Monday, March 3, 2014

Empty Theater Joke

Whenever I go to the movies with my father and there are like three people sitting in a huge theater, he always complains, "All the good seats are taken!"

He has been telling this joke for at least thirty years to basically the same five people and I can't even remember anyone ever laughing at it. Yet for some reason, he still persists in saying it.

This is my Empty Theater Joke:

There are a few services in the hospital that notoriously don't answer pages. It varies from hospital to hospital, but I'll go out on a limb and say that surgery never answers their pagers. It's not their fault though, I guess. I mean, they're in surgery.

Anyway, whenever someone suggests that I page surgery or another equally unreachable service, I say, "I may as well just write my callback number on a piece of paper, stick it in a bottle, and throw it in the ocean, right?"

I think this joke is incredibly witty, yet I can probably count the number of laughs I've gotten on one hand. Like maybe a chuckle or two. And maybe one, "Yeah, they suck!" More often the person just shrugs and says, "Page them anyway."

Yet I still persist in saying it. Because I know in my heart that it's a great joke and that someday, somewhere, I will meet that one person who really gets it and we'll have a good laugh together and it will all be worth it.


  1. Timing - I think you don't get laughs because of timing. Not in the traditional sense, but in that the person both has to be around your hospital long enough to know that surgery never answers their pages AND for a short enough time that they never heard your joke before. If they learn that surgery doesn't answer from your joke, then they will not laugh. Try holding back on the joke until surgery's reputation is established in the new person's mind, then letting loose with it. I think you'll get more that a chuckle as it IS pretty funny.

  2. I always answer my pages.

  3. i promise, if we ever meet, and you tell that joke, to laugh.

  4. I'd get that and laugh at it. I'm aware enough of people who don't return pages I don't even need to know what department or who it is.

  5. Oooh, I think I'll start using this every time I'm asked to page toxicology in the evening... Even better since I live over 4000 miles from the nearest ocean...

    1. Just curious - I am picturing the world map in my brain and I wonder where you would have to live to be over 4000 miles from any ocean. I know this is geographically dense of me, but ...?

    2. You're not dense, I just can't type. Try 1000 miles and that's about right.

  6. Ignoring pages is not specialty specific, it is department specific. At the institution where I work Surgery has one of the best page responses because the department emphasizes it. Neurosurgery on the other hand . . .