The current issue of GQ magazine named Seattle the nation's "Least Funny City."
"It's rainy and progressive and almost kind of European," GQ observed. "It's Norway on the Pacific. Norwegians should design wind farms and plan the health care system, but they may not roast people at the Friars Club."
This is unfair. Regarding humor, Seattle is a developing city.
When I first moved to Seattle and offered an ironic comment, people gasped and told children to cover their ears. Today many ask, "It that supposed to be a joke?"
This proves that many Seattleites are now aware that there exists a type of speech known as irony.
In another generation, Seattleites may recognize irony without having to ask. In a few more generations, they may employ it themselves.
However, the fact that the Puget mind has never developed an ironic sensibility does not imply a lack of humor. Seattle enjoys subtle, dry, and non-ironic wit.
Over the years, I have collected archetypical Seattle jokes. Some of my favorites are:
#1: Three Seattle men died and were taken to Saint Peter, who asked them to rate themselves on observing God's commandments on a scale of one to ten.
"Ten," said the first man.
"You get into heaven," replied St. Peter.
"Eight," said the second man.
"You also get into heaven," replied St. Peter.
"I was a drunk and a lecher," said the third, "three at best."
"You still get into heaven," replied St. Peter.
#2: Did you hear about the Polish Seattleite? He was not very bright.
#3: A man walks into the original Starbucks in the Pike Place Market and orders a double tall Americano. The barista looks at him strangely and then asks, "Do you want room for cream?"
#4: A priest, a rabbi, and Seattle Mayor Nickels were in a rowboat. Nickels asked the priest, "Did you vote for me?"
The priest answered, "Yes."
Then Nickels asked the rabbi, "Did you vote for me?"
The rabbi responded, "How could I? I don't live in Seattle."
#5: What do you call someone who roots for the Seahawks? A Seahawks fan!
#6: Two Seattle blondes were talking. "Who chairs the City Council's committee on Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods?" the first asked.
"I don't know," replied the second.
#7: Knock, knock. Who's there? Seattle Washing. Seattle Washing who? Seattle, Washington.
#8: A Seattle woman was so old that she had both bifocals and a hearing aid.
#9: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer walk into a bar and both order martinis. "That will be $28," says the bartender. "Say, we don't get many billionaires here."
"At these prices, they're probably not billionaires when they leave," Ballmer comments.
"That's ridiculous," Gates interjects. "Take the highly simplified case where a person has exactly $1 billion invested in tax-free municipal bonds at 5 percent. At this rate, he earns $5,708 per hour and would have to consume 408 martinis in one hour to no longer be a billionaire.
"You could argue that he would incur other expenses at the same time, but even if these expenses consumed 90 percent of his income, it would still take 41 martinis to place him below the threshold. And remember, most billionaires have more than $1 billion to start with.
"In fact, given the earning power described above, it is much more likely that a non-billionaire becomes a billionaire while consuming a $14 martini than the reverse."
"I was making a joke," Ballmer explains.
"Why didn't you say so?" Gates responds.
#10: Question: How many Seattleites does it take to change a light bulb?