As a general rule I don’t try to tell jokes. I forget where I am going with them or I get to the punch line and mess it up and nobody laughs. Sometimes people laugh at me. There is a big difference. I also only happen to know one bear joke, but trust me, never before was that bear joke more relevant than at work today. So please bear with me. If you didn’t laugh at that last sentence don’t worry, it wasn’t the bear joke. I just threw that in as a sort of added extra bonus.
A couple of weeks ago I asked my assistant Toby to source a stuffed moose head. It’s the sort of crazy thing I do actually ask him to do. I have a client who is building a log cabin in his garden in Chelsea and I am turning the interior of it into a Scandinavian boudoir. Well, I found out today that Toby accidentally clicked on the wrong box on the taxidermist’s website in Anchorage and, rather than order a moose head, he requested the urgent dispatch of an eight foot tall two hundred and fifty pound stuffed white bear. I knew nothing about this small error until this morning when I opened my email account, only to find an email message from my landlord. He was threatening my eviction from the building on grounds of health and safety if I did not remove the bear from the basement immediately. Apparently it was scaring security on a nightly basis. I told Toby we must urgently go to the basement, at level minus two, put the bear into the elevator, then take it to my office, on level plus four. When we got back there I would then fire him. I wasn’t really going to fire him. It was a little joke of mine which had no punch line to speak of, and one which I noticed Toby wasn’t laughing at much.
I am not sure if you have ever personally tried to manoeuvre a two hundred and fifty pound stuffed white bear into an elevator but it is not as easy to manhandle as you might initially think. This one had its arms outstretched like it was about to start sleep walking or simply maul its next victim so it all got a bit complicated when we wanted to close the elevator doors. The paws kept getting stuck and the electronic voice in the elevator kept repeating “doors are opening doors are closing doors are opening doors are closing.” If we had just been able to get the arms off it we would have been be okay.
“Go to maintenance,” I said to Toby, “and borrow the closest thing they have in their tool kit which resembles a hack-saw.”
“What will I tell them I want it for?” Toby said.
“Just make up some excuse but keep things simple and don’t say it involves anything whatsoever to do with livestock.” He came back five minutes later and said it had gotten a bit tricky what with the hack-saw request on account of the fact that maintenance didn’t like the idea of any of the tenants making building adjustments without prior written consent. So they’d asked if a pair of scissors would do instead?
“Oh don’t be so ridiculous,“ I said. “How on earth are we supposed to get the arms of a bear off with a pair of scissors?”
Needless to say I tried, but Toby said if we didn’t make any alterations to the bear the taxidermist in Anchorage was still willing to swap it for a last minute moose head replacement. So in the end its arms stayed on and it only took us about fifteen minutes to get the bear up to my office via the building’s central staircase. However, once you get past the ground floor level of the building the staircase does open up onto glass conference rooms along the way. This meant that the vacuum cleaner sales team meeting taking place on level plus one, and the annual advertising company award ceremony on level plus three, now know about the bear. Otherwise I think we totally got away with it, though I don’t recall seeing anyone laughing.
A man goes into his local cinema and sits down to watch a movie. He notices what looks like a big hairy big bear sitting in the seat right next to him. The man turns to the bear and says, “Pardon me for interrupting your popcorn, but, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” says the bear, “shoot.”
“Ok,” says the man to the bear. “Are you a bear?”
“Why yes,” says the bear, “I am indeed a bear.”
“Ok,” says the man to the bear, “what are you doing in a cinema watching a movie?”
“Well,” says the bear, “I did love the book.”