For the last two years, I’ve told the following Ash Wednesday joke at local open mic venues, like the Smiling Moose and St. James Place Tavern.
No one has ever laughed, but I like the joke anyway. So I’m posting it here at TomMusial.com, where no one will ever see it.
Here it goes.
Today is Ash Wednesday. In Catholic Churches all across the world, today’s Gospel reading is this:
Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
I think that’s a great reading. To summarize, it says: “Be faithful and prayerful, but don’t make a big public spectacle out of it.”
And, oh by the way, before you leave church today, let me jam a giant black smudge into your forehead that you’re not allowed to wash off until Thursday, so that all day long people will ask if you walked into a door.
Really? Hasn’t anyone in the past 2000 years noticed this contradiction? It says to Wash your face right there in the gospel!
I was talking with my wife about how cool it is when you want somebody to invent something and then they do! My life gets better, and all I had to do was nothing.
During our conversation, my wife asked if anything else had been invented during my lifetime that makes my life better. And as I thought about it, I realized that almost everything I ever wanted to be invented has been invented.
When I was youth playing Star Wars on the Atari 2600, I wished there was a way to play life-like battle games with (and against) other people, each from our own houses. Done.
During my Dungeons and Dragons days, I hoped that someday, someone would make a decent Lord of the Rings movie. Done.
After buying my first stereo component with 24-CD storage, I wished there was a way to store all of my music in one place, create custom playlists, and maybe even take it in my car. Done.
Whenever I saw somebody on TV that looked familiar, I wished there was a place where I could see a full list of every actor in the world, cross-referenced with every role they’ve ever played. Done
Anytime my wife started talking to me during a Steelers game, I wished there was a way to pause and rewind live TV. Done.
When TV was only showing repeats, I wished there was a way to rent a movie without having to go to the video store. Done and done.
And now the ketchup packet thing pretty much completes the list.
All in all, everything that I had ever hoped for in life has already happened. Even the Steelers have won two Super Bowls in the last few years.
Yep. Everything is going better than could ever be imagined.
Except, of course, for those things I have to do myself.
Like get in shape.
Or make more money than I spend
Or become successful at anything at all.
<Long, introspective pause.>
Hey, my Netflix of Return of the King Special Edition just arrived! See you later! Enjoy the video!
PS. I know. I’m not the first comedian to point out how awesome everything is.
Growing up, I was constantly asked, “Are you related to Hall-of-Fame Baseball Player Stan Musial?”
I’ve talked to other people with the Musial surname, and apparently, this happened ALL THE TIME.
(The answer, by the way, is: “No, I am not related.”)
Today, my son was asked, “Are you related to local comedian Tom Musial?”
At last, my plan for domination of the Musial name is starting to pay off! As my comedy empire expands, all of the world’s Musials will be subject to the question: are they fortunate enough to be related to ME!
Enough of Stan Musial and his three MVP awards and his three world series rings and his 3,630 hits and 475 home runs and 24 all-star games and designation as “baseball’s perfect knight.”
Stand aside, for here comes Tom Musial and his repertoire of juice box jokes!
For all the hundreds and thousands and millions of jokes I’ve told, there is one that every audience seems to remember: my juice box bit.
I’d like to think that this bit captures the imagination due to its clever and absurdist take on 21st-century suburban child-raising traditions. But more likely, people like to laugh at an overweight middle-aged man jumping around on stage like an idiot.