[Collected on the Internet, 1998]
Mr. Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an
Unfortunately, he forgot his wife's exact e-mail address and the
When she was finally revived by her daughter, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: "Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here.
[Collected on the Internet, 2005]
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon
Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived
Date: November 18, 2004
I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send
PS. Sure is freaking hot down here.
- The businessman is invariably from a part of the U.S.A. famed for its cold winters, with Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois (especially Chicago) commonly named.
- He travels to a location in the United States famed for its winter warmth, such as Florida or Louisiana.
- He's either on a business trip (in which case he sends the note merely to let his wife know he has arrived safely) or is on vacation (in which case the missus is expected to meet him there, thus setting up one of the funnier conclusions to the tale).
- The deceased husband of the woman who receives the misdirected note is commonly described as a preacher, minister, Methodist pastor, or rabbi. Often additional information is provided that he died the preceding day.
- In versions where the women are given names, though the surname remains Johnson, the first names will be Jean, Jennifer, or Joan.
- When we're told where she lives, it's either Duluth, New Jersey, Houston.
- A slight tweak of one especially common version kills off the poor widow, when "fell to the floor in a dead faint" is rendered as "fell to the floor dead."
- More playful versions include the note "Just got checked in. Everything prepared for your arrival tomorrow."
In this instance the consequences of a moment's inattention are pointed out in a humorous fashion by showing the effect even an innocuous communication can have when sent to the wrong person. The widow is stunned to receive a note from her deceased husband; even worse, one that clearly indicates he ended up in Hell. Through the example of her discomfiture, we are all cautioned to give our outgoing mail that one last eyeballing before hitting the 'Send' key.
Somewhere along the line, the text of the second example given above began circulating in a version presented as an item torn from the pages of a newspaper
Barbara "mail manned" Mikkelson
Last updated: 20 October 2007
Minkoff, David. Oy! The Ultimate Book of Jewish Jokes. Great Britain: Robson Books, 2005. ISBN 0-312-36176-9 (pp. 338-339).