Skepticism

Fish joke winner!

A couple of days ago I asked for help writing a punchline for “how do fish communicate?”. My own answers were ‘Morse Cod’ and ‘Using the ‘Net!’ but I felt there was a more kiddy-giggling, auntie-tickling, christmas-cracker-worthy answer and after an exhausting and delightful response, I have chosen my favourite.

Corrected for a typo and edited for max impact, the winner is…

How do fish communicate?

Speech bubbles!

Congratulations to Polymer for that gem. If you are wondering why I picked that, test it for yourself on a kid or a colleague (someone who won’t just berate you out of habit…), I almost guarantee they’ll laugh or immediately groan and roll their eyes. It works for me as a punchline because it has a funny word (bubbles), immediately conjures up a nice mental image, and is a good, original pun. Interestingly, and by coincidence, there’s an article in the Telegraph today discussing this very thing. Apparently four out of ten people will laugh at a bad joke, and the example they give is amazingly similar to my fish joke. Either the people at Washington State University are stalking me forward in time, or Jesus exists. One of the two. There’s also a quote in there from our friend Richard Wiseman, who entered my fish joke competition with ‘Seafax’. Unfortunately, it’s an answer only British folk will understand so I disqualified it. Or should that be dis-squall-ified?

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11 Comments

  1. The annoying thing is, Steve, it does look that way. The whole thing is coincidence, but as we all know from our studies of the ineffable mystery of the cosmos and ghost psychic homeopaths, there’s no such thing as coincidence.

    I am writing a stiff letter to the newspaper to ask them not to steal my story ideas, and another to the university to please run all research ideas past me in advance in case I plan to put something similar on Skepchick in the future, and another to Richard Wiseman asking why my ‘Morse Cod’ joke is not in his list.

  2. Admittedly there is a charm to the selection. I have never raised fish but believe that fish do not actually bubble (making effective use of their gills). There are those species that have an accessory organ to enable them to breath atmospheric oxygen but I am not sure of the “bubbleness” of these species or their ability to expel a gas for vocalization or speech. (Maybe that is why they need cartoon-style speech bubbles…) heh

    I believe that part of any skeptics *mission* is improvement of critical thinking so I raise this small footnote to this choice.

    Elsewhere on this site, there are innumerable criticisms, and more heated *discussion* for those who promote less-than-accurate information and I believe that the selected punchline may promote (in very very small measure) a less than accurate view of the world.

    A small nit perhaps. It did not stop me from enjoying the punchline.

    Y_S_G

  3. @YourSkepticalGuy: Hee! They don’t call each other ‘bob’ either. There are bubbles in water though, sometimes. I do respect your superior knowledge though, and am grateful that you brought it up. A fellow pedant is always nice to meet.

    Plus, if our communal joke promotes bad science, that makes it ironic and therefore double funny!

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