Back in the before times, when sit-down restaurants existed, I used to order boneless cheese sticks and would just throw the word "boneless" in front of any appetizer with 100% corniness. The purpose of this isn't to make a good joke. It's not a good joke. The purpose is to make my dining companions catch some cringe splash damage and want to crawl into a hole and die out of embarrassment for my being horribly corny.
But there is a real, deeper purpose that I've discovered entirely by accident. People, especially young people, are so self-conscious and worried about saying or doing something embarrassing that it taints a lot of social gatherings. They go to a restaurant and are afraid to speak up even when their order is blatantly wrong. They'll tip well even when the food took an hour to arrive and the server has disappeared into the corn stalks behind a baseball field. It takes 2 hours of hanging out together before some friends finally stop nitpicking themselves, uncomfortable in their own bodies and brains, feeling perpetually judged, and begin to relax. These are the kinds of people who go to sleep every night replaying cringey moments from high school. Their last thought of the day is when the Burger King girl said, "Enjoy your meal!" and they said, "Thanks, you too."
It takes 2 hours and/or a lot of booze before they're comfortable enough to take conversational risks and truly reveal themselves. But if I come right out of the gate with a really dumb joke, then we can cut to the chase. There's less danger because someone in the group already shot themselves in the foot, right off the bat. They pulled a pin on the cringe grenade and then jumped on it.
You cringe at my dumb joke and then we're over the hump. Someone has already done something pretty stupid, so go ahead and order the hubcap of nachos and a massive chocolate shake because nobody is going to judge you poorly while they're all judging me.
In terms of price negotiations (haggling), there is a psychological concept called "anchoring". You throw out the first number and all subsequent numbers are compared to that number. This is the same idea. We've already set the humor standard pretty low at "boneless cheese sticks", so you can say the dumbest shit you want and, as long as it's not worse than my cheesy joke, it won't matter.
This is why, when you were a teenager and your dad took you and some friends out, your dad made corny jokes. He knew they were corny jokes. You and your friends un... keep reading on reddit ➡
A friend called as I was walking out the door this morning and said she found out yesterday afternoon that she has breast cancer. She knows when I leave and timed it that way because she couldn't handle a long conversation. Bread dipped in Karo is her big comfort food, so I am wanting to pick some up with a loaf of bread and leave it along with a note by her door. I want the note to be happy/upbeat and figured what's better than a one line pun. Problem is, I am stuck. (see what I did there?)
Years ago I used to use a LexisNexis database of companies that would give corporate information like name, address, and general business description. While most of them were pretty bland, there were a bunch of them with some really cheesy puns, and over a few years I built quite a collection.
Today I share with you "NEXIS IS RIDICULOUS.txt":
Once upon a time in the 80’s, the religious supreme ruler of a middle eastern country fled outside military forces seeking to strip him of his power using whatever means necessary. Fearing for his life, he was secretly smuggled into the US where he reluctantly shaved his beard and attempted to blend in.
He successfully went native and got an apartment, and soon realized he needed a job to pay for food and rent. He didn't want to do any sort of manual labor or serve others, as he craved comfortable control. He eventually became a toll booth operator, where he enjoyed sitting in his high chair, making people pay him so that he would grant them passage. Over time he grew bold and began to use his own judgment on what vehicles would pay him for his blessing to cross.
One day, two semi-tractor trailer beverage trucks were in his line, a Pepsi truck in front, and a Coke truck behind. The Pepsi truck pulled up and he said "Pepsi truck, you may pass for free." The Pepsi truck driver happily accepted, and over his CB radio told the Coke truck driver “This guy just let me through for free!”. When the Coke truck pulled up, hoping to also pass for free, the toll booth dictator said "Coke truck, you will pay me 100 of your American dollars."
The Coke truck driver was livid, and said "You let that Pepsi truck pass for free! You want me to pay 100 dollars?! That’s outrageous! I am going to report this! What is your name?!" Our toll booth operator proudly replied "Ayatollah Cokemainly."