Friday, 27 November 2009

My grandad's W.P.A. joke

I wrote previously about my maternal grandfather's personality change later in life, and the fact that while it ultimately led to a sad place, the journey itself contained quite a lot of humor. Last night I remembered another joke he told during this period. I got the impression from listening to him talk about life during the Depression that there was a lot of satire around the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), which, no doubt, did an awful lot of good work, but also seems to have been regarded as being prone to overstaffing - for obvious reasons. My grandad's joke was an example of what must have been a much wider tendency to poke fun at the W.P.A. during the New Deal.

An old man with a large front lawn looked out his window and realised that the grass in his yard was nearly knee-high. Because he was old with a weak heart, he didn't want to risk cutting it himself. His neighbor suggested that he call the W.P.A. to see if they had someone who could do it.

"Hello, is that the W.P.A.?"
"I was wondering if you could send someone over to cut the grass in my front yard. It's gotten out of control."
"Sure, give me your address and we'll send over four men and a Johnny-on-the-job."
"Four men and a Johnny-on-the-job? What do I need all that for?"
"Well, sir, that's one comin', one goin', one restin', and one mowin'."

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