The Footnote is Part of the Story
Illustration by Sue BARTFIELD
With all this extra time on my hands thanks to the great pandemic of 2020 (COVID-19, etc.), I have taken to writing jokes. What follows is a comprehensive list of the jokes I have come up with thus far:
Where does a duck’s poop come out of?
Its butt quack.
The list is admittedly short, but the single joke it contains opens onto the possibility of almost endless iterations and variations. For example, if one wanted to give it a darker twist, it could become:
What recreational drug achieved widespread use by ducks residing in impoverished urban neighborhoods in the United States during the 1980s, possibly as a result of a sinister government conspiracy?
Conversely, one could, having told the original joke followed by the above or any other variation on the same, turn the predictable surprising by provoking and then confounding the expectation of something fundamentally different, as in:
Okay, but where does a rubber duck’s poop come out of?
It’s rubber butt quack, of course!
Subsequently, one could yet again turn the predictable surprising, this time by confounding the expectation that the expectation of something fundamentally different will be confounded, as in:
Okay, okay, but where does my poop come out of?
My anus, where else? I assumed you were familiar with basic human biology.
Finally, the familiar could be rendered unfamiliar by going back to the beginning in order to confound the expectation of confounded expectation, as in:
Do you know where an actual duck’s poop comes out of, though?
I already told you— it’s butt quack!
It should be noted that I have written this story for more or less the same reason I wrote the joke that constitutes its central concern. I know it’s not likely to be published, but perhaps that’s for the best, as it would no doubt be a real pain in the ass to translate.
 At which point the reader cannot help but think: “Sounds messy!”
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