second type then was the Western where two or more cowboy gangs fought each other —like High Noon and Gunfight at The OK Corral.

Whichever was on the telly, there was always ‘the calm before the storm’ like we’ve been experiencing at this strange time.

Where ‘twas cowboys and Indians, the rival armies usually camped on opposite hills the night before the showdown. Smoke signals rose from the Indians wigwams and tepees while the cowboys sat around big fires, drank strong coffee and were constantly spitting into spittoons.

There was always an eerie silence during the night. Maybe in the distance you’d hear the plaintive cry of a lone or lonesome coyote.

All hell would break out at first light but the night was a blanket of black, creepy darkness.

Similarly the films about the gangs. The fights were nearly always on the street of some town like Loredo or Santa Fe. The saloons might be full of rival gunslingers but the morning of the showdown all that moved on the dusty trail was a tumble-weed, rolling along — going nowhere. A church bell might ring out — not the Angelus, just a few tolls as if to warn of the impending bloodbath. Then the saloon doors would swing open and all hell would break loose.

I was thinking I might write about some of the classic cowboy and western films I’ve seen down the years but then I thought ‘Naw, they sure ain’t much fun in them dere fights’.

God knows in these days of unprecedented anticipation of an impending mystery ‘tisn’t bullets, scalps and massacres we need at all!


There was a woman walking back towards Bartlemy about 60 years ago, cars were scarce at the time.

Well, didn’t Danjoe McCarthy from Templeboden come along in his lorry — probably coming from Cork after delivering a load of eggs or poultry. He half knew the woman and where she lived so he offered her a drive. She was delighted.

“I suppose Mr McCarthy, you do a lot of driving and travelling?” she enquired.

“Indeed I do,” replied Danjoe. “Yerra, I’d often go to Dublin and Cork three or four times a week, yes I travel a lot.”

“Me too,” she replie, “I’ve even been to Conna!”


This couple were out for a drive of a Sunday. Out of nowhere stepped a Civic Guard and up with the hand. The man driving the car rolled down the window and the Guard said he was doing 40 miles an hour in a 30 mile zone.

He protested: ‘I wasn’t, Guard, I was going fairly slow,” to which the wife retorted from the passenger seat: “He was going too fast alright Guard, I’m always telling him to slow down.”

The Guard continued: “You haven’t this car taxed I, see.”

“Well,” came the reply, “‘tis like this Guard, the letter about the tax came from the county council about two months ago and I had it up on top of the wireless; well, I was in Cork Monday and paid it and the girl said I’d have the tax in the post in a day or two but it never came.”

The wife piped up;: “Don’t mind him Guard, the letter is still at home on top of the wireless!”

The Guard then claimed the driver was not wearing the seat belt when he stopped him.

“Oh I was Guard but I just opened it when I saw you,” to which the wife replied: “He never wears the belt Guard and I’m always telling him to.”

Well, the husband was fit to burst, he turned to herself and said; “Woman can’t you keep your effing mouth shut and leave me deal with the f*****g guard.”

At this the Guard said to the wife: “Madam, does he always use bad language like that to you?”

“Yerra no Guard — only when he has a lot of drink taken!”


A man arrived at the Pearly Gates of Heaven and was met by St Peter. “Tell me,” said St Peter, “how did you get here?” The reply came quickly: “Flu.”


People used be always giving out to me that I was out nearly every night at matches and meetings and that ‘twas very lonely for my wife at home alone. Well, last month when I got the Creamery Cheque for the milk I sent her off to Cork to buy a pet, for company like. She was back just in time to milk the cows. She beeped the horn of the car as she came into the yard. Out I went. She opened the boot of the car — I was expecting she’d bought a little dog a Shitsui or a Mitsubishi or something like that. I got a fair land when out of the boot she took a live brown monkey like you’d see in Duffy’s circus long ago!’

“Well,” says she, “what do you think of him?”

What could I say, and I after paying good money for him.

“He’s grand,” says I, “but I was wondering, what’ll he ate?”

She said they said in the shop that he’d ate the same as myself.

“And,” says I, “what’ll he drink?”

“Well,” says she, “they said he’ll drink the same as you.”

“Ok,” says I, “but where’ll he sleep?”

“He can sleep in the bed with you,” she said.

“What about the smell?” says I.

“He’ll get used to it,” says she.


Judge in a courtroom says to the accused: “Tell me now, is this the first time you’ve been up before me?”

“I don’t know,” came the reply. “What time do you get up at?”

This wannabe soldier was doing an Aptitude Test as part of his Entrance Exam for the Defence Forces.

“Now, young man, imagine this grave scenario. You are out in a dense jungle situation on your own, out of a clearing a mad lion comes charging at you with huge jaws wide open, in that situation what steps would you take?”

“Big ones,” came the reply.


When Pope Frances was a young man in his native Argentina he loved driving fast cars. When he came to the Vatican he wanted to drive himself but Papal rules decreed he have a full-time driver. One morning he was being driven in his Merc to Rome Airport but they were hours early so the Pope persuaded the driver to let him drive around the streets by himself for an hour first.

The driver wasn’t too happy but the Pope is the Pope so the driver sat in the back seat with the blacked out windows and Francis drove off. Up streets and down streets he drove but the layout had been changed, unbeknownst to Frances, and up he went the wrong way in a one-way street. He was stopped by a Gendarme or whatever they call the Roman policia. When he rolled down the window the policeman got a bit of a fright and immediately go on his phone to a police Chief back in the Station.

“I’ve just stopped someone very, very important,” he blurted out to his boss.

“Is it a King or a Queen?”

“I’m not sure,” replied the policeman.

“Is it an Ambassador or a General?”

“I’m not sure,” came the reply again

“How do you know it’s someone important?” asked the Chief.

“It has to be someone very, very important... because the Pope is driving him!”


This man wanted to buy a present for his wife’s birthday. He went to a chemist and said he’d like to buy a nice bottle of perfume. The girl behind the counter showed him a bottle of Eau de Pomme for €75.

“Too expensive,” he said. She brought out a smaller bottle of Eau de Parfum for €50.

“Still too dear,” he said.

The assistant was getting a bit fed up but she showed him a tiny bottle of Eau de Violetta for €25.

“That’s still too dear, what I want is something very, very cheap,” so she gave him a mirror to look at!

Two frogs fell into a bucket of cream

And must paddle to keep afloat; But one soon tired and sank to rest

With a gurgling sigh in his throat.

The other paddled away all night,

And not a croak did he utter,

And with the coming of morning light

He rode on an island of butter.

The flies came thick to his island home

And made him a breakfast snappy.

The milkmaid shrieked and upset the pail,

And froggy hopped away happy.

We can all find a moral in this rhyme,

And should hasten at once to apply:

Success will come in the most difficult time

If we paddle and never say die!.

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