A man walks into a bar (this bar happens to be "manned" by none other than Jesus H. the Christ himself), orders a tequlia shot, a cerveza, two shots of whiskey, and a pint of malt liquor. "That last one is for mis hermanos who reside on your side of the plane, Jesus, or maybe down below where one of your uppity angels runs the show."

Jesus is unfazed by this show of bravado, and responds.

"Is that gonna do it for you, my brother, mi hermano Del Dios?"

The dirty, slightly over-fragrant man with his attitude and a strange dose of theological knowledge has just stopped sipping his beer to down a tequila shot. "Si, si, that'll do it you Son of Man, you!" He laughs just a little too loudly as if pleased that he has made a joke for his non-audience, that is, unless you include the Lord of Lords, key to all the souls of humanity.

"Add'er all up, Jesus," he throws out with a pained look still on his face from the piss-poor tequila shot he just downed. No Patron here. Strangely enough, he says Jesus this time with a Mexican pronunciation; Hay-Soos, instead of his earlier Anglicized inflection.

"Do you enjoy doing this to yourself; hell, to me! For all eternity to watch and pick apart. A panoply of gods and monsters; misers and gamblers; saints and sinners... " At this point Jesus stops his tirade and quietly laughs to himself before finishing. "Buddha and Buddha's killers."

Our seeming alcoholic-for-the-night slaps his hands down on the table and picks up a whiskey shot, sloshing it about. "Exactly, my friend! Salud to you." And at this he downs the shot, his hand then hovering above the malt liquor. "On second thought, my friends have enough going for them. I think that this mierda ought to go to your crowd. Lord knows ( eh, not you, mi amigo ) they've had enough pain and suffering without any sort of proper knowledge to use and so avoid it. This is to them, then."

He pours out the cheap malt liquor onto the ground, but instead of the expected splash, all we are greeted by is an instantaneous soaking up of liquid, that leaves the floor spotless.

"This is one hell of an intrepid game we play," the Christ begins, "everyone having to make a choice... discounting of course the nihilists, but let's just see how devoted they are to their precious philosophy when in the grip of a life-crusher of a heart attack. My bet is that we'd be getting some calls then. But whatever, back to my original point, all nihilists aside or, well, into nothingness..." At this point Jesus does something that might be described as jazz-hands, if he weren't The Messiah, to illustrate the dissolution of said nihilists. He is quite pleased with himself. "I'd mention the atheists, just as a joke mind you," he quickly interjects in response to his patron's derisive glare. "But, but... we both know that there's very little in this bar more bitingly ironic than a group that wholeheartedly believes that there is no religion to believe in. But forget all that, you know, we could've played things a lot simpler -"

"But boring, nah... fucking boring; and don't forget the fact that none of these unappreciative bastards would've played that game. All the free-will they could ever possibly desire and a big-ass billboard pointing them in the right direction... Nah, they'd never go for it; these kids adore their 32 flavors, fucking need it, and yet if you give them too many choices you hamstring them. They'd be liable to wander about in circles, eyes glazed, mouth agape, with drool and indecision dripping from their mewling maw. No, that's where the whole 'devout and devoted' aspect fits in (oh, and yeah, that's your solution I might add)," at which point Jesus nods in an appropriately humble fashion. "And this is exactly why most of these kids will end up choosing what their mothers and fathers chose."

"Goddamn, man!" He goes off tangentially. "Y'all do not serve a particularly bad lager here. Very fine indeed." He raises his mug, as if in a toast to the Superstar, and downs the meager, sudsy amount of beer he has left before setting it down on the bar, none too quietly.

Jesus begins to clean up the bar with a slightly stained shroud, adorned with what appears to be a face. Clearing away his patron's now empty attempts toward inebriation, he cradles the last whiskey shot in his hand, majestically, as though he could do it any other way.

"Please, my dearest of friends, dispatch this, thine last jewel of oblivion." His smile, genuine at the very least, streams out from his eyes. Were he serving any other patron than this one, we would assuredly be confronted by an imminent destruction, a shredding of our loquacious friend's being at the atomic level until all evidence of his previous existence would be a barely detectable quantum miasma.

The patron bows, takes his precious ounce, indeed dispatching it in one gulp, and shakes himself from head to toe for dramatic effect before arising from where he sat atop a stool by the bar. "As we do have a helluva lot of time to continue this, I will leave you to your loneliness and the unfathomable guilt you carry around yourself like a, well, cross," The patron can barely stifle a laugh at this last bit, but continues, "and lest we forget the most important benefit of being the son of a Jewish tribal deity: your bar.

"Goodnight, my friend, my brother, and as always, a fellow soldier; may they never know we fight for them."

Jesus chuckles to himself graciously. "Ahh, goodnight Buddha. If you happen to meet someone on your way home, just turn and walk the other way this time, please."

An extremely amused, almost fierce and eager, smile is all the response that he receives.

  • "The significance of His two natures would take pages to explain. Suffice it to say that in Jesus, God is revealed in human form as God manifest in the flesh" (The Virgin Birth of Jesus: Its Significance by Jay Smith 1997)
  • http://www.wendeeholtcamp.com/truth.htm

Vic's was probably last decorated in 1945 in that special paint colour that is guaranteed to look like Gentleman's Club Brown after a hundred thousand smokers had drunk and smoked their fill. Somewhere under there I'd often imagined a nice ivory, or at worst, magnolia. No-one had dared clean the paint for fear of the stand-out clean spot.

It wasn't even really Vic's bar anymore - poisoned by the tobacco miasma, Vic had succumbed to some heart-lung thing in 1973, and his brother-in-law had inherited it all, from the brown-stained ceiling to the ancient oak floor and a bar that could have been a London pub émigré from the '50s.

It was one of those quiet nights at the bar, a night for me to set to polishing glassware and organising the many bottles. I'd had my traditional quiet-evening double malt whisky when he came in, shaking rain from his coat. He was tall, I remember that too, with a face like a young George Sewell. He sat down, as many had done before him, and looked around, pondering on the dusty Stubbs pictures and the railway clock that Mike had stolen from the waiting room in Stamford the weekend of the 1978 cafe race from London to Edinburgh. Mike was full of such tales, but this man knew none of them yet.

Mike was behind the bar, a cube of a man. Ex-Army, ex-wrestler and professional Cockney. He waited patiently for the chap to complete his recce, then caught his eye and gave him an up-nod.

"What are you having?", asked Mike, putting down his own double Scotch.

"Thank you, I believe I'll have a Guinness."

Mike have chatted with him as he poured a nice cream-headed pint. He chatted with everyone, whether voluble or taciturn. Barkeepers do this; it keeps them sane and helps to pass the time, and once in a while, earns one a free drink (tipping being almost unknown in English pubs). It failed on this occasion, for the trench-coated man merely gave Mike a curt nod of thanks, and his back.

"That'll be sixty-nine pence, please", said Mike.

The man turned, a frown of puzzlement framed by the collar of his raincoat. "Did I misunderstand you? I thought this was on the house." He took another sip of his Guinness, and kept his dark eye on me, still at the back of the bar.

This rather took me aback, if not aghast. I wracked my brains, seeking a clue as to what he might have heard. I looked at Mike, who was, I suspected, about to become a humourless bar steward. "I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean", he said, and leaned away from the bar top.

The man licked his lips through the half-smile of a jackal, and something in me started to worry about the outcome of this transaction.

Mike look at him, and I watched as the mild-mannered barkeep bristled like a pit bull.

"This is a bar, we make money by selling beer and spirits. Sixty-nine pence, please."

The customer leaned forward."Where I come from, 'what will you have?' is an offer to buy a drink".

"Under different circumstances, I might agree", said Mike, "but you might have noticed that I am on one side of this bar, and you, Sir, are on the other! I am not another customer, I own the place!"

Shit, I thought, he called him "sir". Next would be "sirrah", and then the shit would hit the fan. I watched carefully as the duellists observed one another with equal care.

"So what you are saying is that you are reneging on your offer? That saddens me; I'd heard this was an honourable establishment."

"As indeed it is, and notice one thing - in this establishment, on this side of the bar is a cash register. That contains the money that I take from customers in exchange for beer and spirits. We are not a charity!" Arms were folded, and Mike settled some, having felt his point hit home.

Or so he thought. Trench Coat raised himself off the stool, to his full height. He towered a head and a half above Mike, though they probably weighed the same, Mike being built like a brick shithouse. The few regular customers raised their heads above their booze and business to take note of the interchange. There was a certain tension, one familiar and fearful to me.

Trench Coat smiled again, and turned to the scant but intent crowd. "Am I right? Does this phrase not imply a friendly offer of a drink?"

Mike drew himself up. It didn't take long. "You speak of implication, sirrah. There is an implied contract when you walk into a bar, the same as when you walk into a shop. There's a price list..." (here he waved at the stained list taped to the bar mirror behind him) "...and you are expected to pay that price. 'Implied contract' is, I believe, the correct term."

Impasse. Trench Coat sipped at his beer, put it down, watched as one man detached himself from the tables and started to walk over. Mike was started to vibrate. As I said, tension was in the air.

As Mike was opening his mouth, the third man (a regular here; I knew him slightly), reached the duelling ground. "I say, Mike, why don't I buy the gentleman's drink? He may be the victim of, ah, cultural mistakenness." He carefully placed a small pile of coins the mahogany. Mike, equally carefully, scooped the money, counted it by feel and made the appropriate change. For the first time since the man had started his argument, Mike look away as he gave the diplomat his change, nodded thanks.

"Okay, here's the thing. You may finish your drink. You may take a piss in the Gents' if you need. You may then take yourself outside, and never come back. In other words, drink up and get out. You're barred." Immobile, immovable and incensed, steely gaze on Trench Coat. Who smiled, raised his glass to his benefactor, and drank slowly and with great satisfaction before nodding graciously to Mike and walking out.

Mike looked at me. "You fucking believe the cheek of that twat?" I made a moue and shook my head, slowly. He scurried off to do his mysterious things in his office, and the Sirrah Moment was passed.

And of course, in a normal life, that would have been it. But Mike was grumpy for days, which passed creakingly slowly before normal service and his good humour were restored.

It was about three months later. It was again, a quiet night. Mike was working his magic in the cellar, I was chatting to some random bar fly. It was late. The door opened, and in walked a tall, trench-coated man, who batted the drops from his coat before walking toward the bar. The familiar pocked face was to me, unmistakable. Unwilling to tackle this, I dived under and behind the bar, opened the cellar door and called to Mike. "I think it's him again. Trench Coat."

A frantic moment of wooden-cask movement later, and Mike stood next to me. I knew the look on his face, saw the two sets of eyes meet, felt the same atmosphere. Ignite blue touch paper and stand back - thus it was printed on every British firework, and having started the fire, I withdrew.

Mike made the opening thrust, as I knew he must. "You're barred! I told you once before, and I do not expect to have to repeat myself!"

No half-smiles from Trench Coat, rather, surprise. "I'm sorry?"

"You. Are. Barred. Like I said, leave, and don't come back. You are not welcome."

Trench Coat placed his hands on the bar top. "I'm sorry, you must be mistaken. I've never been here before. In fact, I only arrived in Norwich for the first time, yesterday." A gentle voice, again familiar, and surely there could be no mistaking this face. But now I was uncertain, and so, it seemed, was Mike. He leaned closer, scaned the visitor's features. Maybe the hair colour? Maybe less facial scarring? Jaw line a little different?

"Although if you really want me to leave, I'd gladly do so. I'd hate to be the cause of any upset..." He began to button his coat and turn away.

Mike looked quickly at me. I shrugged a little; my memory is fallible. I made a gesture to Mike that I hoped said "I may be wrong, it's a quiet night and God knows we could use the business; your call".

Mike's a tough nut, not to be messed with, but he does like a full till at the end of the night, and this fellow did appear to be well-heeled, looked tired and in need of several drinks. "I'm sorry", he said, smiling, "but your face is familiar. I apologise, I didn't mean to offend you."

Trench Coat unbuttoned again, sat on a stool. "Thank you."

"It's uncanny", said Mike, "You must have a double."

"Very kind", was Trench Coat's response, "I believe I will have a whisky."

This is my 450th surviving writeup, written to commemorate 10 years of my being on E2. I owe several people here drinks. Thank you.

This story is true. Mostly. Okay, it happened to two different people in two different pubs. Oh, and I never drink on duty.

All the names have been changed to protect the innocent, except Trench Coat's. Oddly, that turned out to be his name. As you can imagine, this ended very badly.

Best. Joke. EVER.

A man walks into a bar


Traditionally, jokes start with a phrase like "a man walks into a bar..." just to orient the listeners. A man walks into a bar. He asks the bartender, "Do you have any helicopter flavored potato chips?" The bartender shakes his head and says, "No, we only have plane."

Obviously, the bar has nothing to do with the joke, but you need that carrier phrase to alert your audience that a joke is coming. But this joke (perhaps even an anti joke?) short-circuits the listeners expectations, making the intro the punchline. Unless you have a horror of puns, you should at least chuckle the first time you hear one of these jokes. But because many of us are extra-dorky, there's a good chance that you will hear it more than once, in one of its many forms.

Two guys walk into a bar ... the third man ducks!

A magician walks down the street and turns into a bar.

Of course, it doesn't stop there. Now that we have set up a new, unbearably corny standard to geek out over, nothing will do but that we elaborate on it endlessly.

143 lemmings walk into a bar.

Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!...
Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Oi!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... ... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!... Ow!... Ouch!... Ow!...

My personal favorite, and quite possibly the worst attempt at a joke ever, is quite simply Un hombre entra en un bar... ¡Ay! Of course, your tastes might lie in other directions -- such as the maximally milquetoast "A limbo dancer walks into a bar. He lost." or the re-punned "A ballerina walked into a barre". However, if you find yourself unwillingly cornered by painful bar puns, there is a recommended response:

"A man walks into a bar, walks up to the bartender and says 'Ow!'. And the bartender hits him for being a weasel faced arsehead."

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