Taking Stock - December 23, 2013

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What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?

It’s a Christmas quacker of course.

Yes, it’s that time of year when everyone’s sense of humour takes a seasonal break.

Stuffed with turkey, sprouts and those little sausages wrapped in bacon, we’ll all soon be sitting round that table, paper hats on heads, ready to unleash on the world the kind of jokes which, at any other time of the year, wouldn’t make it beyond the concept stage, never mind on to paper.

And oh my how we chuckle – even though half the punchlines make little sense and our time would probably be better spent making sure the children don’t try to eat any of the collection of miniature screwdrivers, dice and tiny compasses littering the table.

I’ll admit, I quite like a cracker joke, especially one into which a bit of thought has gone.

I’ll have none of this business of re-writing old classics. Quite frankly if I got the pack containing the lame gag about the turkey crossing the road because he wasn’t a chicken I’d be banging on the shop doors demanding my money back.

I do quite like the one about how Good King Wenseslas likes his pizza (deep pan, crisp and even) and there’s a giggle to be had in why Santa’s helper went to the doctor (for his Elf check). They’re both classics and have set me off on a mad internet search for cracker joke perfection.

There are plenty of clever offerings which don’t quite work, for example, spanish sheep wishing each other ‘fleece navidad’.

And there are some cheeky subversive efforts too, the most popular Christmas wine being ‘I don’t like Brussels Sprouts’ – get it?

There may be some who say it’s time to update those cracker classics.

I don’t hold with that.

Give me a classic, with all the family reading the punchline, any day.

Besides if you don’t like the gag you’ve got, you can always pull the other one.

Merry Christmas.