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Laughing at Accordion Jokes

Cheri Thurston


Those of us who play the accordion just have to have a strong sense of humor, in order to put up with all the accordion jokes. Blondes have to put up with blonde jokes. Lawyers have to put up with lawyer jokes. Accordionists, I guess, have to put up with accordion jokes.

Syndicated columnist Dave Barry also had an accordion jibe a few years ago. (That’s too bad since I made him an honorary CAPA member years ago. I figured a guy with his sense of humor had to have an accordion in his past. I sent him a membership and got a postcard back with this brief handwritten note: Thanks. I think. Dave Barry.)


In a Sunday, February 2, 2003, column, Barry wrote about an effort to recover a piano that Babe Ruth allegedly caused, in 1918, to sink to the bottom of Willis Pond in Massachusetts. One version of the story about Babe Ruth has it that he threw the piano into the pond to display his strength. Barry wrote: “This version is unlikely: Even a very strong, very lubricated man would be unable to throw a piano into a pond. An accordion, yes. In fact, more people SHOULD throw accordions into ponds.”


But he wasn’t finished. At the end of the article, he wished divers searching for the piano, “Good luck. And Godspeed. And, above all, if you find any accordions, just leave them, OK?”


I don’t know about you, but nearly everyone I know gleefully presents me copies of just about any accordion joke or cartoon they find. If I had a dollar for every copy of Gary Larson’s classic cartoon that disparages the accordion, I’d be rich. (For any accordionist who has somehow missed seeing this one, it shows God welcoming people at the pearly gates. He says, “Welcome to heaven . . . Here’s your harp. The bottom part shows the devil welcoming people. It says, “Welcome to hell . . . Here’s your accordion.” For copyright reasons, I can't reproduce it here without permission.)


Accordionists have to be strong for two reasons: (1) to lug that heavy accordion around, and (2) to withstand all the good-natured ribbing they take about their choice of instrument.


We are, indeed, strong, strong people!

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