Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Expectant mother produces growing cascade of guffaws by reseating herself under a series of ads on a bus.
Origins: The earliest print sighting of this legend dates to privately published collection of jokes published in 1947 wherein the pregnant woman boards a street car, then changes seat numerous times, each time placing herself under a different guffaw-producing advertisement as another rider regards her with increasing merriment. His full story emerges only when in front of the judge to defend himself on charges of having insulted the expectant mother by laughing at her.
The joke plays upon potential double meanings found in advertising. (Similar hilarity ensued during my school years in the 1970s over a gum manufacturer's jingle, "Pass it on, pass it on, the big stick is getting around.")
Depending on the version, the incident is said to have taken place on a bus or a streetcar, in the UK or Australia. The signs the woman supposedly sits under vary too:
Barbara "moot hoot" Mikkelson
Last updated: 3 April 2009
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