At dinner with two friends, we started talking about our school experiences as young kids, and tongue twisters were brought up. One friend recited the “if a woodchuck could chuck wood” tongue twister, which spurred another friend to say the following. LA is the informant, PH is myself.
LA: Moses supposes his toeses are roses but Moses supposes erroneously for nobody’s toeses are poses of roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be
Everyone laughs and the other two of us are confused.
PH: What?! What is that?
LA: Moses supposes his toeses are roses but Moses supposes erroneously for nobody’s toeses are poses of roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be, you don’t know that?
PH: No! (Neither had my other friend at the table; both of us are from Southern California)
LA: Huh, that’s weird
PH: Can you say it again slowly so I can collect it for my folklore project?
LA: Sure! (slower) Moses supposes his toeses are roses but Moses supposes erroneously for nobody’s toeses are poses of roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be
PH: Thank you! Do you know where you first learned it?
LA: I don’t, I’ve like heard it from multiple sources I feel like?
PH: Okay, cool!
The following is a joke my informant told me:
Moses, Jesus, and a little old man are playing golf. They get to a particularly difficult hole which requires them to hit the ball onto a little island in the middle of a lake. Moses goes first and hits his ball into the water. He then puts his staff into the water, parts it, walks over to his ball, and hits it into the hole on the island. “Two!” he says. Next it is Jesus’s turn. He hits his ball into the water. Jesus walks out onto the water, and hits his ball into the hole on the island. “Two!” he says. Finally it is the little old man’s turn. He hits his ball into the water. A fish swims down, eats the ball, swims to the surface, spits it up, an eagle catches it, flies to the island, drops it into the hands of a squirrel, and the squirrel deposits the ball into the hole. “One!” the little old man exclaims. Moses then turns to Jesus and says: “Man, I hate playing with your dad.”
My informant says that he usually tells this joke while golfing, or at church. However, he says that since it is favorite joke, he often tells it in other situations. Since it is not offensive, it usually goes over well with everyone.
I like this joke a lot. It is not one that requires the listener to participate in the joke, and instead relies heavily on the punch line reveal that the little old man is god. I first heard it when I was 13, and I liked it because I could understand it. Still to this day I think that it is a very clever story. I have also found that even though it is a religious joke, it is not offensive. Often religious jokes cause trouble in that they make-fun of the stereotypes associated with a certain religion. This joke, however, is quite harmless, which is why it is easy to tell to any audience.