I really have to thank “The Office” for bringing the “That’s what she said” joke back into the American repertoire of humor. Years ago, back in my more innocent days, I would have never imagined such an adolescent phrase consisting of four simple words — familiar to anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the English language — could peel back the myriad layers of the universe and reveal a wholly different plane of existence. This is a seriously powerful phrase.
For those unfamiliar, “That’s what she said” jokes are the result of seemingly innocent comments taken completely out of context and refitted as filth. For example, one of my co-workers was working on her computer the other day and was struggling to open a certain program. When I asked what was wrong, she said she was “trying to get it up.” Immediately, something in my brain clicked and I responded by saying, “That’s what she said,” thus implying that, in a totally different situation, a comment about “getting something up” might be construed as a tad bit sexual. Just maybe.
Anyway, that’s the general gist of it. I make somewhere in the range of one-hundred-billion “That’s what she said” jokes each and everyday. It’s as natural as blinking at this point; somebody says something about “it being hard” or “it’s not working properly” and the words just roll off my tongue like water from a greased duck’s rear end. I’m sure my co-workers live in total fear.
Fellow co-worker Gaynell says my mind is filthy, but I really don’t think that’s it. Instead, I say it’s the world that’s filthy, it’s just that most people don’t realize it. Filth is all around us, but only those familiar with those four supremely powerful words are able to recognize it. It’s like tapping into the Force or something: Once you know how, the entire world changes. It’s like turning on a naughty light and revealing just how crude the world really is.
Take, for example, my recent trip to the orthodontist. Joy, the ortho assistant, was installing one of those paste filled teeth trays in my mouth in order to take impressions when I decided to mumble out a question or two about the process. Little did I know, this would lead to the most impressive string of “That’s what she said” ready material to have ever fallen on my ears. Listen, and be prepared:
ME: Mmmmph mmmph frmmmmph mmmph [How do you know when it’s ready?]
JOY: Well, it has to be kind of firm. I press on it with my finger and if it doesn’t feel firm I know it’s not ready. It takes a little time, but when it gets good and firm you can pull it out. But, if you pull it out too early, you’ll just have to stick it back in and do it again.
Of course, due to my mouth being plastered shut, I was unable to utter those four important words and open Joy’s mind to the fantastically naughty world that is all around her. By the time she actually removed the tray, the timing was all off and the words would have merely confused or possibly frightened her. So, I let it go. It was as if Qui-Gon Jinn had just walked away from that little boy on Tatooine, despite his midichlorian count.
Who knows, I might have been having dental work performed by the next Darth Vader. I guess I’ll never know, but for certain the filth was strong in her.