An explained joke is rarely funny

Well of course, the statue depicts a man a long way from the facilities a gentleman would take for granted. Photo Kim Traynor

Well of course, the statue depicts a man a long way from the facilities a gentleman would take for granted.
Photo Kim Traynor

Section 88. Is it being humourous or being humoured?

“David Livingstone” mused Nsansa who had read the accommodation’s self-congratulatory description.

“I presume.” said Vernon cryptically, “He didn’t wash behind his ears naughty boy, they’re pretty Verdi-grimy thanks to the pigeons.” He was forced to dissect his witticisms on the way down to breakfast, proving unnecessarily the adage that an explained joke is rarely funny.

Vernon and Nsansa’s conversation as they sat at the breakfast table was a matter of deciding what to do with their day. As their landlady shovelled farmyard-diminishing portions of a full-Scottish grilled breakfast onto their plates, and Vernon poured the filter coffee,they contemplated their plans for the day.

“Walk or shop or walk and shop, what’s it to be lover-boy?”

Vernon wondered if he’d ever get used to Nsansa’s tendency to play to the gallery. Particularly as he never quite recognised any of the cast of characters in her head that she rehearsed for those watching. Once in Wales she’d played at breakfast a misused and disreputable moll; she’d flirted at an indifferent guest and given the impression that Vernon roughed her up sometimes. Now she was the satiated lover singing the praises of her beau. The thought that had nested in his psyche sang again the familiar refrain …sometimes Nsansa made him ecstatic and then there were other times.

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