NEW RELEASE! What Is This—Some Kind of Joke?

L800SLA rabbi, a priest, and a minster walk into a bar.  The bartender says, “What is this—some kind of joke?”

 No, the rabbi routinely hangs out with these guys.  In bars. 

I don’t know; maybe it’s a salad bar.

…and Mordechai Schmutter is off and running with his latest humor book: What Is This—Some Kind of Joke?

(Yes, the question mark is part of the title; as Schmutter points out, like you’re a teenager who ends every sentence with a question to let the other person know that the conversation isn’t over.)

The great thing about this book is that it’s got the flavor of nearly every type of joke around, so you don’t have to fear that you’re being gypped out of even one little bit of humor. There’s a section of articles pertaining to dad jokes; chicken-crossing-the-road jokes; changing-a-light-bulb jokes; orange-you-glad-I-didn’t-say-banana jokes; what’s-black-and-white-and-red-all-over jokes; and many more.

And in case you’re still doubting just how many laughs you can get from a book like this, below is an excerpt from the book so you can see—or laugh—for yourself!

Click here to purchase online.

All the Amenities of Home

This summer, you should definitely take some time to go on a vacation; quick, before the kids get off from school. And since you don’t take vacations very often these days, you should definitely try to get as much as you can out of this one. For example, if you go to a hotel, you should try to get some soaps and shampoos. You can also get pens, stationery, shower caps (even though you have never used one and don’t understand why someone would wear a rain hat in the shower), and, if you’re willing to stay in a “smoking” room even though you don’t smoke, you can get matches.

Which brings us to the question: Is it really OK to take this stuff? According to recent surveys, most hotels are not only OK with people taking things home, they’re actually happy that they do, because it means that:

  1. The shampoo is so good that people are going, “I can’t just leave the rest of this here!” (Not that, say, Holiday Inn is making their own shampoo. There’s probably someone in the back with a funnel, pouring big bottles into tiny bottles.)

But the main reason they’re happy is that:

  1. Whenever you use that item, you will be reminded of what a nice time you had in their hotel, and you’ll say, “You know? We should really go back there! We’re almost out of shampoo!”

On the other hand, what these hotels might not realize is that most people who take these things never end up using them. It’s too much work to open up a new bottle of shampoo every other day, and it’s too embarrassing to put it out for guests, so these people just have stores and stores of them. Yet some of these people come home with so much of this stuff that you think maybe they’re sneaking into other people’s rooms. And on top of all this, they’re taking a really big risk, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than getting stopped by airport security and having them confiscate twenty-five tiny bottles of shampoo.

Also, there’s probably a line between things you can take home and things you probably shouldn’t. For example, most people are pretty sure that if you use part of a bottle of shampoo, you can take the other half home. It’s not like the management is going to come into the room and go, “Woo hoo! He left half the bottle! Tell Bernice that she only has to pour half as much into this one!”

But if you don’t use a bottle at all, can you take it home anyway? On the one hand, the hotel is putting out the items for you to use while you’re there, so logic says that if you don’t use it, they want it back. If you go to someone’s house for Shabbos, and they say you can take as much cake as you want, would you get up and dump the whole thing into your suitcase? But on the other hand, why should the hotel benefit from your lack of hygiene? And, more important, are you specifically not showering because you want to take this shampoo home?

Yes, you definitely won that one.

Also, some people take things that are clearly not meant to be taken. The most commonly-taken item is the towel. Apparently, people really want plain white towels that have been washed five thousand times (or at least folded five thousand times), and are for some reason slightly smaller than the towels they have at home, unless all the towels they have at home came from hotels.

And that’s not even the worst thing people have stolen. Apparently, rather than buying items at the store, people will pay even more money to go to a hotel and they will bring empty suitcases along so they can inconspicuously sneak these things out, and have the hotel inconspicuously charge their credit cards. Here are some of the items people have stolen:

  • Bedsheets
  • Curtains
  • Paintings
  • Hangers
  • Mirrors
  • Showerheads
  • Flowers from the hallway

And those aren’t even the strangest items. One hotel guest in England stole a grand piano out of the lobby. Another hotel found that someone stole the room number off one of their doors. They only noticed this later, when they saw the next guest wandering around the hall, looking for his room. (“There’s no 93! It’s just 91, then this door, and then 95!”) And another hotel had a repeat guest who, over the course of a few months, stole an entire place setting, one piece at a time. I’m not sure what he’s doing at home with one really fancy place setting.

OK, so you’d think that, to prevent these thefts, the hotel management should do something, such as — I don’t know — get a guard dog. That’s the perfect kind of dog to have in a hotel, where every single room contains at least one person the dog is unfamiliar with. That’s a great idea, right?

Wrong. Because in one hotel, the owner’s dog was stolen.[1]

But why do people steal from hotels? Is this just the kind of thing that happens when you run a business where you have insomniac strangers roaming your premises at four in the morning and making great decisions?

“Hey, that room says 93! Our house is 93! What are the chances? I think we should take the whole door!”

Or else they have nothing to do in their rooms, so they spend all night lying there and thinking: “That lamp is nailed to the nightstand. But the nightstand isn’t nailed down!”

On the other hand, some people try to rationalize. They say things like, “Oh, the hotel probably writes these things off.”

What does that even mean? I’m a professional writer, and I have no idea how to write things off. If I did, I would quit writing articles and just devote my days to writing things off.

Maybe it means that they factored the thefts into the cost of the room. They said, “Look, it really costs us like seven bucks to have someone sleep here for one night; slightly more if he cranks up the A/C to much higher than he would if he were paying for air.[2] But what if he steals the carpet? I think we should make it $200 a night and call it even.”

“Yeah, but what about people stealing towels?”

“No problem. If we make each towel smaller, we’ll end up with the same amount of towels in the long run.”

So where do we draw the line between things we can take and things we can’t? Obviously, somewhere before “grand piano.” But where? If we draw it at disposable items, does that mean we can take the light bulbs, assuming we can somehow get them home without smashing them? And if we draw the line at things that have the hotel’s logo, can we take the luggage cart?

So my thought is that we can probably take any disposable items that have the hotel’s phone number. My thinking is like this: Why do they put the phone number on the pens, for example? So people can call them from within the hotel? (“Yeah, can you please send up a second pen? We’re playing tick-tack-toe.”)

OK, so maybe you’ll say that they want people to call from outside the hotel, and that it’s more along the lines of, “If found, please call…” Like someone’s going to call and say, “I’m at a rest stop in Wyoming, and I found one of your pens. Some thief must have left it here.”

“Can you stay where you are? We’re going to send someone out there to pick it up.”

“Not so fast! Is there a reward?”

“That depends. Did you find a tiny soap there too?”

So obviously, they want you to have their number so you can call to make reservations in the future. Because they’re hoping that, if you do come back, maybe you’ll bring their dog.


[1] Seriously. It had one job.

[2] It’s not like his father’s going to burst into the room. (“Who touched the thermostat?”)

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