The Polar Bear Joke

The following parable emerged from my deranged thirteen-year-old mind. It came amidst a period of innovation in the realm of humor, alongside such gems as, “Q: why did the middle-aged Canadian woman throw the butter out the window? A: because it was spoiled.” While these hardly approximate “funny,” there are other, deranged minds out there who revel at the anti-joke, and to these kindred souls, I say: this is for you. The following is a loose outline of the “structural elements” I used in the past, almost none of which are of actual importance to the “plot” or “punchline.” I encourage you to deviate or elaborate from what follows.

Once fateful day, a child was born. He looked up into his father’s eyes, and recognized the man that had helped bring him into the world. He said, “when I grow up, I’m going to be a daddy, just like you.” His father smiled affectionately, and replied, “good for you, son, good for you.”

On the day the boy turned four, he saw a big, red firetruck drive past his house. He was impressed with the loud sirens, and the way the firemen rushed into danger. To his father, he said,  “when I grow up, I’m going to be a fireman.” His father smiled again, and replied, “good for you, son, good for you.”

Then when the boy turned ten, he went with some friends to the movie theaters. They watched a film about rocket ships and aliens, and the boy came home amazed by the wonders of space. He said to his father, “when I grow up, I’m going to be an astronaut.” His father smiled once more, and replied, “good for you, son, good for you.”

Newly inspired, the boy applied himself to his studies. He spent long hours reading all the books he could find about space and galactic travel. After excelling in all his classes for many years, the boy — now a man! — graduated from college and went to astronaut school, where he finished at the top of his class.

The astronaut stood up tall and looked himself over in the mirror. He had finally made it. So he went to Friendly’s to celebrate with one of those inverted-cone monster sundaes, which were his favorite.

The hostess sat the astronaut in a booth. A small, elderly woman approached him. She timidly tugged on his shirt, and said, “excuse me sir, but you are sitting on my dog.” Sure enough, directly beneath the the astronaut, was a fluffy, white poodle. He offered his apologies to the lady, then handed over her dog.

At that exact moment, a man burst into the restaurant. His eyes scanned the crowd before settling on the astronaut. He rushed to his side, exasperated, and breathlessly crooned: “It’s time for the mission.” The astronaut appeared confused. “The what?” he asked. “The mission!” the other replied. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “Why didn’t you say so?”

The pair raced from the restaurant and sped off toward the launching pad. On the way there, they ran a red light and a cop saw them. Luckily, the astronaut and the cop knew each other from their bar mitzvah days, so the cop let them go with a warning and they sped away to the launching pad.

Once in the cabin of the rocket, the man sat down in the pilot’s chair. He looked over the dashboard and gauges, steadied his nerves, and then buckled-in.

From the command tower, the man proclaimed: “We’re ready for take-off!”

The man tore off his seatbelt and hurdled himself from the craft. He ran down the rocket tower and out to the street. He kept running until he was only a speck in the distance, and then he disappeared.

At the launchpad, everyone was befuddled. Hours later, they were still scratching their heads and trying in vain to find a replacement for the mission. All seemed lost — until then, in the distance, the astronaut began to reappear. Slowly, he made his way back toward the crowd, carrying a gigantic — what was that? — a polar bear??

Once the astronaut reached the launching pad, the man in the command tower asked: “What did you do that for? I said we were ready for take-off.”

The astronaut’s mouth fell open. Then suddenly, he burst into laughter, and slapped his hand against his face. “Take-off? I thought you said ‘polar bear!!’”