Place item was collected
Jason V. Swan
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Jason Swan is my father and is the youngest son of Susan (Sam) Swan. Jason was born in Tacoma, Washington but was raised in Eugene and Bend Oregon. When he was 8 years old his mother, Sam, got re-married to a man named David Swan. Jason was an excellent student and loved to ski. He Graduated high school in 1988 and then came here to Utah State to study history. He switched his major several times, and finally graduated in 1998 with a bachelor degree in Instructional Design. He continued his education and gained a masters in Instructional design in 2001. He married Jamie Swan in 1993 and together they have 5 children; 4 daughters and 1 son. I am the second eldest. He now works for a company called L-3 Communications, which has brought him and his family to live in North Carolina for several years and now to Arlington, Texas where they have been for nearly 7 years. Jason is a proud father and is a wonderful provider and patriarch of the home. Family is his everything, and traditions among family are something he holds very dear.
I interviewed Jason last week over FaceTime. As he lives in Texas so it is hard for me to visit all the time. He was wonderful enough to agree to FaceTime me to help me collect this piece of folklore. I was in my office at work when we started the call, and he was at his home in Arlington in the living room. My dad has always been the king of dad jokes. He’s mastered the art of “pull my finger” jokes, elaborate story jokes, down to corny one liners. A couple jokes have stuck in my mind for as long as I can remember and this goat joke he starts out with is one of them. I’ve told it to many of my friends throughout the years and it always seems to strike a laugh.
M: Okay, now we're going to talk about your goat joke. *laughs*
J: *chuckles* okay... well it’s not my joke you know?
M: I know, but I want to hear a story behind it. *clears throat* So first can you tell it to me?
J: The goat joke huh? Uhhh, okay… *long pause* Well, two good old boys uh were out hunting one day, and as they were walking through the woods they came up to a- a big ol’ hole in the
ground. And they both stood at the edge and they looked down and being good old boys, they both spit to see how far it’d go. To them it looked like a bottomless hole they couldn't tell how far down it went, it was dark and deep.. and one guy- one of the good ol’ boys says to the other “I wonder how deep that hole is” the other one says, “well, you know, as we was walking through woods, I saw an engine block back there yonder. We could throw it down and see how long it takes to hit bottom.” They both thought that was a pretty good idea, so they wandered into the bushes a little bit and picked up that engine block. They carried the engine block over to the edge of the hole, and with a mighty heave they tossed it down into the hole. *long pause* Surprisingly, they saw that there was a chain attached to that engine block and as it fell it kind of clanked... and then even more surprising they saw this goat come charging out of the forests and run right after that engine block and dove head first, right down into that hole. One good ol’ boy looked at the other and said “Isn't that the strangest thing I've ever seen?” but before the other could reply, another man came out of the forest and says, “hey, do you boys ever see a goat around here?” The two good old boys, they said, “well, we just saw a goat come charging out of the forest, and jump head first in that hole right there” and the guy in the fores- coming from the forest said, “well that's strange. He shouldn’t have been able to go anywhere he was tied to an engine block. *long pause*
M: *laughs* ba dum tss.. *laughs*
J: *laughs* ahhh okay… that’s a funny joke...
M: Awesome. So how did you come by this joke? *long pause*
J: uh, I think it was in an email or something I can't remember.
M: So you don't know who told it first?
J: No… Oh! *snaps* I got a good joke though… That grandma told me once- Your grandma
J: It is the only dirty joke she ever told me. You wanna hear it?
J: It’s the molasses joke, you remember that one?
M: Umm.. Maybe… keep going.
J: All right. *clears throat* So there's this family of moles that lived next to a farmhouse. There was papa mole, mama mole, and baby mole. One Sunday morning they're down in their mole hole getting ready to have breakfast. Papa mole sticks his nose up in the air and he says, “what is that smell?” *pause* So he goes running to the top of the hole and he pokes his head out of the mole hole and looks toward the farmhouse. He sniffs the air, and he says “By golly, that smells like- *sniffs* that smells- like smells like- waffles and syrup!” And mama mole comes up and she kind of wiggles up next to him and stuffs herself out the hole. And she puts her nose up to the air and looks at the farmhouses. “Wow, you're right! That smells good, but I don't think it’s waffles and syrup. I'm- I’m smelling pancakes and butter and syrup.” And baby mole, of course, is busting with curiosity. He's trying to get up there to smell but mama mole and papa mole are plugging the hole. So he's pushing and he's pushing up trying to squeeze past them. And he says, “well, I don't know about the two of you, but all I can smell from down here is molasses [mole asses]” *chuckles*
J: *laughs* yeah. *clears throat*
M: That's a good one. *chuckles*
J: I was- I was a teenager and that was the only dirty joke grandma ever told me.
M: *laughs* That's so funny.
At the beginning of the interview call we laughed and joked with each other for several minutes before actually getting into the questions. He was sitting in his favorite armchair and wearing his “old man” glasses he despises so much. It has gotten to the point where he needs them to even see my face as we video chatted with each other. From the angle of the camera I got a perfect view of his “silver chin”. He wears is facial hair as a goatee and his wisdom (not age of course) has turned his normally raven black hair to silver with spots of white in the center of his chin. We often tease him about it, but truthfully it is something that endears him even more to us. Throughout the interview he clears his throat a lot, he may have caught a bit of the December bug. But even that didn’t stop us from having a good laugh over some corny jokes. With the first goat joke, I could tell he wasn’t as familiar with it and he told it a bit differently than I remember or how I tell it now. But he still remembered it and laughed along with me. I hadn’t remembered the “molasses” joke and so that one was a surprise laugh. And I can just picture my sweet grandma telling my dad this joke when he was a teenager and laughing about it with him. She’s always had a wild side.
ENGL 2210- Intro. to Folklore
Dr. Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
Swan, Susan, "Dad Jokes" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 471.