The following piece was collected from a fifty-two year old Caucasian man from Chicago, Illinois. The man will hereafter be referred to as the “Informant”, and I the “Collector”.
Informant: “I’ve got a joke.”
Collector: “Let’s hear it.”
Informant: “So two guys are driving by a pasture. And one guy says, ‘Hey, look! A bunch of cows!’
The other guy says, ‘Not bunch, herd.’
‘Heard of what?’
‘Herd of cows!’
‘Of course I’ve heard of cows.’
‘No, no, no. A cow herd.’
‘What do I care what a cow heard? I don’t have any secrets from a cow.’
The Informant told me that a lawyer friend of his from Chicago told him that joke once when they had to travel to Springfield, IL together. The Informant relayed the “good laugh” they had about it on the dreary drive down. He remembers the joke almost every time he sees a herd of cows in a pasture. He believes it be at first just a funny joke about a miscommunication. But upon a second look, one that got a greater laugh between the two lawyers who shared the joke, they found more humor in it because of their profession where words mean everything.
At first glance, this joke is one to get a quick laugh, something to chuckle about when passing fields full of cows. But I agree with the Informant that one’s profession, his being a lawyer, can make the joke seem funnier. I believe that the Informant and his friend found the joke to be funnier when looked at through the lens of the law. When doing so, because of their profession, the joke reaffirmed for them the belief that words carry a lot of weight and they have their own power. Even when told in a corny joke, the punch line is a misunderstanding of words, something that happens on a larger and more impactful scale everyday.