Humor is a wonderful gift. Being able to laugh and laugh often is essential to one’s well being. Laughter comes in all forms. Comedians, movies, books, are all ways to experience and appreciate humor. There is one form of humor that is particularly special, and that is the inside joke. It is a moment or occurrence that takes place among a select few, and those instances not only serve as a vehicle for laughter but as a source for great stories, and a common thread that binds those people for life.
I was on a trip to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Detroit. We were at the hotel bar when one of my friends, named Bill, ordered a Corona. Rather than let him enjoy his beer I felt the need to educate him. In my role as a banker I had financed some breweries in the past and wanted to share my vast knowledge. I proceeded to explain that beer is best when it is served as fresh as possible, is not exposed to light, and was not subject to changes in temperature. I pointed out that Corona came in a clear bottle, was imported and shipped warm, thus making it older in terms of shelf life, and that it ranked low in consumption it it’s home country of Mexico. I finished by saying that it’s popularity was directly due to shrewd marketing. Even the lime wedge used in the ads was misleading in my opinion. Because of harsh water people south of our border would use citrus to disinfect the edge of the can or lip of the bottle.
Bill took it all in. When the waiter came back around to take orders my pal looked up and without batting an eyelash said firmly “I’ll have a Corona.” Of course the whole table howled and from that point on Corona became a rallying cry.
Recently I accepted a job at a new bank that was a great opportunity for me. As part of the orientation process I went to the community where the bank was founded and visited with our Chief Executive Officer, a man I knew fairly well. Upon entering his home he greeted me warmly and asked if I would like a beer. Stating the affirmative I followed him to the kitchen where he opened his refrigerator and said in a joyful voice “How about a Corona?” Of course my friends on the inside got a huge laugh out of that one. The fact that my CEO’s name is Bill also made it even funnier.
On another Final Four Trip, this one in Indianapolis, we were having dinner at an iconic steak house in town called St. Elmo’s. Myself and my close friend Jay agreed to pick up the check. Our same friend Bill, (Mr. Corona), selected the wine. The wine he selected, Silver Oak, was not cheap. When Jay and I saw the final bill I got a little faint but we laughed about it too. Bill tried in vain to pay but we insisted on covering the tab. A few months later Jay invited me to dinner with some friends of his. He was the host but gave me the wine list. With as straight a face as I could muster I looked at him and said “How do you feel about Silver Oak?” To his credit he ordered it! Of course only he and I got that joke, and he got the bill! By the way if you like wine you should try Silver Oak as it is extremely good!
A few years ago my friend Gary and I were having a beer at a New Orleans bar called The Mayfair. The Mayfair is very cozy and he and I were seated next to the pool table. A rather shaggy looking guy playing pool kept glancing at us and smiling. Finally he spoke. He said it gave him great pleasure to see a father and son out drinking together. Now my buddy is only three years older than me but he was already sporting a full head of gray hair. I almost spit my beer up laughing while Gary slumped in his chair. Composing himself my pal responded by saying “I would have been less offended if he had said I looked like a steaming pile of pig S&#@!” Of course from then on he was Dad to me and I was Son to him.
Once a month a group of us get together to play poker. The games are low stakes and range from Bourre’, a Cajun card game, to more traditional games like seven card no peek, seven card stud, and variations of those games with wild cards. Generally everyone takes turns shuffling the cards, except me. A neck surgery I had a few years ago left me with some dexterity issues in my left hand. After watching me shuffle cards just once I was relieved of that duty and renamed the Claw. Only our group gets it when someone raises their hand in clutched fashion. The bright side is I don’t have to shuffle cards now.
Of course if you must know I am holding back some of my best stories. After all what is the value of an inside joke if you blog about it?