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Rated: ASR · Essay · Personal · #2247599
The Joke's on Me
My friend Dan owns a used book store, and I'm a regular. Dan's well read and very intelligent - he's got a Master's Degree and knows every author since the dawn of time. At least, it seems like it.

Every time I visit, he's got a story or a joke to tell.

One day, he sees me walk in and gets all excited. "Wait'll you hear this," he says.

I'm all ears.

"So this regular customer comes in and asks me how my daughter is doing," he begins, "and I tell him she just started college. So he asks me where she's going." His face is flushed in anticipation of a punchline. "I tell him she's going to Franklin Pierce University, and -- get this -- the guy says to me 'Who's Franklin Pierce?'"

He chuckles derisively, and I join in.

"What an idiot," I say. "Who doesn't know who Franklin Pierce is?" We share a good laugh at this fool.

Inside, I am panicky. I am frantic. I am thinking Who's Franklin Pierce?

An author? 19th century, maybe. British. What did he write?

I'm trying to move away from Dan under the pretense of browsing down an aisle.

An inventor? Early 20th century. Worked with Tesla.

Dan follows me, still laughing under his breath.

A famous soldier? 18th century, probably. One of the guys who signed the Declaration of Independence?

A customer is at the counter and he's got to check them out. I don't have my phone on me or any way to get this information I so desperately require.

Please God, please don't make me have to prove I know who Franklin Pierce is.

Prayers answered, I manage to escape without further inquiry.

At home, I google Franklin Pierce and find he was the 14th president of the United States, serving from 1853 to 1857. Oops! Duh.

The joke's on me!

313 words

Prompt: "It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor." (Max Eastman}
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