3V1191.2

3V119102 Cutting up a Tree: an old joke (4/27/81)

Robby and I were hauling hickory back from the site where I recently felled a tree. When Peggy came to watch us, I introduced her to a joke, a simple absurdity of the language. She knows one cuts down a tree (she has seen this twice this year). she knows one cuts up fruit and knows how up and down signify direction and can compound with other words. She has also seen the pieces on the ground where I felled the tree (Indeed, she watched with Gretchen while I sawed it up). So it was not too surprising to see her consternation when I pulled these things together and said to her, “Peggy, you see how hard Robby and I work ? Sometimes it seems silly, though. I work so hard to cut the tree down, then I cut it up again.” when her consternation hinted the absurd image had struck her, I explained it was a joke.

A few days later, she mentioned trees, saying, “You cut them down, and then you cut them up,” accompanying the last with both a smile and a gesture of the hand going from horizontal to vertical.

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