Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who Steals My Purse Steals Trash

"Who steals my purse steals trash;
'tis something, nothing;'
Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed."Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161
I have never understood the need for joke-stealing. Its the age-old story of back-stabbing and two timing that no one ever speaks of because they will seem petty. I have never held back on this blog and I will not stop today!
There you are at a casual dinner party (or raucous beer fest, take your pick) and you make a quiet joke. Your "friend" next to you hears how funny it is, repeats it at a louder decibal, and becomes the man/lady of the hour--the joker of the evening, the grand Puuba of Funny. Everyone loves him/her and you are just the quiet moron he/she brought along for his/her ride of comedy. You drink more and keep asking yourself, "Why didnt I say that louder? How can I make them know I'M THE FUNNY ONE!" You cant. You drink more, and while your friend basks in the glory of his/her comedic genius, you're table dancing your pain away and making out with everyone in the room. Age-old story in which I have seen and been apart. I ask you, WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN!?
The alternate joke-stealer is the guy in your cubicle who you use one of your finest jokes on. He laughs, he thinks its funny. In fact, he thinks its so funny he just happens to use your joke, plus his slanted smile, on your boss. The boss laughs and Joe-Creeper becomes #1 Intern. You, in turn, become Intern #2 who couldnt make a baby laugh at some keys shaking in their face. You can't go back in time and reserve your humor for the boss, you can't beat the crap out of Joe-Creeper and you can't hide the fury that burns within you for this joke stealer. He told the joke to the right person at the right time and you are nothing but an intern. Cry yourself to sleep, but make sure you seek revenge always on Joe-Creeper.
Sometimes, in worse situations, its not just jokes but full ideas. Complete ideas in which you created are credited to some jerk who was slick enough to give him/herself the credit to the right people. I have had such ideas stolen from me. They were brilliant gorgeously crafted ideas. The ideas turned into reality and I felt proud for my blossoming creativity. My problem; I crafted them with a shifty son-of-a-monkey who in turn pretended he crafted them on his own. My creation was his and his creation was mine. I was left looking, once again, like the drunk moron dancing on the age old table of life waiting for the shifty-son-of-a-monkey to recognize me. He never did. I can't go back and claim those ideas as my own; it would seem petty now.
However, I will say it takes a different breed of human to not only accept someone elses' jokes, or ideas, but to take owernship and pride in them. All of the above thieves have not only stolen, but claimed and revelled in ideas in which they took. It takes no conscious, giant testicles and a cold-heart to feel you have the right to something someone else produced. Its plagiarism in a verbal manner. If I took everything off Wikipedia, tacked it into my paper and then showed my paper off to other students shouting "HA! I'M BRILLIANT" wouldn't I seem like an idiot? Than why, why do we let joke stealers slide? How come we dont scream "I JUST SAID THAT! YOU JUST SAID IT LOUDER!" Why do we hide and blame ourselves?
Deep down, its because we know we'll make 1,000,000 more jokes, or come up with 1,000,000 more ideas, and the thief will be riding the one they stole from you for years.
To honesty and to good jokes,
~The Lady~


Jessica said...

I've definitely had this happen. If you're in a crowd and you don't have one of those "look at me, look at me!" voices, forget it - your joke will be lost or stolen.

In grad school, I saw a lot of idea stealing. I eventually learned to be territorial, despite the risk of being "that guy" who is always exclaiming "That was my idea!"

Speak up next time. I mean, maybe not when a shifty intern tells a joke to the boss, but with your friends, you can totally speak up. It might even be more funny if you nail the person for stealing it mid-steal.

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