I went to the orthodontist today to get a metal plug put in for a crown to follow in a few more months. Two nurses came in to prepare me, and the older one, quite nice, carefully injected me with pain killers, and afterwards mentioned that she was going to Italy tomorrow. I told her I was happy for her, adding that my niece just got back from Italy, and that I'd only been to Rome but wasn't able to visit the rest of the country. After the doctor came and worked on me, I thought of what I said, that I'd "only been" to Rome, and that reminded me of a joke. I asked the nurse who stayed behind to give me instructions if I could tell a joke to the other kindly nurse who helped me at the beginning, but I was told she went home. So I said to the current nurse, maybe you could tell her the joke for me. She agreed, and I told her the joke about the $50, the $20 and the $1 bills. The $50 said it had been to amazing countries and was favored by kings and queens. The $20 scoffed and said it was beloved by the common man, and had been in more hands than the $50 could dream of. But the $1 started to sniffle and the other two looked on condescendingly: "what's wrong with you?" The $1 complained, "I've only been to church!"
I looked brightly at the nurse expecting a laugh or at least a smile. I got a blank look instead. "Get it?" I asked. The $1 bill was only in church. I smiled warmly. The nurse continued to stare blankly. "See, people aren't generous in church," I explained. I think a four watt bulb turned on behind her eyes but there was no humor in the illumination. I hastily explained, "Um, I mentioned the joke because I said I 'only went' to Rome." She nodded, knowingly, I think, and didn't say a word more.
My life as a part-time dental office comedian died a thousand deaths today.