I heard on the radio recently that the original shaggy dog joke is lost. This, I assure you, is nonsense. It can be found in a slim book, The World’s Worst Jokes, published, I think, in 1964. The authors were not lying. The jokes are frightful. Here’s one:
Passenger: Bus Conductor! Where will I catch the next bus!?
Conductor: Right in the small of the back, sir, if you don’t step on to the pavement!
Well, I did warn you; and there’s plenty more, but let’s get on with The Original Shaggy Dog Joke:
A tramp was walking along a London street when he picked up a copy of the Evening Standard. And there he read a small advertisement which said, “Lost shaggy dog. Distraught millionaire offers £1m reward for return of said mutt. Easily identified. You will never have seen a shaggier dog. 100 Cheyne Walk, London, SW10.”
At that precise moment a dog walked by. It was the shaggiest dog the tramp had ever seen, and it was by itself. Without hesitation, the tramp apprehended the dog and went straight to Cheyne Walk.
“I am so sorry, sir,” said the lady who answered the door, “but that is an old advertisement. Mr Linebacker has left for Montevideo.”
So the tramp and the dog stowed away on a ship, got off at Montevideo, and went straight to the Linebacker address. “Oh, so sorry,” said the maid who answered the door. “He’s on holiday in Sydney.” Without a word, the man and the extraordinarily shaggy dog ran to the harbour and stowed away on a second ship, bound for Australia.
Alas, they missed the millionaire there, too. The butler who opened the door said, “It is my duty to inform you that Mr Linebacker has returned to London to count his millions.”
So, the tramp and the fantastically shaggy dog returned to 100 Cheyne Walk.
They were immediately ushered in to the presence of the great man, Mr Ebenezer Linebacker The Third.
“Have you got my shaggy dog, the shaggiest in the world?!” he cried. “I swore I’d pay a million pounds for his safe return, and that, indeed, I shall.”
Triumphantly, the tramp revealed the dog. “Here, sir,” he cried, “is your dog! The shaggiest in the world!!”
Mr Linebacker looked at the dog and said, “Oh, no! That’s not my dog. He’s nowhere near as shaggy as that!”
Now, I did warn you, and I did tell you that I found it in the World’s Worst Jokes, so you can’t complain, but it does have an instructional element to it.
Digital marketing is not policed as rigorously as traditional advertising, no matter what the authorities say. If you overclaim, as the millionaire did, it will eventually backfire. Honesty remains the best policy. It is up to you to keep things honest.
One more joke from the book:
Passenger: Bus Conductor! How long will the next bus be!?
Conductor: Fifty-seven feet and six inches, sir!