Missing punchline [Catch-22 related]

I know I’ve heard this joke, but it came up recently sans punchline and I’ll be darned if I can remember how it ends.

Basically, a newlywed couple comes into the doctor’s office and says they can’t get pregnant. He realizes they don’t know what they’re doing, and so gets out two anatomically correct dolls and demonstrates for them. They rush out of his office, excited by the instructions.

The next day the husband appears at his office, and punches him in the nose. “That’s for…” he says.

For what??

That’s not a joke, it’s an anecdote that happens in the novel Catch-22. Doc Daneeka tells it to Yossarian. There is no punchline, since Daneeka never found out why the guy punched him.

To elaborate a little, the newlywed couple comes to Daneeka because they are having trouble conceiving a baby. Doc examines the wife, and finds she is a virgin. When he asks the husband about it, he claims they have sex every night. Doc demonstrates the right way to do it with the rubber models, to the couple’s fascination. The next day the husband returns to punch Doc in the nose with no explanation.

Doc, by the way, is the person who tells Yossarian about Catch-22.

To elaborate further still, the whole scene is a kind of “anti-joke”, typical of the humour in (the brilliant - I highly recommend it) Catch-22. I haven’t got a copy of the book to hand, but I believe Doc Daneeka describes the man saying “What are you, some kind of wise guy?” before then punching him on the nose. Yossarian then says “Why did he do that?”, to which Daneeka replies “How the hell should I know?” or some such.

The whole story is, I assume, an adaptation of the urban legend (?) of the very naive couple who seek a doctor’s advice about conception, and the doctor discovers that they have been attempting to have intercourse via the navel. Indeed, this may not in fact be an urban legend at all (I haven’t researched the matter), as it is quite plausible.

This page quotes the passage. The final part is:

It is left to the reader’s imagination to speculate on 1) what the couple was doing instead of intercourse; and 2) what exactly happened to get the husband so mad.

Since this is concerns a novel, I am moving it to Cafe Society (and have edited the title).

General Questions Moderator

Here’s another one.

A naked blond walks into a bar, with a poodle under one arm, and a two foot salami under the other. She lays the poodle on the table. Bartender says, “I suppose you won’t be needing a drink.” The naked lady says…

This is from the Breakfast Club. Just before the punchline, Bender falls through the ceiling and we never get to find out the punchline.

my favourite such joke is abt the couple that go to sex therapist to make sure they are doing it right…

the punchline is that they were having an affair, and that between insurance and rebates and whatever, it was cheaper to do it in the doctors office than to get a room.

I always thought that the joke was that, after the doctor’s instruction, the couple went home to attempt intercourse correctly and it went so poorly that the husband decided the doctor must have been lying, so he came back to punch the doctor in the nose.

Or that the guy thought the Doctor was calling him stupid by having to demonstrate something he knew perfectly well how to do (but couldn’t admit in front of his wife).

… and the wife says “yeah, Harry, I know, but this one’s eating my popcorn!”

An example of the opposite: a punchline missing the joke. That’s in The Sting, right? The comic that goes onstage after Hooker picks up his stripper girlfriend?

This was a tough one for me as well. There are a lot of options. One that hasn’t been mentioned yet was that beforehand, Doc Daneka notices the wife wears a St Christopher medal between her glorious breasts, and he comments on St. Christopher’s temptation, and neither wife nor husband get the joke. When he comes back and punches Doc, maybe he just got the joke?

I really didn’t get this novel back when I was a high school kid in the '80’s. So the randy young husband says he “Puts in her nightly”, but she’s still physically a virgin after Doc’s exam? So what’s he doing? I didn’t get it. No one could possibly be so inept, even in the most backwards, repressed, time and place to not have the very basics. Right? The point is, I was wrong.

So I’m left wondering. In the butt? Really. Again and again? And he never slipped and hit the correct spot? No one ever mentioned it to them, ever? So Doc shows them carefully with the rubber models, presumably they go home and try it, then what? Husband preferred the butt? Wife preferred the butt? First vaginal sex too painful? Suddenly embaressed at their stupidity? Suddenly upset at how closely the wife had to be examined by the Doctor?

It didn’t make sense to a 1980, 13 year old mind. Yes, since college I’d heard about a variety of lovemaking play, and about the warm caring intimate relationships between two men. But back then, I was just confused. In the butt? Really?

There’s something else. I’d head that, it was common, in the 50’s and the 60’s literature to tap-dance around the subject of anal sex. It was always alluded to, in just the sort of way as it is here. All the hip people of the era got it, and it passed completely over my head. For example, in Nabokov’s Lolita, Humbert says that he a Lolita do … something … not associated with procreation, Lolita doesn’t do that, but she knows … what to do to make people feel good. I always thought she was grinding him. But, nope, I’m an idiot. Lolita, like all girls in the 50’s, knew how to have penetrative sex and not have a baby. Shesh. I’m a dummy.

I’m guessing the point is, the US in there, in Europe, trying to correct injustice, and maybe a “bad culture”, when our own is so repressed, we can’t even reproduce.

But there is so much WTF in the novel, Milo’s whore beating him with her high heeled shoe. Why? We never know. The bandaged soldier, getting his urine bottle reattached as his plasma bottle. How is that remotely proper medical procedure? The maid with lime green panties and the photographer who forgets the lens cap on. Mentioned. Then forgotten.

I just didn’t like Catch-22. I was assigned to read over the summer. I tried to, but it was just so disjointed, pilotless and weird. What was the point – war is hell, the military is illogical? Shesh, I saw MASH* on TV, I got that much on my own.

Right idea, wrong movie. (Or maybe not. I got it from somewhere else, but I haven’t seen the beginning of The Sting in ages, so maybe it’s there, too.)

1.) Yeah, the punchline of that joke is in The Sting, told by comedian Leonard Barr. I’ve seen it often enough.
2.) If there has to be a punchline to the joke, it seems clear to me that the doctor showed them something that reduced the husband getting as much pleasure. One possibility was that the wife had been performing oral sex on him, but now won’t do it anymore since they learned the “right” way. Or it could be anal sex (which seems more plausible, if just barely), or some other activity. It’s the simplest explanation, and requires the least elaboration.

It was Orr’s whore who was beating him, and it is revealed that the reason was because Orr paid her to, but she couldn’t hit him hard enough, so he had to paddle on a little raft to Sweden. The photographer who keeps leaving the lens cap on is Hungry Joe and he is hardly forgotten.

As far as the popcorn-eating rooster goes:

"A guy has a pet rooster who he takes with him everywhere. One day, he tries to go to the movies, but the cashier won’t let his rooster in. So he goes around the corner and stuffs the rooster down his pants, then returns and buys a ticket. He sits down next to two old ladies. After a while, he unzips his fly so the rooster can see the movie. One of the ladies says to her friend, “Eunice, the man next to me has his thing out!”. Eunice says, “Gladys, you’ve seen those things before.” Gladys says, “Yes, but this one is eating my popcorn.”

Doc’s examination reveals that the woman is a virgin, right? So whatever they’ve been doing, it hasn’t been penis-in-vagina, and presumably the two of them are totally ignorant about what ‘normally’ happens during sex. So Doc shows them with the rubber models. At some point, the husband deflowers his wife, and she probably bleeds and/or has pain from her hymen being torn. So, wife freaks out, husband freaks out, there’s blood all over the place, this can’t be right, obviously the doc was fucking with them… what’s not to understand?

The “this one’s eating my popcorn” punchline is also used in Men in Black.

And, sweeteviljesus, doesn’t it make more sense with “cock” instead of “thing”?