The right joke at the right time

Credit: Disney (or whoever owns these guys now)

So last week at work — or “at” work, I guess, since we were all in our respective homes — we were doing the video conference meeting. Part of it was one of those “get to know you” games that everyone says they hate, but secretly like because people like to talk about themselves, especially in no-pressure settings.

A coworker revealed that she worked in a prison laundry right out of school.

I took a breath. The prior week, my friend Shawn shared with me a joke related to a prison reading program. It’s something that would be classified as a dad joke these days, a pun so bad, you want to shake the hand of the man who created it — and then maybe slap him.

I kept my mouth shut. She was talking about a prison laundry. Nothing to do with reading. And I have a knack for derailing meetings with my own crap anyway.

But then she said, “Honestly, it was one of my favorite jobs, because you had to spin the sheets forever, and I got loads of reading done.”

Oh, god, I thought. The perfect set-up. It had to be done.

After a couple of other folks commented on her prison laundry gig, I jumped in. “So you read a lot of books while on you job? At the prison?”

“Yeah. Tons,” she said.

“Soooooo,” I started. “Would you say that the job had a lot of … prose and cons?”

Then there was the split second of anticipation. Would it land? Or would I just see a screen full of confused faces? I didn’t know if a joke that is much more apparent when read would work, but thankfully the virtual room full of editor and writer types got it immediately.

The groans that went up were the sort that punsters feast on, the kind that can get you through an entire winter. And that’s the entire story.

If you haven’t bought my latest book yet, it’s on sale for $1.99 on most e-reader platforms until the end of the week. Amazon, B&N, Kobo. You can also get the print version everywhere book are sold. And if you have read it, leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads or what have you.