Shooting Old Blue: Life’s Stages in Three Jokes

Don't remove the plug

Beware the plug

Daniel N. White

Aggie jokes are the Texas version of Polack jokes, jokes about the students at Texas A&M University as rural yokels lost at sea in modern life.  The foil in Aggie jokes are graduates of UT Austin, referred to by Aggies as T-sips.  Everyone everywhere in the world tells similar jokes about their own similar hick out-group.  In Mexico it is the Yucatecans, the Limeys usually use the Irish.  They are all pretty much interchangeable—change Aggie to Pole to Yucateco and they all still work. I’m not sure how often a new Aggie joke comes along, but for that matter I don’t know how often a new joke comes along period.  Some sociologist ought to investigate that one.

But there is something of sociological import from the new, or new to me at any rate, Aggie joke I just heard.  It wasn’t told to me as an Aggie joke, and hell it wasn’t told to me by anyone in Texas, or even the US—it came from someone in Pakistan, who had pulled it off the web somewhere and sent it to me.  But I saw it as a king-hell Aggie joke, which is how I’m telling it these days.  I can tell it is going to be one of my favorite Aggie jokes, and it occurred to me how along the way in my lifetime I had different favorite Aggie jokes, and how the jokes changed over time as I got older.  That’s a sociological note worth making, so here goes with my favorite Aggie joke from when I first started hearing them, when I moved to Texas in the sixth grade.

The all-time favorite Aggie joke in my sixth-grade years got told one day in recess, pretty much ruining the rest of the class day for education purposes, as someone would start giggling as they remembered the joke, and the giggles would spread through the class.  Eventually the teacher would shush us, she even asked us what was so funny, which in turn led to another round of the giggles, as nobody had the nerve to tell her.  Perfect joke for boy sixth-graders, really, this one.

So once upon a time there were these three Aggies who wanted to win the biggest pig blue ribbon at the State Fair.  They bought a hog and did everything they could, everything they learned at A&M to make the pig get fat, but it just wasn’t working.  They put their heads together and decided the only thing they could do was to put a cork in the pig’s butt to keep it from shitting and that would make the pig turn huge.  The Aggies get a cork with a string attached to it and shove it in and lo and behold, the pig grows as big as a house, and they win the blue ribbon at the State Fair with it.

This leads them to the next problem, namely how to get the plug out.  None of the Aggies is willing to climb up and pull on the string, so they decide to train a monkey to climb up a ladder and pull on the string.  They train the monkey on string-pulling, and then they let the monkey loose on the pig.

Next scene is a hospital, where all three Aggies are just now waking up from emergency surgeries.  The doctor wants to know what happened to put them all in the hospital, and as the first Aggie wakes up he goes over to him and asks him:  ‘Tell me son, what happened?’

The first Aggie blinks his eyes, and thinks, and then starts to groan, ‘Oh God, shit everywhere, ohhh’, and passes out.  That’s no help to the doctor, who goes over to the second Aggie, who is now coming around, and asks him the same question. Second Aggie does the same thing, groaning out ‘Oh God, shit everywhere, ohhh’, and passes out.  The doctor decides to change the question some, and maybe get a useful answer, so when the third Aggie wakes up he goes over to him and asks him gently:  ‘Tell me son, just what was the last thing you remember seeing?’  The third Aggie thinks long and hard, and then cries out:  ‘Poor little monkey trying to put it back!’

Perfect joke for sixth graders, like I said, with butts and monkeys and poop.  It doesn’t really work in adult company anymore, hasn’t for a long time.  And you know, kids have changed to where it’s more of a fourth-grader joke than a sixth-grader nowadays—kids grow up quicker than they did 40 years ago.  Why that is matters but nobody looks into the why of it and we probably ought to.  However, I do say with cause about how I feel from time to time that I’m that poor little monkey.

So off I go to college, and this next joke I heard as a senior, and that’s about the right time to hear it and appreciate it.  This one is about an Aggie who graduates with an ag degree but decides to go off to the big city for a job there.  After a couple of years of life in the big city the Aggie decides he’d really rather be farming, so he goes out and buys a spread and decides to raise him some chickens.

The Aggie goes out and plows and harrows and then digs a bunch of holes about 10” deep by 6” around in the field.  In each hole he shoves a chicken, up to the chicken’s neck, and puts the dirt back around the chicken real careful like.  The Ag then spreads some fertilizer, irrigates some, and then goes back to the barn for a couple of days of work on the equipment.  At the end of those couple of days, he checks on the chickens. THEY’RE ALL DEAD!!!!  The Aggie can hardly believe it, but they all are dead as hell.

The Aggie is confused some, but he ain’t about to quit.  He replows and reharrows and gets a new bunch of chickens.  He thinks he knows what he did wrong last time.  This time he digs a bunch of holes about 2” around and 2” deep and plants a chicken in each hole, this time head-first.  He keeps a lot closer eye on them this time and checks them a day later and THEY’RE ALL DEAD AGAIN!!!

The Aggie is crushed.  He has no idea what he is doing wrong.  He decides that he needs some outside assistance, and he writes a letter to his old ag school dean.  He explains everything in the letter about what he did, and asks the dean for help, because he’s totally lost, and even if he wasn’t the best student the dean ever had, could he pretty please help him?

So a couple of days later, the Aggie is hanging around his mailbox and the mail comes and there’s a letter from his ag dean.  The Aggie tears it open, all excited, and the letter reads in its entirety:  “You Dumbass!  You mean to say you went here for four years and you didn’t ever learn that we can’t tell you anything without a soil sample?”

Awful lot of truth in that joke about the higher educational process.  Doesn’t matter if you went to A&M or UT or Harvard, that joke has the inside truth of the higher educational process nailed.  It’s one always worth telling.

The third and latest one, via Pakistan, tells us about how things are done in this world in a way that the above two just don’t.  A meaner joke, with an uglier undertone, and a more cynical view of things.  At middle age, I guess you’re entitled to think that way.

Anyway, there was this Aggie who was having himself a real good time at school his senior year but finds himself running out of money.  He puts on his thinking cap and writes his daddy back in Dallas a letter, telling him that Texas A&M has a dog experiment program starting up that he’d like to get the family dog, Old Blue, enrolled in.  This program teaches a dog how to read.  It’s worked in the first run of experiments, but A&M needs more dogs for the second round, and the Aggie thinks Old Blue ought to be in it.  Only drawback is that the experiment costs a $5000 enrollment fee.

The Aggie’s dad reads the letter, calls up his son, and they discuss it.  The old man is hip to training his dog to read.  He’d be one up on his neighbors, and the dog ought to enjoy being able to read, too.  He loads up Old Blue in a kennel with a check for $5000 attached to the collar and ships him off to his Aggie son at A&M.

Things go well for the Aggie for a month or so but dammit he runs low on funds again.  This time he writes his dad a letter, saying how well Old Blue is doing reading, but you know A&M has another program, and it teaches dogs to speak.  The son tells the old man what a great thing it would be to have a dog, the only dog in town, that can read and speak both.  But A&M wants $10,000 to enroll Old Blue in this program.

The dad gets the letter, calls up his son, and decides sure, why not, and sends a check for $10K off to his son.  The son has himself a good old time up ’til graduation.  The day after graduation, he takes Old Blue out in the backyard and shoots him dead. (Told you it’s mean.)  Then he drives up to Dallas to visit his dad.

The old man greets his son, and asks him where Old Blue is.  Where is that reading and speaking dog of his, why isn’t he here with you today, son?

The son says how sorry he is to the old man, but he had some problems with Old Blue.  The old man asks what sort of problems?  The son says:  ‘Well, Dad, the other day I came home from class and Old Blue was sitting in his recliner like he always does, reading the Wall Street Journal, and he looks up at me and asks if the old man is still screwing the hot redhead divorcee down the street like he was three-four times a week just before he shipped me down here to A&M.’

The old man turns white as a sheet, sways back and forth, and chokes out: ‘That lying no good sonabitch.  Son, if your mother hears that I’m done for.  We’ve got to do something about that dog.’  The son says ‘No problem, Dad.  Just as soon as I heard Old Blue say that lying assed bullshit about you I took him out and shot him.  Nobody is going to hear him tell those lies about you, Dad.’

The old man breaks out with a big grin of relief.  ‘That’s my boy.  Good job.  Chip off the old block.  We need to talk about what I’ve been hearing about your career plans, going to UT Law School and then running for office.  It’s a good idea and I’m ready to help.’

Yep, the joke has a dark and cynical undertone, one that I can appreciate now more than I could have back in college.  It’s really about how things really work in this world.  A helluva lot of clever people out there, who get their way by some sort of lying-assed scam or another.   Helluva lot of us in this life are just Old Blues being sported with by the clever and ambitious and unscrupulous.  And we’re as clueless as that dog was to the what and why of it.  The unluckiest of us wind up being shot by them for no good reason, just like Old Blue.   It’s called war.

So check with me in 20 years and I’ll tell you what my favorite Aggie joke in my geriatric years is.  It’ll be interesting and sociologically significant I bet.   If I can remember it, that is.

Daniel N. White has lived in Austin, Texas, for a lot longer than he originally planned to.  He reads a lot more than we are supposed to, particularly about topics that we really aren’t supposed to worry about.  He works blue-collar for a living–you can be honest doing that–but is somewhat fed up with it right now.  He will gladly respond to all comments that aren’t too insulting or dumb.  He can be reached at Louis_14_le_roi_soleil@hotmail.com.

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