CONTEXT: DM is a current USC student who attended a North Carolina Christian sleep-away camp in the summer of 2011. This is a narrative joke that she heard from the head of camp, Jimbo. She heard this during Jimbo’s “Breakfast Club” during which he talked about God and told jokes. DM interprets this as a funny story specific to her camp.
Alright, this story starts out with a mom in a very, very expensive neighborhood in a
place called Buckwood, in Atlanta. And Buckwood, like across the American South is
just known as, like, THE, THE Heights, like the most rich suburban neighborhood in that
entire area of the US. So, if you say Buckwood, people know what it is, so… It starts
with a Buckwood mom, who is driving back from dropping off her kids at school and
she’s like a good Christian Mom. She’s described as going to the same summer camp
as we went to, super moral, upright character, has really good kids, godly woman, like…
family…. All this stuff. And she’s driving down the neighborhood, and one thing that she
really, really cared about was animals. Like, she volunteered at a vet clinic, and had a
bunch of dogs in her own house, just really, really loved them. So, it was super
unfortunate that when she was driving home, she hit a little bunny with her car. It just
ran right across the road, too fast, before she could stop. And she frantically gets out of
the car, runs over to the bunny, and it is just not looking good. He is just lights out,
y’know, and there’s no signs of damage but she doesn’t know what to do and she freaks
out. And she runs back into her car and is frantically looking around for something to
help this bunny, something that she could do, and she grabs a bottle from her car
console. And right as she’s running back to the bunny, she can see that its’ not going
well. She doesn’t really have a lot of hope, but she’s like “let me try this one last thing. I
think I have this magical trick that I think really could work.” And she sprays the bunny
all up and down. At this time, another parent in the neighborhood pulls over, ‘cause they could see that there was a dead animal and a mom in distress. So, the neighbor pulls over on the side of the road, right as she’s spraying the rabbit. And they get out of the car, and they’re like “what is going on?” And she’s like “just wait for it, wait for it.” And the other person is really confused ‘cause they’re like “why does it smell like cosmetics out here, and what is she spraying this rabbit with?” And suddenly, before they can think more about what’s going on, the rabbit suddenly… the leg twitches. Just a little bit, but it’s enough for them to both stop talking and just notice it and look at it. And the leg twitch kinda keeps on happening and is getting stronger and stronger and suddenly, both of its legs are kicking, and suddenly one of its ears picks up, and then two, and then the entire bunny perks its head up and springs back to life like nothing happened. And it starts to run away from the road and starts to run back into the bushes. And as it’s running away, it was doing the most bizarre thing. It ran away, would turn around to the both of them, and then wave. And then it would take a couple more steps, turn around, and then wave. And then do the same thing, until they couldn’t see it anymore. And they go “Oh my gosh, that is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. What did you spray that rabbit with?” And she reads the label, and it says, “HAIR [hare] SPRAY – PERMANENT WAVE – REVITALIZING EXTRA POWER.” And that’s the joke.
ANALYSIS: Something I noticed in the structure of this narrative joke was the use of the word “and.” The narrative uses the word frequently, which I believe helps the audience stay engaged because it removes any breaks in the story. It is also interesting to me that the woman in the story is given a lot of personal traits that seem to have been meant to speak to the personal experience of the audience where it was told at this camp. The emphasis on religion and the use of a specific location would make this story and character even more lively in the minds of the audience. This joke is an example of a play on words, with “hair” and “hare” sounding the same when spoken aloud.