What, my dear reader, comes to mind when I mention the word 'penguin'? A small flightless arctic seabird, obviously. And if you happen to hail from my homeland you may also attribute the name to a brand of rectangular chocolate biscuit. Of course, I'm not sure if its sold internationally but my contacts in the US and Australia assure me they've never heard of them. Philistines.

Now the biscuits are nothing special but for one factor - each is individually wrapped and it is upon these wrappers that we are treated to some of the worst jokes in the entire history of creation. But I ask - are these jokes trying to tell us something? Is some hidden message buried in the plastic clothing of this chocolaty lunchtime treat? Let us examine them, my friends, and see.

Q. 'What do you call a fish on a frozen lake?'

One would think that jokes on the wrappers of biscuits named after a certain aforementioned gregarious ornithological study would at least be on the subject of said study. Obviously what was going through the writer's head was this - Fish + Ice = Penguin. Penguins eat one and sit on the other. Which is fair enough. But getting back to the joke. The witty answer to this one would be 'Dead' but if the joke was in any way witty it wouldn't be on a chocolate wrapper, would it?

A. 'An ice-skate'

Of course what we are asked to ignore in this hypothetical situation is precisely how this fish got on the surface of a frozen lake in the first place. Perhaps it was left there by some clumsy penguin mother who stumbled on the ice and spilt some of her shopping. Or perhaps it was one of those leaping fish that leapt out of the water just before the surface froze over, but if it did we're talking one bloody high jump. We're talking 'hazard to low-flying aircraft' jump. Do you get skates in the arctic, anyway?

Q. 'What's brown, has a hump, and lives in the arctic?'

... I'd've thought most things had a hump at some point if they were interested at all in continuing their species. But what indigenous life-form of the frozen wastes is the diseased brain of the penguin joke man thinking of? None that I can think of. Not a lot of brown in the arctic. White is currently very big over there, with the occasional patch of yellow where the penguins couldn't hold it in. So let's all release the agony of anticipation.

A. 'A very lost camel.'

Oh, I SEE! THAT sort of hump! I apologise profusely to everyone concerned, I'm a sick sick pervert and my wrists need a good slapping. I thought it was a bit odd that they'd be talking about shagging on the back of something children might read. Now then, camels. A camel would indeed have to be very lost to find his way to the arctic, as well as prepared to swim across vast expanses of sea. He'd also have to be very stupid not to notice that the desert he was so recently walking upon has suddenly become an ocean, unless he was really, REALLY lost in thought about whether Mrs. Camel would put out tonight or not. Oh, sorry. There I go again.

Q. 'What sort of shoes do seals wear on the ice?'

Our third joke and still no mention of penguins. We've gone into animals that may or may not live in close proximity to them, now. Fair enough, I suppose. The penguin is a most limited source of comedy, in that respect not unlike the BBC. But I digress. Seals wear shoes, now? What sort of ungodly, misshapen footwear would find a home on the flippers of the humble seal? Nothing I would care to show to Auntie Mabel, that's for sure! Oh alright. My guess is 'brogues'.

A. 'Slippers.'

Well yes, I suppose they'd be alright for casual sliding about in the comfort of your own home, but for the seal about town my suggestion made a lot more sense. Or perhaps two of those 'ice-skates' mentioned above for that authentic North Pole feel. It's a shoe! It's your breakfast! It's your breakfast AND it's a shoe! Y'know, I think this was supposed to be some kind of pun. Well, hardy har. I feel glad I wore plastic underpants today because I believe I have pissed myself.

Q. 'How did the little penguin get to school?'

Suddenly it all makes sense! Seals wearing shoes! Camels in the arctic! And they've just admitted it - penguins go to school! Shock horror! Of course, it's not mentioned, but I think the implication is MILITARY school! It all fits together! They're preparing to usurp their human oppressors by teaching their young to be unstoppable penguin killing machines! They've got the seals and the camels involved, too! And look - some of them are called Emperor penguins! They're getting ready to take over the world! I can see the films now ...


GENERIC MALE: Look, Generic Female! The penguins have built a military school out of ice and fish!
GENERIC FEMALE: Gasp! The penguins ... they're LEARNING!

A. 'On an icicle.'

GENERIC MALE: Oh wait, they can't be that clever. Look, that one's sitting on an icicle.
GENERIC FEMALE: I suppose you're right, Generic Male. Wanna shag?

Oh, you don't fool me, penguin dogs! I see through your twisted scheme of icicles and seals wearing shoes, and I will not rest until I see the last of your Emperors lying bleeding at my feet! To my fellow humans, I bid you farewell! I'm off to the arctic with a packed lunch and a General Electric minigun to crush the penguin resistance. And when you see the Aurora Borealis turn red with the shower of penguin blood, think of me!

(Yahtzee disappeared on the 27th August, 2001. His last recorded radio message is reported to sound like 'heavy gunfire mingled with what sounds like someone being repeatedly smacked with wet fish'.)

updates - features - essays - reviews - comics - games - novels - about - contact - forum - links


All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002-2004 All Rights Reserved so HANDS OFF, PIKEY