THE LUCKIEST ARAB IN BELFAST
My Seattle apartment is currently being sold, so a procession of potential buyers is trundling through the place. The whole exercise was a bit disorienting at first, but I have become used to it—and all have been courteous and pleasant.
Normally, I make a point of not being in the place when such visitors arrive, because then they can discuss it more freely. However, today I was caught in a writing burst, so was at my desk when the viewers arrived.
As they were leaving, we talked for a few minutes and I learned that the male half of the couple was from Northern Ireland. I then asked him his religion—something I would not have done in the North—because in that part of the world, whether you are Catholic or Protestant tends to establish your place in the social pecking order, and much else besides. Here in, Seattle, I felt it was a permissible question, and he seemed to think so also.
His reply was a zinger: “I’m Jewish.”
He then went on to tell me the best joke I have heard this year.
A man’s walking down the street in Belfast at the height of the Troubles when he gets dragged into an alleyway with a gun to his head. A voice goes, ‘Are you Catholic or Protestant?
Thinking quickly he goes, ‘Neither – I’m Jewish.
The voice says ‘Wow, I must be the luckiest Arab in Belfast.’