The Man and The Camel

Text – Narrative Joke

This narrative joke told to us by JP, leads its listeners through the journey of a man stuck in the desert with his newly bought camel. This joke does a great job in following the rule of threes in comedy with a clever twist of fate at the end.

Context –

Interviewer:  Okay, tell me your joke.

JP: Alright, so there’s, this man, and he’s traveling through the Sahara Desert back to his family. On his journey there’s a sandstorm and he gets lost and he’s low on supplies and he’s fearing he’s gonna die. So, he’s, he’s walking through the desert and he’s, he’s not sure exactly where he is and, and how he’s going to get there and he’s running out of water. And out of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, he just sees this man and he just says, camel for sale, camel for sale. The guy has a camel! And he comes up to this camel. And he goes to this man and he’s like,” Oh, if I get this camel, I can get into town much quicker. This guy can tell me where to go.” So he goes there, he has like this last little bit of coin that he’s going to bring back to his family. He gives it to the man to buy the camel, and the man says, “Okay, I’ll sell you this camel, but there’s something very important that you need to know about it. The camel is trained so that when you swipe your head, (Josh proceeds to swat his hand like he’s wiping the sweat from his brow), it’ll start going, it’ll start, you know, walking. So you do one swipe- your first swipe will make it kind of start to walk. Second swipe will give it a good trot. And then the third one, you’ll go very, very fast.” So the other guy’s like, “okay, that’s perfect. Good to know.” And then camel seller says, “Okay, but if you want the camel to stop, you have to say, amen.” He’s like, “All right, all right, whatever, whatever. I just like want to get home.” And he kind of hurries along. He, you know, gets directions to town and he swipes his face once and the camels just like, you know, starting a steady little walk then he’s like, “Wow, that’s kind of nice.”

JP: He swipes his head again and it’s starts to get a nice run. He’s like, “Oh wow, I can like make it before sundown this is great. But let me see how fast this camel can go.” He swipes his head a third time and the camel takes off sprinting crazy fast and the guy can barely hold on. He then notices that he’s coming up towards a cliff and he’s about to just sprint off it on the camel and he’s like, “Oh my gosh I can’t get off this camel! What am I gonna do?” And so he begins to make peace with his fate and starts starts saying his prayers because he knows he’s gonna die. So he goes through his prayers the prayers, like whatever, “God, thank you. Amen.” And the camel stops right on the edge. And the guy goes, “Whew.” and swipes his away his sweat in relief.

Interviewer: Nooooo! That’s good. I like that. I like that a lot. That’s a cute one. Where did you learn this joke? Were you telling this for like little?

JP: Yeah. I think I learned it at summer camp when I was a kid.

Interviewer: Do you remember who taught it to you?

JP: Um, no. Maybe my friend Malcolm?

Interviewer: Why do you think that it stuck with you even until now?

JP: I think for me it was kind of a nice story to really visualize and you get a little bit more ingrained in the story, kind of like, what’s going to happen next? And you, you’re like, “Oh, what? He’s going to like fall off the cliff. Yeah. He’s so stupid. He forgot what to say.” I don’t know. I always just thought it was funny too. Not really as much now but especially as a kid.

My interpretation

This joke was a total flashback for me to recess in middle school when we were learning new riddles from the grapevine of children and other new jokes and tricks to tell your friends. I love that JP has continued to say this joke to others without him thinking it as funny as it originally was for him. A joke like this takes practice to recite, especially for a kid the age young enough to go to summer camp. I think that JP has kept this in his arsenal of jokes for the youthful memories of both learning about the joke himself and being able to give a part of that funny-ish memory to anyone he’d later end up telling the joke to.