Q. I think I have the blues, but my doctor says it’s just irritable bowel syndrome.
A. Is your doctor a bluesman?
Q. He’s a gastroenterologist.
A. You mean an ologist who enters your gastro works?
Q. Not in the Biblical sense. Sort of by remote control.
A. Hmm. What color is he?
Q. Kind of white. Maybe an off white. Like pancake batter.
A. When he sings does he try to sound like an 80-year-old black man with missing teeth and an $8 guitar?
Q. Now that you mention it, no.
A. So what makes you think you have the blues?
Q. I just feel all over bad.
A. You look all over bad. Has your woman done you wrong?
Q. I don’t have a woman. And by the way, can anyone ever really have a woman?
A. Now you’re talking the blues.
Q. So, if you have the blues, and you have a guitar and you start singing, is that singing the blues?
A. That’s like asking “If I had a million dollars and I gave a bum a nickel, could I still call myself a millionaire?”
Q. I did not know that.
A. Try it the next time you get a million bucks. It stings like crazy.
Q. What if I don’t have a guitar, but I do have a banjo?
A. You can’t sing the blues on a banjo. They end up sounding, well, happy. If you got the blues, you aint happy ‘bout it. Ironically, though, you do feel like singing.
Q. But you can have a banjo and also have the blues, right?
A. I suppose. I mean, if you’re talking the “I got a banjo and don’t that suck” blues. But it has to suck really bad.
Q. How about this. I don’t have a million dollars and I don’t have a woman and I traded in my banjo for an $8 dollar guitar, and I start to sing. Would that be singing the blues?
A. It would help if you were blind. And drunk. Not blind drunk. Two separate things, you follow? And you need a good blues name. I think Blind Boy Biwabik is available.
Q. What if I’m feeling just a teeny bit blue? Instead of singing the blues, could I just sing the blue?
A. Have you ever seen a kid with one measle? One mump? Ever heard anyone call a smart ass a smart cheek? Have you ever tried counting your toe? Have you ever blown just one nostril? Ever tried to buy a pair of pant? Have you ever killed just one stink bug?
Q. So I guess that’s why they call it the blues.
A. Right. The other primary colors already had gigs.
Q. What is the difference between having the blues and just whining?
A. Somebody once asked me why I did my baby wrong. I said well, she done me wrong first. Then I done her wrong second and then she done me wrong third. I was just about to do her wrong fourth when she went and done me wrong fourth first and it messed me up. I ended up doing myself wrong fifth which she used as an excuse to do me wrong again.
Q. Is that whining, or is it the Blues?
Q. What if turns out all I have is irritable bowel syndrome? Can I sing it?
A. There’s a pretty strict rule: You can sing the blues, but you can’t sing the bowels.
A. It would really irritate people.
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