Insider Humor

Inside jokes are the glue of relationships. They stick in your memory like day-old grits stick to the edge of the pot– and explaining them to outsiders is just as tough as removing them.

Once upon a time, when the mailbox was more substantive than ornamental, we received a typed chain letter that suggested dire consequences– plagues of locusts, widespread internet outages*, breaking of the seventh seal, and worst of all, loss of “your hob.”

Since we didn’t have a hob, we didn’t give a Tinker’s damn about losing it. But we’ve had countless laughs over the decades inquiring about each other’s “hobs.”


He’s lost his wizard, his dwarves and his way! ~The Hobbit, 1977

Speaking of lost and Hob(bits).  And mondegreens and mumpsimis– we thought Bilbo had lost his Wizard, his DRAWERS, and his way.  We couldn’t decide whether it was a chest of drawers or underpants that had gone missing. Either way, we still get the giggles about it. Or I do.

And finally, the impetus for todays blog:


Mural in Allen Hall, LSU

Before hipsters popularized home-grown, organic produce, southerners had gardens. Or tried to.

Sabine Parish dirt is a mixture of red clay and iron ore that’s good for growing pine trees, azaleas, and sturdy people. One summer, Dad had planted some sweet corn, which God, in her infinite wisdom neglected to water.


This is not our dead corn from 1982. We only took shadowy pictures of stray cats, tractors, and random blurry shapes that I can only assume are bigfoot sightings.

Kennieth Walker’s construction crew was closing in the garage, and they nailed a crooked sign to a tree next the corn:


The paint was still wet when they put it up, because the letters dripped and dipped all over the scrap lumber they used.

There was speculation about why the farm had been condemned, and I bought an actual alphabet template, some spray paint, and on the back of some paneling wrote:


and put it under the original sign  (Yes, I know I misspelled experimental, but the sign was looked official enough that a sheriff’s deputy came to investigate the project*.)

And now you know the rest of the story, the inside scoop, and how people used to have fun “back in the day.”

*The project was clearly time travel, since my parents still don’t have cable or the internet.

About Laura Alford, PhD

I'm a recent graduate of LSU (PhD in Accounting). In addition to academic research, I also write fiction on Tuesday nights with the Asilomar Writers.
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