Here’s the first part of my favourite joke from recent years:
“Why did the vegan cross the road?”
I was asked this by a very polite, well-brought up woman in her 30s, who I have known since she was 3. Immediately after asking me the question she looked worried and said, “Oh, you’re not a vegan are you?”, as if I would be offended. I’m not, and see no reason for anyone to be offended by the punchline. Here’s the joke in full.
Q: Why did the vegan cross the road?
A: To tell you he was a vegan.
If you are inclined to take offence at this, perhaps it would help to see it as aimed at male vegans, not all vegans, but really, it’s just a joke.
When I shared it with my brother he said that he had heard a similar take on this idea: a couple were planning their wedding and discussing the dietary requirements with the caterers.
“So, we’ll have vegetarian options, and vegan options … But how will know who the vegans are?”
The world-weary caterer replies: “Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.”
According to a character in John le Carré’s “The Night Manager”, it’s the same with Oxbridge graduates: Jonathan Pine is advised that you never need to ask anyone if they went to Oxford or Cambridge. They’ll tell you, without being asked. Le Carré was a graduate of Lincoln College Oxford, so I imagine he was making a joke partly at his own expense. I enjoyed the joke too, and diligent readers of this Blog will know that I was fortunate enough to study at Cambridge. I have mentioned it once or twice.
So, for those of you who don’t want to risk offending vegans, here’s an alternate take:
Q: Why did the Cambridge graduate cross the road?
A: To tell you he went to Cambridge, of course.