It's all fun & games until someone gets hurt
Where I grew up in Montana we told North Dakotan jokes. Not that we had anything against them, there are a lot of nice people there. Heck, my in-laws were from North Dakota. I have no idea why Montanans picked on North Dakota, but that's the way it was. We told jokes such as:
Did you hear about the North Dakotan wolf that got caught in a trap?
It chewed off three legs and still wasn't loose.
Did you hear that North Dakota declared war on Montana and
started lobbing hand grenades over the border?
It wasn't much of a battle, the Montanans
just pulled the pins and threw them back.
We thought we were very clever and had a good time laughing at their expense. I know I certainly did. Being too small for sports, I sought attention by telling jokes and being a smartass. I had to tread carefully though, because the local cowboys didn't like being made fun of. North Dakotan jokes were safer because the North Dakota state line is 300 miles east of the small-town bar where my friends and I hung out and drank beer.
The proprietor of the Club Bar in the 60's was the son of a homesteader, a part time rancher, and a full time character. He once had a pet bobcat that made his small and dingy establishment a 'destination' of sorts. It never occurred to me that it might draw people all the way from North Dakota.
Hubert got the bobcat as a kitten from a hunter who killed its mother for her pelt. It grew up around people but was never really domesticated. I remember that Hubert was very careful to always keep it on a short leash. He was an accomplished dog trainer whose Labrador Retrievers won awards. His German Shepard mix did amusing tricks for the bar clientele, but he was not as successful with the bobcat. It would tolerate being handled by Hubert, but not by the general public. He often brought it to the bar and it was always amusing to see the slashing claws when an uninitiated drunk tried to pet the 'pretty kitty'.
As they say, it's all fun & games until someone gets hurt!
One particular Saturday night I was in fine form, entertaining a small group gathered at one end of the bar. Well lubricated and getting louder as the beer flowed freely, I had just finished telling the guys this little gem:
Did you hear that the smartest man in North Dakota just moved to Montana?
It brought down the average IQ in both states!
As the laughter died down I felt an insistent tap on my shoulder. I turned to see a big guy with a small head perched on the next barstool. Even sitting down I could see he was both tall and wide, the kind of guy who wore a size 18 shirt and a size 6 hat.
"I'm from North Dakota," he drawled with a menacing glare. "And I didn't enjoy your joke."
Fueled by liquid courage and wanting to show off for my drinking buddies, I replied "that's okay, I'll tell the next one reeeal slooow."
The guys really cracked up at that brilliant quip and I made a little bow as I slid off my stool and headed for the bathroom.
"Thank you ladies and germs, I'll be here all night."
I was weaving a bit and not really paying attention as I passed by the sign reading Setters and pushed through the one that said Pointers. I didn't notice that I was being followed.
"Ahh, that feels better." My feeling of relief vanished as I zipped up and turned around to find the big North Dakotan standing between me and the door.
"Look buddy, I was just joking around, it's not personal," I stammered, suddenly feeling very alone and way too sober.
"Well, maybe I'll make it personal, funny guy!" he snarled, pulling out a razor.
It was a scary situation and I would have been dead for sure if he could've found an outlet to plug it in!