Most of us have one.  We have one member of the family, friend or acquaintance circle who is best described as “colorful”.  I am no exception.  Last Thanksgiving was especially meaningful.  For the first time in 25 years my entire extended family joined together for merriment, food and fellowship.  The youngest tot to the oldest patriarch united together under one roof for a day of loving chaos.  As the day progressed and the wine flowed, my “colorful” sibling became increasingly colorful.  Never one to restrain his gaiety (or his filters), I found we were about to enter forbidden and uncomfortable territories.

shock1Good taste does not have to squelch good humor.  Unfortunately, there are some folks whose joke telling stipulates that all those within earshot appreciate the expletives, vulgarity and/or blasphemy.  In this case, all three elements were present and accounted for.  The victims within earshot ranged from a four-year-old girl to a Japanese immigrant to an 80-year-old man in a wheelchair (with perfect hearing) to a woman with overly generous breast implants to a Catholic.  I think the audience pool was too rich for him to ignore.

Just like a major league homer, my brother hit it out of the park and proceeded to insult everyone.  Exception: The four-year old who learned new and wondrous words to share at story-time but was innocently spared from offense.

I realize those reading this will never reach these extremes.  You are elegant and filled with common sense even when your wine glass has been repeatedly drained.  For “The Others”,  I beg you to take heed of the following Faux Pas advice:


  1. Profanity is required to achieve the punch line successfully
  2. EVERYONE can’t enjoy the joke
  3. Personal weaknesses are used to produce a laugh
  4. Anyone is brought to tears or flushes of embarrassment
  5. Something sacred or revered by another person is the object of your joke
  6. The “Your Mama” joke is about someone else’s Mama

What do you do when someone has conveyed an inappropriate joke?  The best response may be no response.  You can effectively communicate your distaste by looking the offender in the eye without amused emotion and quietly walking away.  If the circumstance clearly warrants a comment, calmly stating that their joke was rude and offensive will do.

So, did you hear the one about…

A new pastor was visiting the homes of his parishioners.  At one house it seemed obvious that someone was home but no answer came to his repeated knocks on the door.  Therefore, he took out a card and wrote, “Revelation 3:20” on the back of it and stuck it in the door.  When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned.  Added to it was this cryptic message: “Genesis 3:10.”  Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.  Revelation 3:20 begins “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”  Genesis 3:10 reads, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid, for I was naked.”

K. Martini 😉