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Did you hear the one about...

Bad bus conductor

SMILE!

No serious joke (and there's yet another oxymoron) site about the English language could be complete without a collection of puns. Here's one of them.

Malik, a short and rather gentle Asian man boards a bus on the sleepy, but conservative, Isle of Wight. He is unaware that George, the bus conductor, is one of the last remaining old-time far-right National Front supporters.

George is a giant of a man compared to Malik, built like a fridge and as tall as a six-foot-three tree. We must also mention that George isn't feeling very jaunty since England has just lost the First Test Match to Pakistan (again). In addition, George is agonizing that his wife has recently begun a Bengali cooking appreciation course, and worst of all, he's mourning the fact that his 17-year-old daughter has just started going out with Ahmed Khan.

"A ticket to Ryde!" says Malik cheerfully, which of course is completely mis-interpreted by the grieving father.

Without saying a word, enraged George raises his ticket machine high in the air, and delivers a fatal blow to the head of poor Malik.

Now such a crime on the Isle of Wight is rare indeed and the judge has no hesitation of sentencing George to capital punishment. (I know, capital punishment was abolished in the UK in 1969. But this story is old...) Anyway, as tradition dictates, on the morning of his execution George is asked if he has any final request.

"Yes," he says calmly, "I would like to eat a banana."

No apparent difficulty with that, and a nice looking banana is delivered for George to devour as they strap him to the electric chair. With the blindfold in place, the prison chaplain reads a suitable Bible passage, and then everyone leaves the room.

The switch is pulled, the lights flicker, and the witnesses bow their heads in silent prayer. Then the prison doctor goes back into the room and finds, to his astonishment, that George is just sitting there, smiling!

He is quickly whisked back to his cell whilst the electricians test the circuitry. They find nothing amiss but the Governor insists that they spend the rest of the day checking and testing.

The next morning they awaken George and explain they are ready to try again. "Any last request?" "Yes please," he replies, "a banana." And so once again, he is given a banana as he is being prepared.

Once again, the switch is pulled, the lights flicker, the witnesses bow their heads in silent prayer, and once again, the system fails!

Back to his cell, circuits tested, and the executioners try again on the third day. But this time, when he requests a banana, the Governor becomes suspicious. "What's the secret about the bananas?" the Governor asks George.

"Oh nothing at all," answers George. "It's just that I'm a bad conductor."

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