This Old Coach Knows Burns


Retired Scottsdale Coronado business teacher and basketball coach Herb Sherman took time this week to correct this reporter on an error in a sports story I had penned about a football game.

I know Herb well as the spokesperson for the Payson Men’s Golf Association and I realized he was a fine golfer, but never knew he was so well versed in American literature.

In the story, I used the quote “The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry” referring to a game plan that didn’t go well.

I attributed the quote to Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.

Always observant, Herb was quick to point out that while Steinbeck used the expression, it actually is from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse.”

I checked Herb’s claim.

First with brainy Payson Roundup reporter Pete Aleshire, a writer who is as sharp as Russell Pearce is arrogant.

It took only a few seconds for pert Pete to side with the ex-Coronado teacher.

Still unconvinced, I searched the Web and sure enough, the expression is from a Burns’ poem.

Which means, Herb was correct.

My bad.

There’s more

While still reeling from being blindsided by Herb’s intellect, a former student of mine showed up in my office to reminisce about the good old days.

During our lengthy conversation, he asked if I still tell my corny old jokes that were never funny, but students laughed because the tales were so hackneyed and dull.

That revelation jolted my psyche. All these years I thought my students were chuckling at my wit.

Could they have been laughing at me, rather than with me?

There’s only one way to solve this dilemma — it’s time to check out their giggle factor one more time — this time with readers.

These are the old classroom jokes — what do you think?

The number 12 walks into a bar and orders a drink.

The bartender looks at him and says, “Sorry, I can’t serve you.”


Because you are under 21.

A farmer asks his sheepdog to count his new sheep. The dog runs into the field, and after a bit, runs back to his master, “40,” replies the dog.

“How can there be 40?” exclaims the farmer. “I only bought 38!”

“I know,” says the dog. “But I rounded them up.”

A group of mathematicians were in a band. They got up on stage and proceeded to stand there in silence for three whole minutes. When a member of the audience asked what they were doing, the band replied, “Why, we’re playing an imaginary number.”

Q: What does a mathematician say when they come to the door on Halloween?

A: Trig or Treat!!

Q: What does a mathematician say when she comes home and doesn’t find her parrot?

A: Polly gone!

A man was complaining that although he had been able to teach his horse mathematics, the horse was unable to learn philosophy, which proves you can’t put Descartes before the horse.

Two protons run into each other and one falls down. One asks the other if he is OK, and he replies, “I’m fine.” The other asks, “Are you sure?

He replies, “Of course, I’m positive!”

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption.

One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, “They’re twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”

Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o’-lantern by its diameter?

A: Pumpkin Pi.

Q: What do you get if you add two apples and three apples?

A: A math problem on the University of Arizona entrance exam.

George Bush visits Algeria. As part of his program, he delivers a speech to the Algerian people: “You know, I regret that I have to give this speech in English. I would very much prefer to talk to you in your own language. But unfortunately, I was never good at Algebra.

Boy: “Dad, can you help me find the lowest common denominator is this problem?”

Father: “Don’t tell me they haven’t found it yet, they were looking for it when I was a boy.”

Q: What did the little acorn say when he grew up?

A: Geometry.

Q: Why did the math book go to the hospital?

A: Because it had so many problems.

Q: Why is six afraid of seven?

A: Because 7 8 9.

Funny, huh?


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.