Detasselling Humor

When I was younger, one way for students to make some money was in de-tasselling corn.  In order to create the proper hybrids of corn, the tassels had to be removed from individual corn plants, so that they would only be pollinated by the occasional row of another complementary breed of corn.  It was hot, itchy work, and a good way to tell if one was cut out for outdoor work (or if I should train up for a desk job).  However, high school or college students who had time and needed money were good candidates to pack into buses and get this dirty work done.

Talking with another friend (under less-strenuous circumstances), he mentioned “detasselling jokes”, which – according to him – was humor that is only funny if you’ve been working out in the hot sun for a few hours.  For example:

Two hippos were taking a bath.  One said to the other, “Please pass the soap”.  The other one said, “What do you think I am, a radio?”

See what I mean?1

The fact is, just because a person says something is funny, doesn’t mean that it is actually going to be entertaining.  For that matter, despite our claims, saying something doesn’t necessarily make it correct, wise, or useful, either.

If we watch enough YouTube, this should become readily apparent: Claims do not always equate to facts.  However, there is an important corollary to this: just because others disagree with what you have found to be true, that doesn’t automatically give their arguments validity, either.  (Of course, others can disagree and be correct, so it is important to first identify where the truth is.)

Take a look at this passage from the book of 1 Peter:

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
1 Peter 4:14‭-‬16 NASB

Consider the following points from this passage, as well as other observations:

  1. Verbal attacks can come upon even those who do good in Jesus’ name.  There is evil in this world, and it strives to win the battle for human souls.  Some have been led into the temptation of evil, and – failing to adequately resist – now seek to harm those who seek the path of righteousness.  See Luke 6:22.
  2. Opposition can actually help to confirm that one is going in the right direction.  Without movement, there is no friction.  Gravity only challenges those who seek to stand up and climb higher.  (You get the idea – that’s enough pithy sayings for one article.)  The opposition described here suggests that it comes on those who are following God and are thus being opposed by His enemies.
  3. It’s not very honorable to suffer opposition when doing evil.  That’s a natural consequence, and is to be expected.  Doing evil doesn’t help anyone in the long run.
  4. We can glorify God when under opposition.  If the resistance we feel because we follow Jesus is from those who oppose the truth (and God Himself), we can actually be glad because we are worthy of being persecuted as He was.

Verses like 1 Peter 2:12 and 1 Peter 3:15-16 suggest that the right response in these circumstances can actually lead to good.

So, if it feels like you are taking some heat for choosing Jesus as your Lord and Example, put this passage (and maybe even the entire book of 1 Peter) on your frequent-reading list, and remember that followers of Jesus should expect resistance (like He experienced).  Use those challenges as an opportunity to spread both grace and truth, and try to not let others’ comments get to you.  After all, they can say anything they want, but if it’s not true, it’s no more useful than a detasselling joke.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11‭-‬12 NASB


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.




  1. Some online research (long after I heard this tale originally, since I don’t think that the Internet was available to the public back then) suggests that this is a form of “No soap radio”, a type of “non-humor” named after a modified – and probably older – retelling of this joke.  See or

2 thoughts on “Detasselling Humor”

  1. Similarly, in John 15:18-21 Jesus says that if they hated him, they will hate his disciples, but his disciples are now of his kingdom, not the world’s.

    The founder of a mission in Springfield, IL, says that when one of the residents gives him an abusive tirade regarding the mission’s Christ-centered rules, he tells them thanks for the blessing they have afforded him. Thus he demonstrates to them the principle of being blessed when abused for Jesus’ sake, and the love for the abuser that Jesus also had.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is indeed a tough concept: accepting that doing the right thing will draw the ire of those who have set themselves against God’s righteousness. However, the truth is always the truth, no matter what some might call it or say about it.


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