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Can you spare me a smile?

A fine line separates fact from fiction. The long awaited sequel of Scott Jones’ Life in the Laugh Lane lurches back and forth across that line. 

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Making Fun

Warning sign for


[1] This fun book is not intended to malign any human being (alive, dead, or undecided), group, company, city, country, planet (besides Earth and Uranus), galaxy or universe, except for the slandering, defaming, speaking harmful untruths about, and ruining the reputation of its author, often referred to herein as “The Village Idiot.”

[2] With vast multitudes of PC (People Complaining) in the US of Angst who are freshly woke (though my outdated, somnambulant grammar checker wants me to change it to “awake”), the author finds it difficult to determine which terms and activities are currently PC (Politically Correct) and not just PC (Personally Confusing).

[3] Please read at your own risk if you are a Flat Earther, a Screaming Karen, one of Agent Orange’s minions, a Give Us This Day Our Daily Conspiracy newspaper subscriber, refer to yourself as an acronym, or haven’t worn a mask because the pandemic is a hoax, and you’d rather protect your porch with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

[4] Do NOT read this if you are fanatic about any of the following categories which are the butt of jokes in this book: giant centipedes, rats, chickens, bears, Brits, snails and slugs, caterpillars, togas, clowns, doctors, vegans, carnivores, destructive construction workers, musicians and folks with Welsh or Norwegian ancestors like the author, plus Sumo wrestlers, Southern policemen, and Harley riders who wear size XXXXXXXXXXL t-shirts.


I have only been arrested once… for joking at an airport. In its infancy in 1973, the airline security in Wisconsin consisted of one blue-haired lady sitting behind a folding table. “What’s in your backpack?”

“Two books and a scarf,” I said. “Be careful, the scarf might explode.” Official charge: bomb threat, felony, $1,000 bail, reduced to disorderly conduct, $25 fine. No signs were posted that read, “No joking in the airport, you dipstick.”

While I spoke with delighted students after finishing a graduation concert at a Colorado high school, an angry man stomped up to the stage, wagged his finger at me, and shouted, “Filthy obscene language! I’ll see to it you NEVER perform in Arvada again!” And then he stormed away.

I asked the counsellor who’d hired me if he knew the man. “Yeah,” he said, “That’s the principal of the school.”

“Why is he so bent outta shape? It was a clean show.”

“You mentioned that many things ‘suck.’ He doesn’t like that word and thinks it constitutes swearing.”

Alas, no signs warned me that the principal sucked.

When I was eight, my mother overheard me yell the fun S-word a friend had taught me. She washed out my mouth with soap. If I’d said the F-word, she’d probably have used a flame-thrower. She didn’t even want me to play an F-chord on the piano. Later in life while performing, if I knew Mom was in the audience, I’d never speak the F-word. I was afraid she’d charge the stage with a spray bottle of Lysol and a mop for my mouth, and clean up my act on the spot.

Ken Jones, father of author Scott Jones, saying TA-DA!

Meet my father, a master of making fun—in this photo age fifty-something, going on five, working part-time as a marionette. In celebration of trouncing me at gin rummy and winning several cents, he’s proclaiming victory with a resounding “TA-DA” while using his arms as two exclamation points. I blame his sperm for my birth as a rapscallion with tongue in cheek or a foot in my mouth.

This first chapter you’re reading is the final chapter I wrote, after a British editor had penciled “PC?” in the margin to question the political correctness of some of my observations. Near a paragraph extolling (or making fun of) the eccentricities of Scandinavians, he’d written, “If there’s a statue of you in your hometown, they might tear it down.”

Is it possible, I thought, that these days the North Dakota locals, who have escaped to neighboring Minnesota, are not pounding down cold ones while sitting around a bonfire, humming the Hamm’s beer theme song—“from the land of sky blue waters”—and sharing Norwegian or Swedish jokes, depending on which clan is in the majority at the campsite?

The jokes are the same. “Did ya hear that Norwegians were throwin’ sticks o’ dynamite ’cross the border inta Sweden?” The Swedes lit ’em and threw ’em back! (Now switch the countries and tell it at the next campsite.) I mentioned this to my editor, but to appreciate it, he’d have to experience the companionship of Ole and Sven.

For decades I performed on stages; these days I perform on pages. It’s safer at home, but I can’t feel, see, or hear the reaction of these tiny audiences of one reader stretched across the globe. Normally I don’t intend to offend anyone, well, maybe Agent Orange. And I apologize in advance regarding “INDIA: a hip story” which may well annoy 18% of the world’s population in one chapter. Comedy is a perilous profession, and today, humor is not a laughing matter.

If you choose, feel free to have a ceremonial book-burning of Can you spare me a smile? and then upload the video on the web. Or if you come across a unique sign that commemorates the misprints, misspellings, and misjudgments that make us all human, please send me a photo.

Weird sign in a laundromat in Bangkok from Scott Jones'

I’m sure you “do not know the next time though,” but when you finally do, I’ll “kindly note and implementation” the fun. Thanks.


The Clown Problem

Joker the Clown picture in

We hired a Thai clown to perform for the kids at the Chiang Mai ToyRide. “Her” name was “Joker Man,” and though she, or he, seemed feminine, we never really knew for sure, since her, or his, baggy clothes disguised the plumbing of her/his gender, or the two petite trolls concealed under the costume. A world-class balloon twister, Joker Man—or Woman—could create most anything out of rubber and air, including a motorcycle, our solar system, and life-size water buffalo.

This reminded me of the ’80s when the clown population exploded in America. You might have thought WCA stands for Warhorse Challenge Association, Wollongong College Australia, or World Cheese Awards. You are correct, but WCA also stands for the World Clown Association which was founded in 1983. In short order, clowns were not only in the circus. You’d find them at conventions, expos, parties, family reunions… anywhere.

Dine at a fancy restaurant and a bunch of clowns might somersault in, balance dishes on their heads, and juggle the dinner rolls. Pandemonium would break loose when dessert was delivered—twelve dozen whipped cream pies. Did they tip the waitress? Of course… over.

Then it happened—a couple of clowns moved in next door. There went the whole neighborhood. They installed a trapeze in the oak tree and watered their lawn with a miniature fire engine. Soon the entire block was littered with rubber baseball bats and bowling pins, their front yard cluttered with elephant poop, and their backyard filled with a cannon. You never knew when that thing might go off and a human cannonball would drop in.

One morning a Volkswagen Bug pulled into the driveway, the doors flew open, and 36 people got out.

What about their kids? Picture little Emmet sitting at his third-grade desk, already bald, with a red plastic nose and wearing his father’s make-up. His shoes are three-feet long. He’s dressed in a hand-me-down polka dot suit with four huge buttons down the front. His friends have dogs and cats, but poor Emmet goes home to a rubber chicken.

It’s difficult to calculate how many clowns still live in America, since millions of them have yet to reveal their true nature. 75% of all licensed drivers are clowns. Congress is completely made up of clowns and coaxed along an unstable high wire by Agent Orange, the Unpresidential Buffoon. Some of your best friends might even be clowns, but you certainly wouldn’t want your sister to marry one.

The road to respectability has been rocky, and clown rights hard to achieve. Who can forget the Selzer Bottle Riots in the ’60s? Millions of water-gun-toting, make-up-wielding jokers descended on Washington to paint the town red, white, and blue, green, yellow, and purple. There wasn’t a statue standing without pie filling on its face and crust on its shoulders. The name “clown” became unacceptable and they demanded to be called “Painted Americans.” The law now requires colleges to fulfill their clown quotas. Students can major in Clownology by taking courses such as Fun 101, Advanced Faces, and the Fundamentals of Falling Down.

But how many still remain in the closet? I met an apparently normal woman and asked her out. Her name was Bozette. We had a great time on our date, so when I took her home, I didn’t dwell on the fact that she lived in a massive tent. Nor did I notice her butler’s entire tuxedo was tattooed on his body. What am I supposed to say about her roommates—the fattest lady and the thinnest man I had ever seen? I tried to kiss Bozette, but when she removed her glasses, her nose came off with them. I panicked and tried to sneak out the back flap of the tent, but the strongest man in the world stopped me.

Ever try to make love to a clown? They just can’t get serious. When I took off my clothes, she couldn’t stop laughing. Bozette dragged me into her bedroom—no teddy bears and no mattress—she had a real bear on a tricycle and a gigantic whoopee cushion. After one close encounter of the clown kind, she was smitten, I was smut, and we tied the knot.

Spotlights danced across the big top of the Clownitarian Church as lions roared. Men with whips herded friends, relatives, and an extended baboon family onto the packed bleachers, and then rolled a long red trampoline down the aisle. The Father of the Clown delivered Bozette in a wheelbarrow, surrounded by Clownsmaids and the Best Clown, while clownographers with squirting cameras took pictures of bouquets of squirting flowers. After a slapstick three-ring ceremony, calliope music filled the tent, and the audience burst into a rousing chorus of “Send Out the Clowns.” We bounced down the aisle, jumped onto her unicycle, and rode off into the sunset.


Waling on Wales

Sign in Thailand that says Keep Wales Tidy

If England harassed my Welsh ancestors as much as Brits make fun of me, I understand why my relatives left Great Britain. Unfortunately, my grandparents ended up in a town and state that all of America ridicules—Fargo, North Dakota—the letters of which can be rearranged to spell “a good, hot, rank fart.” This escape eventually led to my birth in the United States of America—which offers added insight into its inimitable culture by rearranging its letters: 1) “Fat, roasted, meat cuisine;” 2) “Fantastic idea? Sure, to me!” or 3) “An armistice? To us, defeat!”

Being half-Welsh was an unavoidable fate. My mother’s maiden name was also Jones, meaning “offspring of John,” which begs the question, “Like English, does the word John also mean “toilet” in the Welsh language?” Darlene Jones married Ken Jones, and my friends will never believe they weren’t blood-related, probably brother and sister.

As the age-old saying goes, created by the explorers who named it, “North Dakota isn’t the end of the world, but you can see it from there.” I wish Mom had popped me across the river in the eccentric state of Minnesota, which produced Vice President Walter Mondale (name rearranged: “a real meltdown”) who lost miserably in his presidential bid because of bad hair, enormous ears, too many gums when he smiled, and dark bags under his eyes the size of sofa cushions. For their governor, Minnesota once chose former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura and changed their state slogan to “Our governor can beat up your governor.” During the aftershock of 9/11 and former President Bush’s War On Terrorists And Random People Who Aren’t Bright White, progressive Minnesota elected the first Muslim congressman in America, quite remarkable for a bunch of tall, blonde, Scandinavian Lutherans.

North Dakota has produced one semi-famous singer Peggy Lee (or Leggy Pee), one semi-famous baseball player Roger Maris (rearranged, Sir Ogre Arm), and several prize-winning cows—Bessie, Bossy, and Beulah, though these might be the names of their large Scandinavian owners. It’s hard to tell them apart, because, like their cows, the owners appear to have five stomachs. What’s the difference between a champion cow in North Dakota and her owner? Two choices: 1) about three kilos; or 2) lipstick.

In Thailand, though my British friends know I’ve permanently left the USA, they persist with their japing about my inglorious American heritage. Standing with four Brits, I plead in an attempt to salvage my reputation, “But I’m half-Welsh!” Like a well rehearsed, synchronized maneuver in a movie scene, each “friend” silently grimaces and takes a giant step away from me as if I’d passed a good, hot, rank one. Is Wales that bad, worse than America?

For years I only knew two things about Wales: 1) it’s the birthplace of Tom Jones, the gold-chained, famous-to-aging-housewives, big-voiced crooner; and 2) it promotes the city with the longest name in the world which, unlike my home town, must be difficult to chant at sporting events: “Go get ’em lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! (Fargo is much simpler: “Go, Fargo, far, go far, go far, go!”) With so many consonants and even four “l’s” in a row, the Welsh language must’ve mutated in pubs after several hundred pints of beer and stuporous sessions of slurred singing.

The web told me that the negative British opinion of Wales began in 1847 with the English-speaking commissioner’s official report on their educational system, then largely conducted in Welsh. It concluded that “the natives were dirty, ignorant, lazy, drunk, superstitious, lying, and cheating because they were nonconformists and spoke Welsh,” which was similar to England’s view of the rest the world, except for the “spoke Welsh” part.

I also learned these grim facts: a) “Jones” means “an addiction to a drug, principally heroin,” and b) “Welsh” means “to cheat or swindle by failing to pay a debt,” perhaps resulting in c) “wales” which are “large welts raised on the skin by the lash of a whip.” And in 1841, 14% of the population in Wales was named Jones, which may verify the incestuous insinuations about my ancestors who possibly evolved from sis and bro into mumsy and pops.

I finally visited Wales, but only remember castles, more castles, and food that tasted like ground-up castles, possibly the worst meals I’d ever experienced, even more distasteful than native English cuisine. In London, dining was an anticipated event with savory selections from around the world, although I avoided local entrées.

Zealous British Waitress: “I’ll bet you’d love the chef’s special spotted dick!”

Suspicious American Me: “No, thanks. I went to see a doctor about one last week.”

Subdued Waitress: “Well then, have you ever tried haggis with bashit neeps?”

Me: “No, but I think stepped in some once.”

Flagging Waitress: “Hmm. Our choice faggots are truly out of sight.”

Me: “Let’s keep ’em that way. Please bring me a dish from any other country in the world.”

While planning meals in Wales, I’d ask myself, “Should I try to find something with actual flavor today, or just go with another bowl of fun-size Snickers?” The ale, however, was addicting, and I consumed significant quantities while trying to forget I’d have to eat again. I remember nothing about the capitol city of Cardiff except it was called Cardiff, which is probably the Welsh word for castle.

The conclusion and/or response to my British mates? Who cares! Make fun of me. I do!

Final facts: The city name Llanfairpwellgwyngyllgog… etcetera… means “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red cave,” but the world’s longest city name is in Thailand:
tarayutthayamahadilokphopnopparatrajathaniburiromudomrajaniwesmahasatharnamornphimarnavatarnsathitsakkattiyavisanukamprasit, meaning “Bangkok… whatever.”

Fargo doesn’t really mean anything, except its namesake, William G. Fargo, a financial backer of the railroad and partner in the Wells-Fargo Express Company. In some circles the acronym FARGO means “Fast Advection in Rotating Gaseous Objects” [“advection” means “the horizontal flow of air, water, etc.”] which seems to tie back into the previously mentioned letter rearrangement of “a good, hot, rank fart.” Fargo is located right across the river from Moorhead, and everyone knows what that means.