I heard three fine jokes last night from Nick Samios, a former director of Brookhaven National Laboratory. Nick has a great NY accent, so try to hear these jokes as if Nick were telling them to you.
Nick and Sophia Christakos are lying in bed. Sophia says, “Nick, what? You’re keeping me awake, is something the matter?” Nick says, “No, go to sleep.” Sophia says, “Tell me, what is it?” Nick says, “If you must know, I owe Joey Angelopoulos over the way $10,000.” Sophia says, “Let me do something to help you.” She gets up, opens the window and hollers across the street, “Hey, Angelopoulos! Nick Christakos can’t pay you!” She climbs back in bed and says, “There. So now he can’t sleep.”
This is a story about advice, and any story about advice becomes a story about a village rabbi. Two men came to see the rabbi of their village.
The first one said, “Rabbi, I have a pear tree in my yard. My father planted it, I keep it watered and don’t let the chickens peck on its roots. One of its branches hangs over my neighbor’s wall. So what do I see yesterday but my neighbor standing there eating one of my pears. This is theft, and I want him to pay me damages.”
The rabbi nodded his head. “You’re right, you’re right.”
The other neighbor said, “Rabbi, you know that I have seven children–without my garden to feed them, how would I manage? But that tree casts a shadow where nothing will grow. So yesterday, when I go out to dig some potatoes, a pear from his tree falls and hits me right on the head. How am I hurting my neighbor if I eat it? And doesn’t he owe me something for his tree’s blocking sunlight?
The rabbi thought and then said, “You’re right, you’re right.”
Meanwhile, the rabbi’s wife had been hearing all this. “How can you say, ‘You’re right’ to both of these men? Surely one of the men is right, and the other is wrong!”
The rabbi looked unhappy. “You’re right, you’re right.”
Tom the cat was a cat who loved romance. The trouble was, when he made romance he couldn’t keep from singing and making a racket that woke up the neighbors. So finally, after the neighbors complained and complained, his owner took Tom to the vet and got him fixed.
For a while, the neighborhood was quiet. But then, little by little, Tom took up his midnight wandering and singing, softly at first, then louder and louder, until even his owner couldn’t stand it. The owner said, “Tom, what is this? I thought you were fixed!” Tom said, “Yes, but then I thought–why not become a consultant?”