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Purcell: We can use a little Irish humor right now

March 17, 2017 at 4 a.m.


Thank goodness it's St. Patrick's Day. Our country is in need of some Irish humor about now.

With all the vitriol in our politics these days, we could use more brotherly love — which reminds me of the joke about McAlister.

One Saturday night, he ordered three pints at the pub. When the bartender asked him why he wanted three, McAlister explained: "I've got two brothers, one in America and one in Australia. Every Saturday night we go to our respective pubs, order three pints and drink with each other. Right now, me brothers are sipping three pints, too."

McAlister continued his tradition for several months. But one Saturday he ordered only two pints.

"Sweet goodness," said the bartender, "did one of your brothers die?"

"The brothers are fine," said McAlister. "It's just that I quit drinking."

Reports of alleged wiretapping and spying are all over the news of late. That reminds me of the one about a German spy who was sent to Ireland during World War II.

The German was instructed to meet an Irish spy named Murphy and confirm Murphy's identity by saying, "The weather could change by Tuesday."

After he parachuted into Ireland, he set off for town. Along the way, he asked a farmer where he might find a man named Murphy.

"Well, sir, it depends on which Murphy," said the farmer. "We have Murphy the doctor, Murphy the postal carrier, Murphy the stonemason and Murphy the teacher. I, too, am a Murphy, Murphy the farmer."

The German got an idea.

"The weather could change by Tuesday," he said.

"Aye," said the farmer, "you'll be wanting Murphy the spy."

The resistance of millions to our overreaching government continues to remake our political landscape. It reminds me of the time a policeman caught Seamus with a bucket of fish in a no-fishing zone.

"You've got it wrong," Seamus said to the policeman. "These are my pet fish. I bring them to the reservoir every day for exercise. After they swim for 10 minutes, they come back to the bucket and I take them home."

"Prove it," said the cop.

Seamus dumped his fish into the reservoir and off they swam. An hour later, they still hadn't returned.

"Ha, you lying rogue," said the officer. "Where are your pet fish?"

"Fish?" said Seamus. "What fish?"

The economy is exploding suddenly — nearly 300,000 private-sector jobs were created in February, according to ADP and Moody's Analytics, exceeding estimates by a staggering 100,000. That gives hope to millions who had dropped out of the workforce entirely.

That reminds me of the one about St. Patrick visiting an Irish pub. Donovan, McNally and Finnegan saw St. Patrick enter the pub and each bought him a beer.

When St. Patrick shook Donovan's hand, Donovan said, "My arthritis! St. Patrick, your touch has cured it!"

St. Patrick shook McNally's hand, and McNally said, "My blind right eye! St. Patrick, you've cured it!"

St. Patrick went to shake Finnegan's hand. Finnegan shouted, "Get away from me, St. Patrick. I'm on disability!"

Yes, with all the conflict and disagreement going on, our public discourse could profit from a better sense of humor. Which reminds of the time Paddy died.

His wife went to the newspaper to place his obituary. The newsman said the cost was $1 a word.

"I only have $2," said Mrs. Paddy. "Just print 'Paddy died.' "

The newsman decided old Paddy deserved more. He gave her three extra words at no charge.

"A kind man you are," said Mrs. Paddy. "Print me husband's obituary this way: 'Paddy died. Boat for sale.' "

— Tom Purcell writes for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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