I don’t know about you, but I need a laugh today. Big-time.
I think back some years to a mailing I got from my cigar vendor, offering every customer who wanted one a *free* bundle of [name withheld] cigars. “I don’t know what So-and-so was thinking when he bought these for us,” wrote the company president, “but these are the most awful cigars I ever tasted. I wouldn’t dare take money for them. All I want is to get them out of my warehouse and never see them again.”
Naturally, I ordered a free bundle. I mean, how bad could they be?
Like smoking chopped-up dried-out rubber bands wrapped in an old brown paper bag. “Awful” was putting it too mildly. If Jimmy Carter’s presidency could be turned into a cigar, it would taste like these.
Now I had a friend at the Y named Al, a kindly, cheerful, polite fellow who was a major cigar aficionado. A connoisseur. He liked to talk cigars. And so I told him, “Al, I recently sampled a new brand that I’d never heard of before; and I’ve gotta tell you, these are the best cigars I’ve ever had!” I praised them to the skies, whetting his appetite. “Tell you what I’ll do,” I said, “I’ll bring one for you the next time we’re here. That’ll be Wednesday. And Friday you can tell me how you liked it. I can’t wait to hear how much you enjoy it!”
This was duly done. I admit it was naughty. But it was a harmless prank–one puff, and he was going to get rid of that cigar.
So there we were, back at the Y. “Well?” I said, “Was that a great cigar, or was that a great cigar!”
Poor Al! You should’ve seen the expression on his face. He wanted to be polite. He wanted to be grateful. He probably thought I paid an arm and a leg for those horrible cigars. But he looked like someone trying to see the bright side of being hanged. He hemmed and hawed and just couldn’t come up with an answer. Finally I couldn’t hold back laughing anymore; and when I caught my breath, I let him in on the gag. He got a laugh out of it, too.
“That cigar was just putrid!” he said.
“That’s why they’re giving ’em away.”
“If he charged people for these,” Al said, “someone would hunt him down and shoot him.”