The Best Joke So Far in Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious

The Schadchen[†] was defending the girl he had proposed against the young man’s protests. “I don’t care for the mother-in-law,” said the latter. “She’s a disagreeable, stupid person.” — “But after all you’re not marrying the mother-in-law. What you want is her daughter.” — “Yes, but she’s not young any longer, and she’s not precisely a beauty.” — “No matter. If she’s neither young nor beautiful she’ll be all the more faithful to you.” — “And she hasn’t much money.” — “Who’s talking about money? Are you marrying money then? After all it’s a wife that you want.” — “But she’s got a hunchback too.” — “Well, what do you want? Isn’t she to have a single fault?”

It’s not without tedium, the book, but not an unwelcome one to read alongside Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking (for teaching) and Barbara Walters’s How to Talk with Practically Anybody about Practically Anything (for before bed, and for learning much about how to be a considerate person).

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Jewish marriage-broker.

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