There is much discussion on whether or not mediation is a profession yet one of the defining marks of a profession is when you can tell jokes about its practitioners. The truth of this observation is the public must know enough about the profession, even if only a caricature or stereotype image, to find the joke humorous. While there are a few mediation jokes around and several cartoons I don’t think we yet have reached that point. Nevertheless, I also think jokes are important to a professions self-identity and we certainly can have a go of poking fun at ourselves. So below are a few jokes I have written that hopefully might tickle our collective funny bone.
1. This rich man and his very attractive wife are trying to settle a nasty divorce. The mediations have been going on for weeks and finally the man cracks saying “Anything. I’ll give you anything you want. Do you want the houses? The cars? You can have all the money! Just name it and you can have it!” The woman looks at her husband and then at the mediator and says softly “I want him to listen to me like you do.”
2. A mediator, Hitler and Mother Theresa are all in a hot air balloon and unless they lighten the load they are going to crash and die. The mediator tells them he is specifically trained to resolve these sorts of dilemmas. He tells them how the process works and then Mother Theresa jumps out of the balloon. Hitler turns to the mediator and asks why she jumped? “Oh dear” replied the mediator “I asked her to step outside while we caucused.”
3. A mediator is very please the way a complicated commercial mediation is going as over the last few weeks the parties seem to be getting along better and better. But she is concerned that they never seem to get to a final agreement and keep adding new problems. Finally after several more sessions she confronts one of the parties. “I have noticed that every time we get close to a final agreement it falls apart – is this a problem for you?” “Oh no.” he replies “None of us want an agreement. No-one wants to stop. You see we are able to get things done in mediation we couldn’t do otherwise.”
4. Two neighbors go to mediation. The mediator explains the process and asks if they have any questions. “Yes.” Says a black man “You’re white and you will side with her.” The mediator explains that he is trained to be neutral but if either party is uncomfortable with the mediator they should use someone else. “He won’t side with me you dimwit.” Says the other neighbor “He’s a man just like you. You men always club together.” “Ok” Says the mediator “It seems neither of you want to proceed with me as the mediator” “Oh no” they both reply “We can go on just as long as you are equally biased!”
5. A very contentious and emotional mediation is coming to a successful resolution and the mediator thinks the time is ripe for an apology. She gently raises this possibility to both the parties. The parties look at each other; nod to each other and looking crestfallen say. “We’re very sorry you had to mediate for us.”
6. An attorney-mediator is caucusing with one of the parties’ council who says. “Look. You know we have a great case. Just tell the other side that they have no chance to win and get them to lower their demands.” “I know, you know, I can’t do that” replies the mediator sadly, “So why are you trying it on?” “Because I’m not a mediator!”
7. Did you hear about the mediator that was so even-handed his other job was a circus tight-rope walker?
8. What is mediators’ favorite food? Anything as long as it is processed correctly!
9. This big record producer rang a mediator and said “Can you help me I need someone to come straight away because U2 are in the middle of recording their next album and they cannot agree on anything! The only thing they can agree on is that they would use a mediator; but no-one is willing to pay. Could you do it pro-bono?”. “I’m sorry” replied the mediator “I couldn’t possible take a case so one-sided!”
10. After a long session two parties in mediation are inching closer to a financial settlement having started miles apart. They are now arguing about the last $50 dollars that separates them. In a final attempt to get an agreement the mediator pulls out his wallet and says “I think you’re doing really well but I can’t believe you would let all your hard work go to waste over fifty dollars. If it’ll make a difference I’ll put in the last fifty dollars.” “What!” says one of the parties, “If you’re going to be a part of this agreement you’re going to need to put in way more than fifty bucks!”
11. A mediator is conducting an open mediation between two religious communities. After letting many people from both sides speak he feels it is time to summarize the issues. After eloquently stating the catholic community’s concerns Father Michael smiles broadly and turns to Rabbi Horrowietz saying “I think he has Jesus in his heart.” The mediator then proceeds to brilliantly encapsulate the issues of the Jewish community to much nodding and mummers of approval. Turning to Father Michael a worried looking Rabbi says “Father; truly I wish he did have Jesus in his heart but I fear he’s really an atheist!”
12. Two farmers went to court and the judge order them to mediation saying that despite having no choice in the matter they were to negotiate in good faith. The mediator couldn’t get either man to talk and after 10 minutes came back to the judge saying it was an impasse. The judge got a bit annoyed and told them all to try again but still neither party would talk. On returning to the courtroom the judge asked one farmer why they refused to talk to each other. The farmer looked puzzled and replied “I have no problem talking to him but you were very clear we had to negotiate in good faith. But that’s impossible because I’m a Baptist and he’s a Presbyterian.”
13. What is the difference between a mediator and an astronaut? An astronaut may sit on top of a controlled explosion but at least he has some idea of the direction it’s headed.
14. What is the difference between a mediator and a cowboy? A cowboy doesn’t have to deal with as much bullsh*t.
15. What is the difference between a mediator and a doctor? A doctor can kill his patients
16. What is the difference between a mediator and an ice skater? A mediator always skates on thin ice.
17. A mediator goes to see Father Michael. “I’m worried that I might go to hell father.” “Surely not son. You do God’s work as a mediator” “But father last week I had a mediation where one of the parties admitted to doing drugs and committing robbery but his victim forgave him and he’s back on the streets.” “Forgiveness is a powerful thing and we can only hope that the criminal takes his chance to mend his ways.” “But yesterday I helped a couple who had been married for 40 years to get a divorce.” “Away with you now. ‘Tis not your responsibility for their divorce although it is against the teachings of the church.” “I can hardly say what I did today… I mediated a case where a young girl was pregnant by a married man and the agreement was for him to pay for an abortion.” “Well ‘tis true that’s a mortal sin but I’m sure that you did everything in your power to help them choose a better path. I will say a pray for them all tonight.” “But father am I going to hell?” “You’re a good man with a good heart and I’m sure Saint Peter will be welcoming you at heaven’s gates when the time is right.” The Father paused for a moment and then continued with a wry smile “Mind; you’d be awfully busy down there mediating with all them sinners now wouldn’t you.”