The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, April 18, 2002  


Herewith we direct your attention to a priceless essay in the International Herald-Tribune by Ramesh Thakur, vice rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo.

A few of the jokes in Thakur's collection are familiar: "Pity Mexico -- so far from God, so close to America." Similarly, "Pity Ireland -- so close to God, so far from America."

Thakur, who hails from Indian, adds a personal observation: "I grew up in India with the explanation that the reason for the sun never setting on the British Empire was that even God would not trust an Englishman in the dark."

Australians and New Zealanders are fond of trading barbs. "The late Prime Minister Robert Muldoon [of New Zealand] once was heckled that he had ruined the economy so badly that most New Zealanders were migrating to Australia. 'They are merely raising the average IQ levels in both countries,' he shot back," writes Thakur.

During the Cold War, the Poles had principles but little else. "Entering Warsaw, the story went, you saw a giant billboard proclaiming 'Willing to exchange barely used sovereignty for superior location.' "

Another story tells of a Pole, granted three wishes by God. The Pole's first wish was that Poland be invaded by China. God, while puzzled, grants the wish, only to have the same wish repeated twice more. Upon hearing the wish for the third time, God asks for an explanation. The Pole responds, "To invade Poland once they have to pillage through the Soviet Union twice."

Finally, though the article has several more jokes, Thakur relays a story about a Korean, an Indian and an Israeli. The Korean asks when his country will live in peace. God tells the Korean, "Not in your lifetime." Likewise, the Indian asks when his country will live in peace. The answer is the same, "Not in your lifetime." Finally, the Israeli asks God when his country will live in peace. "Not in my lifetime," God responds.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |