I love a good joke, and when I heard “this” one, I knew I had a keeper. Preachers are always looking for good stories and jokes, and I had just added a great one to my arsenal. I immediately shared it with Lea. I was surprised that she didn’t find the joke all that funny, and thought to myself, “She wouldn’t know a good joke if she heard one.”
Within the next twenty-four hours I shared my new joke with a handful of church folk and community folk. I was like a grandparent with a picture of a new grandchild, showing it off to everyone who would listen. To top it all off, I had just got a new email address so as I shared my new email address with everyone, I included my new joke.
About a day later I mentioned something to Lea again about my new joke that I’d been telling, and she said with a confused look on her face, “You do know that’s a dirty joke, don’t you?” I immediately took up for my new joke and said, “What? Are you nuts? It is NOT a dirty joke. There is NO way it means THAT,” and then immediately starting thinking, “Lea’s mind is in the gutter. And she calls herself a preacher’s wife!” She’s usually right about 98% of the time in our marriage, but this time I knew she was wrong. We argued for a few more minutes and she finally said, “Fine, don’t believe me, but at least ask someone else.”
I refrained from telling my joke the rest of the day for fear that Lea somehow might be right. That night at church I caught one of my favorite deacons, the one I knew who would shoot straight with me. Just before class started, I pulled him aside and told him my joke. He laughed and said, “I love that joke.” I said, “Yea, me too. Eddie, is that a dirty joke?” He told me, “No way that’s a dirty joke. It’s a great joke. There’s nothing dirty about it.”
I thanked Eddie, and could not wait for church to be over to gloat in front of Lea the fact that it wasn’t a dirty joke, and that she had a dirty mind. It wasn’t more than one minute into my class lesson when Eddie came walking up to the front of my class. I was a little confused why he was interrupting my class. I asked everyone to just give me a second. I walked over to where Eddie was waiting for me and leaned in to hear what he had to say. “I just got the joke,” he said rather emphatically, “It’s dirty. It’s REALLY dirty. DON’T tell that joke to anyone!” Eddie, being the good deacon he was, had stopped my class to protect me. He thought I was going to share the joke from the pulpit (which at the time was very possible).
The rest of my class was like a bad dream. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was supposed to be teaching for thinking over and over, “Who all have I told this dirty joke to?” “Who all do I need to go apologize to?” and “How could Lea be right again?”
I immediately went into damage control mode following services. I started catching, calling and emailing people that I had told that horrible joke to. How could I have been so wrong?There were men and women who I apologized to, but thankfully no children. I had to call my mom (who had the soap ready to wash out my mouth :), an elder, a couple of preacher friends of mine and the worse by far was my Uncle Bob, who is one of the most godly men I know.
There would be no celebrating or gloating this time. Instead there was only humiliation, apologies and the loss of what I thought was an A+ joke. Once again Lea was right, and I was wrong. No wonder she didn’t find the joke funny when I first told her.
“There is a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end it leads to death…”