Date of Performance/Collection: April 2007
A bank teller is greeted one day by a woman who wants to make a large deposit – approximately $3 million. The woman’s demeanor and clothing do not suggest a person of great wealth, but for such a large amount of money, the teller thinks that the woman should be treated especially well, and that he should take extra steps to make her feel secure in making the transaction. Thus he goes to get the manager.
When the manager returns, he greets the woman and she hands him the checks. When he reads them, he is wide-eyed and asks, “Just out of curiosity, do you mind if I ask what business you run? It seems you are very successful with it…”
She replies, “Oh, I made the money off of bets.”
“I made the money betting.”
“You mean betting, as in gambling, like at the casino?”
“No, I just make big bets with people.”
“Anybody. For instance, I’ll bet you $100,000 that one of your testicles is blue.”
“What? Are you crazy?”
“No, I’m serious.”
The bank manager is wary, as obviously the woman has been successful with her betting, but on the other hand, he is absolutely certain that neither of his testicles is blue. Just to double check, he unzips and takes a quick peek while standing behind the counter so no one sees it. Sure enough, both sides are totally normal. So he accepts the bet. “Sure, I’ll take you up on your bet.”
“Alright, but we’ll need to wait until tomorrow to verify who wins the bet. I want to bring in my lawyer to make sure there are no legal issues and that the loser pays the winner fairly. I’ll bet you that after 2 o’clock tomorrow, one of your testicles will have turned blue.”
Confused and still somewhat shocked by the proposal, the manager thinks briefly about it and they agree to the bet. He cannot imagine her being able to do anything to cause one of his testicles to turn blue.
When the manager awakes the next morning, he does another check. Still normal. At work, he nervously anticipates the arrival of the woman and her lawyer at 2 o’clock. Every now and then, he takes another peek at himself to make sure both testicles are still normal.
At 2 o’clock, as planned, the woman and her lawyer arrive. The manager quickly checks one more time, and taking them aside, he excitedly tells the woman that he has won the bet.
“Do you mind if I check to make sure?” asks the woman.
Nervously, the manager gives her permission, eager to receive his $100,000 reward.
As the manager unzips for her and she inspects, the lawyer suddenly begins to shout loudly in anguish and bang his head against the wall.
“Is he alright?” the manager asks. “What’s the matter?”
“He’s fine,” she replies, “I bet him $1 million the other day that I could get the manager of this bank to drop his pants for me while he stood there watching.”
his was an Internet joke that my informant received from a friend of his. My paraphrase is actually slightly less graphic than the original version of the joke. It is a complex joke which could strike different hearers as having different thematic implications. When I heard the joke, I picked up the idea of female outsmarting male and that of the lawyer being humiliated.
The joke also features multiple oxymorons, or “appropriate incongruities, ” which according to folklorist Elliot Oring, are the backbone of a joke’s humor. The rich woman’s strange ability to make millions from betting is the first apparent incongruity. This is followed by her assertion that one of the bank manager’s anatomical members is blue, an obvious falsehood. Finally, the lawyer’s emotional eruption seems strange and unexplainable. All of these incongruities are readily corrected and made appropriate, however, by the punchline, delivering a triple dose of somewhat off-color humor.