“So a cowboy, straight out of Wyoming, decked out in his cowboy chaps, boots and hat, finds himself at Harvard. He wanted to get some work done and needed to be pointed in the direction to the library. After attempting to find his way and failing, the cowboy stops a typical Harvard Bostonian in his button down and khakis and asks “where’s the place y’all study at?”. The Harvard student responds “here at Harvard we do not end our sentences with a preposition” and sticks his nose up and begins to turn away. So the cowboy tries again and asks “where’s the place y’all study at asshole?””
My friend retold this joke to me after over-hearing a doctor tell this story to a hospital resident doctor in San Francisco. She keeps retelling this joke because of the stereotyped characters and the great reaction she receives.
I find this to be a great find in the folk-joke realm because it appeals to a wide group of audience members. Most listening to this joke would not be a cowboy or a Harvard graduate and would most likely root for the underdog cowboy. The end of the joke shows that cowboy, although appearing uneducated to the Harvard student, can jab back and get the last line. This joke demonstrates the stereotype associated with Harvard as an uptight, stuck-up, know-it all in preppy clothes. It also portrays the Wyoming man as seemly out of place at an Ivy league institution in his full cowboy get up, suggesting that these types do not attend such prestigious schools.
I also enjoyed how this was spreading around a hospital of educated doctors and residents with degrees from top universities. It almost shows a distain for Harvard and its affiliates as being pretentious and ‘the best.’ I assume that these doctors enjoy this joke because it rags on a top Ivy school that perhaps they did not or could not attend. Or perhaps these doctors are Harvard grads and cashing in of the stereotypes for some laughs around the hospital.