Running Out

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

John Derbyshire shares one of those caustic jokes that used to circulate in Brezhnev’s USSR:

An elderly couple hears that there will be a delivery of meat at a local store. The husband hurries off to the store. After he has waited in line in the freezing cold for several hours, an official car pulls up and some KGB men get out. They tell the people in line that the meat delivery has been canceled, and that everyone should go home.

This is too much for the old boy. “Is this why we fought and suffered in the Great Patriotic War?” he calls out in exasperation. “Is this all we have to show for sixty years of socialism?”

One of the KGB men comes over to him. “Pipe down, Grandad,” he says. “That’s subversive talk. You’re old enough to know what would have happened if you’d spoken like that in Stalin’s time.” The KGB man makes his hand into a gun shape and points it at his head. “Go on home now and stop making trouble.”

The old boy goes home. Seeing him empty-handed, his wife says: “Oh no! Don’t tell me they’ve run out of meat again!”

“It’s worse than that,” says the old boy. “Now they’ve run out of bullets!”

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