That’s One, or A Nesting Doll Joke

Don't get too attached.

Don't get too attached.

The following takes place some 500 years ago, and I am home for a visit. I sit down to dinner with my mother, step-father, and sister.

My mother says to my step-father: “I heard a joke today that I didn't think was so terribly funny, but I thought YOU might enjoy it.”

Daddy-o says: “Okay, shoot.”

Mom’s not known for telling traditional jokes, but she seems confident, and we tune in, but continue eating.

     It goes like this: A hunter brings home a new retriever puppy. The first day, he brings it out into the yard to start training it.

She has his complete attention. Daddy-o is an avid game bird hunter, and has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to train his dogs to be excellent hunting retrievers. Success or failure typically comes down to the dog’s natural retrieving instincts and willingness to respond to his whistle, which can be heard for miles.

     He sits the puppy down beside him, holds him, throws a training dummy out a little way, lets go of the dog, and says “fetch!”

Daddy-o rolls his eyes. We gather from this that only house pets are told to “fetch.” She sees the eye roll and plows on.

     Whatever. So the dog runs off a bit and rolls around in the grass. The man says “That’s one.”
     He brings the puppy and the dummy back, sits the dog down, throws out the dummy, and says “fetch!” or “go get it!” or whatever you’re supposed to say. The puppy looks up at him and licks his nose. The man says “That’s two.”
     He brings the dummy back again, lines up the dog, throws out the dummy, and says “fetch!” The puppy makes a beeline for the dummy, goes past it, and starts chasing a butterfly. The man says “That’s three.” He takes out his shotgun and shoots the dog.
     His wife has been watching this whole thing from the porch, and she freaks out “Oh no! Why did you do that?! He was just a puppy! You have to be patient! Are you nuts?!”
     The man says “That’s one.”

Daddy-o leans back and starts laughing, hard. Mom looks chagrined. Sister and I are howling with laughter, mostly at their reactions.

Mom says: “Personally, Iiiii don’t see the humor in it, but of course, I figured youuuu would find it funny.”

Daddy-o smiles a huge smile, like this is his moment. He puts up a single finger, and says:

“That’s one.”