An old political joke told by Democrats such as Lyndon Johnson, Walter Mondale and Ted Kennedy has a person needing a heart transplant being offered three different hearts—the heart of someone young who died in a car accident, the heart of a young athlete who got struck by lightning and the heart of an old Republican banker. The person chooses to have the heart of the old Republican banker because “it’s never been used.”
When Dick Cheney, the Republican former vice president, received a heart transplant in March 2012, a standard joke was that “no one knew he had one.”
The joke has also been told about other people and professionals without compassion (a heart), such as lawyers and used car salesmen. The joke dates in print to at least October 1968, when comedian Buddy Hackett told it about the heart of insult comedian Don Rickles.
10 October 1968, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 8AA, col. 2:
Buddy Hackett told Corbett Monica, “If I ever need a heart transplant, I hope they give me Don Rickles’—because it’s never been used.”
Google News Archive
21 November 1968, Windsor (Ontario) Star, “A smile,” pg. 1, col. 7:
TORONTO (CP)—Eddie Sargent (L—Grey-Bruce) appealed to Premier John Robarts in the legislature Wednesday to have compassion for the problems of urban communities.
When the premier refused to set up a committee on housing and urban problems, Mr. Sargent told the House:
“I hope if I ever need a heart transplant I get John Robarts’ because it has never been used.”
27 February 1969, Jet magazine, pg. 30:
Edwin C. Watson, comedian, on heart transplants: “If I had a heart transplant I would want Gov. George Wallace’s heart, because it has never been used.”
Google News Archive
11 November 1970, Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune, “Friars Lionize Comedian George Kirby” by Earl Wilson, pg. 11B, col. 4:
Phyllis Diller, “roasting” Merrick, said that if she ever had a heart transplant, she’d want his: “It’s never been used.”
21 September 1972, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Line o’ Type,” pg. 24:
If I ever need a heart transplant, I’ll take one from a used car salesman. That way, I’ll get one that s never been used.
Google News Archive
1 November 1976, Ellensburg (WA) Daily Record, “Carter meets Ann Landers and other politic sidelights” by Clay F, Richards (UPI), pg. 10, col. 2:
Mondale tells a joke about a man who went into the hospital for a heart transplant. The doctor told him he was very lucky because he had the choice of three hearts—one of an Olympic athlete killed in an auto accident, one of a young championship swimmer struck by lightning, and one from a 60-year-old Republican.
“I’ll take the one from the Republican,” the patient replied. “I want a heart that’s never been used.”
31 January 1980, Trenton (NJ) Times, pg. A6, col. 3:
“I heard a story about a steelworker who needed a heart transplant,” said Kennedy (Ted Kennedy, Democratic senator from Massachusetts—ed.), adding that the worker’s doctor had given him a choice of the heart of a young ballet dancer, a pro football player and a 50-year-old Republican. When the doctor asked why the steelworker picked the old Republican heart, the steelworker explained: “It’s never been used.”
Master of the Senate:
The years of Lyndon Johnson, volume 3
By Robert A. Caro
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf
And Lyndon Johnson’s stories did more than merely charm his listeners. “I like to make points with jokes,” he would say, and he was very effective doing so, so effective that Evans and Novak were to speak of his “genius for analogy.” To emphasize the importance of the Democrats presenting their image as a compassionate party, he would tell a story that showed that the GOP’s image was quite different, saying that a Texan who needed a heart transplant was given his choice of three hearts: one from a healthy twenty-three-old skiing champion who had just been killed in an avalanche; one from a healthy twenty-year-old football players who had just died of a football injury. “Of course,” the surgeon added, “there’s also this seventy-nine-year-old Republican banker who’s just passed away.” The man though a moment, and said he would take the banker’s heart. When the surgeon asked why, the man said, “I just wanted to make sure I was getting a heart that had never been used.”
The Telegraph (UK)
Top ten banker jokes
Bankers don’t have much to smile about but Lloyds Banking Group has managed to have a giggle - the taxpayer-owned bank is running staff training at the Comedy School. To share the joke, here are the top ten wise-cracks about bankers:
By Anna White, City Diary Editor
3:57PM GMT 08 Dec 2011
Hospitals report that the hearts of bankers are in strong demand by transplant patients, because they’ve never been used.
Mar 25, 2012
Joan Rivers, others joke about Dick Cheney heart transplant
By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
Updated 2012-03-25 10:39 AM
Dick Cheney has been the butt of jokes before. And the latest news—that the former vice president is recovering from a Saturday heart transplant—didn’t stop comedians and others from quickly making wisecracks on Twitter.
Joan Rivers wrote: “Rather surprised Dick Cheney got a heart after lasting all these years without one.”
Albert Brooks wrote: “Dick Cheney gets new heart! Not to be confused with compassion.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (1) Comments • Monday, May 07, 2012 • Permalink
Its look like a joke but it is a tough time who goes undergo such heart surgeries.
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