Happy Life in the USSA

As America’s ‘exceptionalism’ erodes and we become just another threadbare socialist failure, the idea of doing an occasional Soviet joke has come to seem more and more appropriate. One has only to read the Drudge Report headlines to see how far down the slippery slope we’ve gone. It looks like we’re picking up speed, too.

So today, while I still feel well enough, I’m instituting this “Happy Life in the USSA”…that’s its name for the moment. It may be that readers will suggest something better and it will change with the next one, whenever that is.

Several events have converged to lead me into this project: talking to Oleg at The People’s Cube about his experiences growing up in Ukraine. Another is receiving soviet-style jokes from people I would never have thought likely to notice. In other words, it’s in the air. Finally, I’ve always been attracted to gallows humor and ethnic jokes. Those people understand how humor arises in the face of misery; not in spite of our suffering but because it is a robust response of liveliness in the face of death or being silenced. That is sadly true as the shadow of the gallows they’ve set up for free speech looms ever larger over our public space.

Might as well tell these while I can, eh?

The joke that finally pushed me to begin this series isn’t all that funny or memorable. What was striking is its obvious resurrection from an earlier life in Russian. Or Polish — or any Eastern bloc country where those who ran the state security apparatus were to be feared. In its current incarnation, there are these two fellows, see…or rather, there are these two workers:

Oh wait, we have to begin with the straight man:

A guy stopped at a local gas station, and after filling his tank, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and watched a couple of men working along the roadside.

One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind him and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was 25 feet behind filling in the hole.

The men worked right past the guy with the soft drink and went on down the road. “I can’t stand this,” said the man tossing the can into a trash container and headed down the road toward the men. “Hold it, hold it,” he said to the men. “Can you tell me what’s going on here with all this digging and refilling?”

“Well, we work for the government and we’re just doing our job,” one of the men said.

“But one of you is digging a hole and the other fills it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the taxpayers’ money?”

“You don’t understand, mister,” one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. “Normally there’s three of us: Me, Elmer and Leroy. I dig the hole, Elmer plants the tree, and Leroy here puts the dirt back.

“You see with the government sequestering, they are not buying any more trees so Elmer’s job’s been cut …now it’s just me an’ Leroy.”

Yeah, I know; kind of lame. But it’s a start. I loathe and despise the way this sequester has been used to shut the White House to the public while the residents there continue to throw lavish private parties for the rich and famous. Pure spite – and taking it out on school children at that. The kids are the ones who save their money so their classes can visit “The People’s House”. Now it’s Hamlet’s House.

Meanwhile, back on the ever-shakier ground, for some real Russian humor — or Ukranian — do visit Oleg at The People’s Cube.

There is also the larger group to which he belongs, other politically incorrect blogs at The Gulagosphere.

Oh, and here’s the immediate impetus for this endeavor, another in the series of Arkady Renko’s adventures in Moscow:

Stalin’s Ghost: An Arkady Renko Novel

I just finished reading it this week; Martin Cruz Smith still spins a fine yarn. One leaves that dark atmosphere with more respect for the ability of men and women simply to endure.

16 thoughts on “Happy Life in the USSA

  1. I love russian humor too.. here’s one:

    A couple is awakened in the middle of the night by some kind of calamity in the stairwell of the apartment building. There are running boots, shouts and banging on doors. The man gets up and sneaks, pale as snow, to the door, to take a peek out.
    Soon he returns to his wife and says, relieved:” It’s all right, love, it was just a fire..”

  2. Caltrans is laying off 1000 workers. It seems they’ve developed a shovel that can lean on itself.

  3. It can’t happen here…..

    There is a terrible, terrible shock when the penny drops and one suddenly rtealizes that it HAS happened here.

    The first amendment HAS been circumvented, the second amendment IS being circumvented.

    The Constitution is dead, flushed down the Kaazee of Progressivism.

    It is not that nobody cares, it is that there is no need to assimilate the information YET

    The television is still working, it is still telling me that all is in order, nothing to see here – move along now. The mistake is when I believe it…..

    • Yes, already dead.

      The majority of the current US population never actually read the Constitution, even when in school, and wouldn’t care about it even if you were to explain to them what it said.

      As for the rest who have read it and claim to support it, the majority of those don’t seem to actually understand it. They’re very willing to trade it away, in bits and pieces, all the while preserving the lie that they still support it, as long as their comfortable lives continue.

      Only a minority of Americans really believe in the Constitution. And there’s not enough of them left to stop what’s coming.

      … No need for third man to plant tree. In Soviet Russia tree plants you.

  4. Progressivism has the corporate boot and the monopoly on socioeconomic violence but other than some vague references to a dehumanising humanitarian utopia, progressivism as yet has no tangable soul (such as the corpse of Lenin). Progressive social control operating void of a pseudo-religion makes progressivism vulnerable, the necessity of a spiritual element of social control forces progressivism into co-opting Sharia as its conscience in the West.

  5. It is well known I know but bears repeating in this atmosphere of massive money printing and expansion of govt. to provide “jobs” for the otherwise unemployable:
    “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us”.

  6. There’s nothing wrong with the joke. You just need to fix the timing a little. You need to introduce the government cuts first somehow in the back story, so that people can forget about it until the end. The very last lines need to go something like this:

    – Yeah well, we used to have Elmer with us before the cuts.
    – What did he do?
    – He was the one with the trees.

    So, then the punchline is properly based at the end. It has to be at the end, because if there is more text to be read before laughter, the surprise is diluted and spent.

    • You’re right. Timing is everything. Thanks for explaining so well why that thing limps. In regular prose I practice that all the time.

      If this fatigue passes, I’ll have a go at editing the joke.

      [A Big Seekrit, one for which I will be drummed out of the FemLib Corpse: women, even Irish women, on average can’t tell a joke as well as a man can. I think I know why, but that’s enough heresy in one comment. Yes, there are excellent comediennes – Sunny is one – but for the most part men own the field]

  7. Not a joke, but still…

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
    (c) Thomas Jefferson

    I guess it doesn’t work any other way

  8. Now back to the russian humor:
    A man crawls lonely in a desert. He is off his limits, he is dying and whispering:
    “Now, this is the end, I am so thirsty, I can’t take it anymore.”
    And suddenly a shovel is dropped from above and a Voice says: “Dig!”
    Putin (sic!) his last efforts in to it, the man starts to dig. He is digging and digging, and all of a sudden he digs out a bottle of water. The man quenches his thirst and says: “All right, I am okay!”. The Voice form above: “Give me back the shovel.” The man hops the shovel into the air and it disappears. The man crawls further ahead for awhile and then says: “This is it, I can’t take it anymore. I am hungry.” A shovel hits his head and a Voice from above: “Dig!” And so he digs, and he has dug out a basket full of exquisite food. The man has filled himself and says: “It’s all right, I am full!” A Voice from above: “Give me back the shovel!” The man hops the shovel into the air and it disappears.
    So the man is happy and he is jogging his way further into the desert. But he is lonely and he says: “I want to have sexual intercourse[redacted]!” A shovel hits his head and a Voice from above says: “Dig!” And man starts digging. He is digging for quite a long time and he is wasted. And finally he says: “I [redacted] am f***ked!” And the Voice form above says: “Just bring me my shovel!”

    I know it’s quite a long, but I hope it’s worth it. 🙂

    • Jokes and comments with the f-bomb are outside our mission. As I’ve often reminded readers, we have an agreement with home schooling parents to keep our blog free of bad language.

      Yeah, I know – everybody uses foul words now. Except that some people don’t, especially home schooling parents. And it’s not about religion; it is an attempt to avoid the casual degradation of language when you’re teaching the young. Things get imprinted.

  9. Pingback: Steynian 476rd | Free Canuckistan!

  10. I actually have plenty of it. Here is another one:

    A UFO abducts a russian guy, a german and a frenchman. Each one is given his own completely empty room and a pair of apparently unbreakable metal spheres. The aliens say that they are going to set free the one who is going to amuse them best.
    An hour later they visit the frenchman’s cell. He was able to put one sphere atop of another but apparently it’s not nearly enough to satisfy the aliens. They move on to german’s cell and see that he is juggling two spheres high into the air. The aliens are apparently amused and say that they are probably going to release him, just let them see what russian’s got. So they enter the russian’s cell and the two spheres are nowhere to be seen. They approach the russian guy and he says: “It’s not my fault! One of them is broken and the other one is lost!”

    • Actually they came back to German to ask excuse that he’d not get out, and then explain him what that Russian did.

      However this is nothing about politics or economics. It is just a kind of double-edged ethnical jokes. Typically that kind of “no definite conclusion” jokes were told about Jews though.

  11. Here’s a joke from the old CSSR (Czech/Slovak Socialist Republic). It was originally about the CSSR’s internal State Security (the VB) but now adapted for the USSA:

    Two wive of TSA agents are talking:

    I am SO tired of people thinking that TSA agents are stupid!

    Me too! I did something about it and bought MY husband an En-cyclo-pedia!

    That’s GREAT! I’m impressed that he knows how to ride one!


  12. One more potential inspiration source for “Union of Soviet States of America” could be abcdefgh@LJ

    I posted URL as a web-site link above

Comments are closed.