Steve Grutzmacher: Humor to Mark The End Of The Season


With Fall Fest in Sister Bay now passed, Door County’s traditional tourist season is winding down to an end. Yes, there may still be a few busy weekends if the weather cooperates, and there will be visitors during the holiday season, but many of the peninsula’s businesses are beginning to close (if they haven’t already done so) and we will have to wait until late next May to see the crowds of visitors we have seen the past several months. Thus it seems an appropriate time to sit back, take a deep breath, and perhaps enjoy a laugh.

Below is my re-telling of a joke that has been around for some time. I have taken the usual writer’s liberties when it comes to the embellishments, but the essence of the joke and – most importantly – the punch line remain the same.

I should note, to any of you out there who make take offense to what follows, that I was born in Chicago, lived in both Carthage and Knoxville, Illinois, and spent my early 20s until my early 30s living on the north side of Chicago. So, folks, I am well qualified to tell this joke.

Once upon a time an airplane traveling to St. Thomas crashed into the ocean. Everyone on board was killed except for three men who managed to struggle their way onto a tiny uninhabited island. After they had recovered their strength they introduced themselves.

“I’m from Iowa,” said the first man. “I was on my way to an agriculture seminar looking at ways we may be able to share crops and farming knowledge with other parts of the world.”

“Well, I’m from Wisconsin,” said the second man. “I was on my way to meet up with my family on a cruise. I had to stay behind an extra day to finish closing up the resort.”

“I’m from Illinois,” said the third man, a little too loudly, “and I was on my way to Club Med to score some babes.”

After the introductions were complete they formed a plan of action.

“We’ll need food,” said the Iowan. “We can probably find fruit further inland, and my case of seed samples washed up on the beach, so I’ll be able to start a garden.”

“We’ll need shelter,” said the Wisconsinite. “Since I own a resort I’m pretty good with my hands so I’ll see about making us a hut.”

“Cool,” said the Illinoisan.

“We’ll also need a vantage point to look for passing ships or planes and to build a signal fire,” said the Wisconsinite, casting a perturbed glance at the Illinoisan, “so I think we should make our way inland toward some higher ground.”

“Great,” said the Illinoisan. “I’ll lead because I’m a natural leader. Where’s the trail?” he added surveying the dense wall of vegetation at the edge of the beach.

“There is no trail, you moron,” said the Wisconsinite. “We’re the only people on the island!”

“We’re going to have to force our way through,” said the Iowan.

“Oh,” said the Illinoisan. “You lead. I’ll bring up the rear and watch our backs.”

Several months went by and no rescue was forthcoming. True to his word, the Iowan had a small garden firmly established and had found an abundant supply of fruit. A small spring of fresh water had been found and the Iowan and the Wisconsinite had made several large basins to collect rainwater. The Wisconsinite had constructed a roomy shelter for them that held out the wind and rain, and he had become adept at spear fishing in the shallows of a lagoon on the far side of the island. The Illinoisan complained that he didn’t have his own room in the shelter, that fruit gave him the runs, that the fish tasted salty, and that he hated using the outdoor toilet pit.

One day, as the three were walking on the beach they came across an old lantern which, when rubbed, released a Genie. “Rescue,” exclaimed the Iowan and Wisconsinite. “Where’s Barbara Eden?” cried the Illinoisan. The Genie granted them each one wish as a thank you for his release.

“Well,” said the Iowan, “I could wish for rescue or riches, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can’t be that selfish. I am a farmer, my Dad was a farmer before me, and my son will be a farmer after me. I want the land to be forever fertile in Iowa.” The Genie nodded, clapped, and the land was forever fertile in Iowa.

“Wow,” said the Illinoisan. “I was going to wish for a penthouse, unlimited wealth, and gorgeous women, but after listening to that selfless request I’ve changed my mind. I want a wall around the entire state of Illinois so that no one can ever enter my dear home state and we Illinoisans can have it all to ourselves.” Again the Genie nodded, clapped, and a huge wall surrounded the entire state of Illinois.

“I must say, you guys have surprised me and have caused me to re-think my wish, as well,” said the Wisconsinite. “Genie, can you tell me more about this wall around Illinois?”

“Well,” replied the Genie, “it’s 150 feet tall, it’s 10 feet thick, and it goes around the entire state. Nothing – and I mean nothing – can get in or out.”

“Perfect,” said the Wisconsinite. “Fill it with water.”

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