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It is no accident that the great American screwball comedies were mostly produced in the 1930s, during The Great Depression. Let’s put it this way, in any economic reality, there is a very serious side and a very silly side. Either extreme can do someone in, but a balance is optimum for surviving and thriving whatever is happening. This is why today’s economic woes have produced so many late night talk show gags, and fodder for so many stand-up comedians. When things are looking dark, nothing turns on the light switch faster than a smile, a giggle, or a guffaw.
Many of you know that I write cartoon gags for several magazine cartoonists. It pays very little, but it keeps my sense of humor sharp and current. A recent submission:
CHAIRMAN TO BOARD.
“In order to alleviate our employees’ job insecurities, I’ve hired a group of unemployed motivational coaches.”
Look for this in an upcoming issue of The Wall St. Journal or Harvard Business Review. I recently discovered, in a box filled with old photographs that was in storage for nearly 15 years, a collection of greeting cards I had gathered in my travels, well over 100 brand new cards that either were touching or funny. And one of these featured 10 Money Jokes in the form of questions on the cover, with the answers on the inside. If any of them make you smile, or if none of them do, you may discover something about how seriously you take the subject of money–and whether it’s time to lighten up.
1. How is money like sex?
When you really need it, you’ve never got it.
2. How do you come home from Las Vegas with a small fortune?
Go there with a large fortune.
3. Have you heard about the Zen philosophy of money? (my favorite one)
You start with $10,000, zen you have $8,000., zen you have $4,000.
4. What’s the height of cheapness?
Taking an anorexic to dinner.
5. Did you hear about the accountant who was shy and retiring?
He was $25,000. shy, that’s why he’s retiring.
6. What is six inches long, has a head on it and drives women wild?
A $100. bill.
7. Why did the Japanese call girl go broke?
No one had a yen for her.
8. What is man’s greatest labor-saving device?
The love of a rich woman.
9. Have you heard about the woman with a million-dollar smile?
She only smiles if you have a million dollars.
10. Are there more important things than money?
Yes, but they don’t stay with you if you don’t have money.
Okay, I never said they were all in good taste or politically correct. Perhaps it is time to look at your own attitudes about money in terms of how willing you are to laugh about it. It wasn’t too long ago that I looked at my checking account the day before a deposit was due in. It had a balance of exactly 38 cents. I laughed. And this was a choice from among a number of other less nurturing emotions. What kind of choices do you make in these situations?