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Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One

By Steve Witham

Mr. Witham is a man in whom the creative juices stir in strange ways. He does not have your ordinary way of telling the story about the man walking into a bar and the parrot.

A man walks into a bar and says, “This isn’t my parrot.”

A man walks into a piano and says, “This isn’t my ego, it’s some absurd collection of colored shirts.”

A man walks into a shirt factory and goes immediately to the foreman. “Where’s the foreman?” he asks. “I don’t know,” says the foreman, “but you can have my parrot.”

A man walks into a signpost and says, “Which way to the bathroom?” The signpost pees on his shoes.

A parrot walks into a bar and says, “Why are the stools so high, haven’t you ever seen a parrot before?” The bartender brings him a small chair.

A man stands on a chair and says, “At last I’m as tall as my ego; somebody bring me a drink up here.”

A barn walks into a fence and says, “Say, haven’t I seen you before?” The fence says, “Can’t say one way or the other.”

A man walks up his forearm and says, “I wish I were back on the shop floor.”

A man climbs up on a barstool and says, “Y’know, I’m not as tall as I used to be–get me a drink.” “That doesn’t make sense,” says the bartender, “You only been here since yesterday.”

A man gets out his pocket calculator and plays a little tune. “That’s my first masterpiece,” he thinks, just as a truck runs him over.

A man runs into an alley, checks his watch and then covers his ears. After five seconds he disappears silently.

A man wears a plaid suit and walks with a swagger. As he comes into view, birds break into song. He nods to them.

A man sits down on a park bench and takes off his hat. His head cracks open and a goddess springs forth. She is wearing tennis shoes and tights.

A pilgrim arrives at a shrine on her knees. The rain is pouring. As the pilgrim closes her eyes to pray, the shrine collapses in a pile of rubble. A dove flies away unseen by the pilgrim.

A man dreams of a cake. His relatives come and eat the cake, one piece at a time. As he reaches for the last piece, a voice says, “Haven’t you had enough?”

A bird flies over a rainforest. The sun is rising over the curve of the earth. There are clouds to the south, mountains to the west.

A telephone rings in the basement of an abandoned building. People are walking by on the sidewalk.

A monster rises from beneath a pile of rocks. His butler has his jacket, hat and walking stick ready. The date is January fourth.

The crest of a hill is decorated by remnants of an apple crate. Fog rises from the ground.

A man checks into a hotel under the name of Finch. For four days he doesn’t leave his room. On the fifth day the janitor finds his room key in a laundry chute.

A preacher, a rabbi, and a psychiatrist are out fishing in a rowboat in the middle of a lake. Suddenly a great thunderstorm comes up. The boat is pitching in the wind, but all three men refuse to say anything.

A man stops another man on the street. “Haven’t you heard?” he asks, “They found another one last night.”

A parrot walks into a bar and says,
“Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.”

Copyright © 1997 by Steven Witham
This page was last updated May 20, 1997.