Pine Nuts: Is there humor in the bible?

People sometimes ask me when I’m pretending to be Mark Twain, “Is there any humor to be found in the Bible?” “Yes,” I answer, with a little sugar in my voice. “There is humor to be found in the Bible, especially at Christmas, when we need it most. You see, there exists a street in Damascus, even today, that goes by the name of, are you sitting down? Goes by the name of, ‘Straight.’ You really need to see this street called, ‘Straight,’ for when you do see it, well, you just might laugh yourself right into an asthma attack, and we don’t want that to happen.”

Personally, I would like to have known the carpenter Jesus before he began proselytizing, before he entered the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers. I cannot picture Jesus hanging drywall, he must have been straw boss on every project he worked, and spent most of his time healing those who were injured on the job before Workman’s Comp.

I sometimes wonder myself if Jesus might have had a sense of humor himself. Mark Twain maintained that the worst punishment that could be meted out to a man who told a bad joke could be found in the Bible. The sixteenth verse of chapter one cites: “And so the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables instead.” They made them eat vegetables! What could possibly be worse?!

It makes me smile yet when I think back to what Samuel Clemens once wanted for Christmas…

“I want a shaving stone for Christmas, ‘Adam’s Shaving Stone.’ Adam had no other means of shaving, so he just laid his cheek on a stone and his cheek became smooth. That is just the thing I want. The Madam will have no cause to complain over my never being ready on time for church because it takes so long to shave. I will just put this into my vest pocket on Sunday. Then, when I go to church, I’ll pull the thing out and enjoy a quiet shave in the back pew during the long prayer.”

Samuel quipped once that he was old enough to have been mentioned in the Bible. “Yes, you look at Mathew and you will see, “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile — walk with him Twain.”

We must find it in our hearts to forgive Samuel for this Christmas greeting of 1890: “It is my heart-warmed and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace, except the inventor of the telephone.” You see, Alexander Bell gave Sam the first telephone in a private residence, but he took it out, he never got any calls…

Finally, humor and satire aside, we leave the last word to Samuel: “Christmas reminds us Forgetters of the Forgotten.”

P.S.: For audio click

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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