“I don’t usually talk this much,” my cab driver said to me.
We had been chatting pretty much non stop from the airport to my hotel, about an hour’s drive. During this drive lacking in sites of towering London buildings or old Victorian houses or lovely cottages (or anything I had imagined, rather than highways looking just like any other highway from back home), we talked and laughed about places I could see during my time in London. We then switched the conversation to British and American TV (have I mentioned, by the way, I am proficient in British crime dramas?), and my cabby (I’ll call him Paddy, for I think I saw Paddy on his name tag—I really need to learn to be more observant) wanted to tell me a line from a British show—a line ripe with double-meaning. Double-entendre? Word play? Yes, please.
“I’m embarrassed to say this,” he said, and I begged him to do so. At this moment, my dad made a visit in spirit as I explained to Paddy how my dad and I used to watch The Benny Hill Show together. Classic, clean, family-friendly fun. I do love a good dirty joke. It was safe for Paddy to tell me the joke.
Let me stop here to say I suppose what I’m about to tell you means this will not be a classic, clean, family-friendly blog, but here is the joke from a 1930s British TV personality, Max Miller…
But wait…a little interesting information about Max Miller from the web site Max Miller – The Cheeky Chappie (http://www.maxmiller.org/jokes5.html)—don’t you love the word “cheeky”? I think I’m going to call someone cheeky at least once on this trip—but where was I? Ah yes, some history about Max Miller:
The laws on censorship were strict during Miller’s lifetime. Those responsible for censorship were the Lord Chamberlain in London and local watch committees in the provinces. Miller’s material needed approval by those bodies but by using innuendo, leaving out the last word or words of a joke, he could get away with much risqué and saucy material. However he never swore or told a dirty joke on stage.
Having taught the equally “risqué and saucy material” that is 18th Century British literature, I was ready. And here’s the joke; I’ll quote from the web site, but it was fun listening to Paddy tell it—I’m fairly certain he was blushing as he did so:
I was walking along this narrow mountain pass – so narrow that nobody else could pass you, when I saw a beautiful blonde walking towards me. A beautiful blonde with not a stitch on, yes, not a stitch on, lady. Cor blimey, I didn’t know whether to toss myself off or block her passage. (Max Miller)
I gave Paddy a hug at the end of the trip. It was a great trip.
I thank you my Cabbie friend, for making day one a great start to my journey.
–An American Introvert in London