OKay, this joke is a bit difficult to explain, but I’m going to try because it’s one of my favorite ones.
A deaf man comes up to a railroad crossing. The railroad “guards” are down. So he waits for a bit. Soon it becomes apparent that they are not going to come up, so he gets out of his car and goes to a little railroad building next the the road. He knocks on the door. A man opens the door. The deaf man points to his ear and shakes his head to show that he is deaf. The other man gets a pen and paper and writes down “What can I do for you?” The deaf man writes back: “Please but”.
Look under the cut if you don’t get the joke. This is an ASL joke so it requires knowing some ASL to get it, but not much. So if you know some, sign what the deaf man wrote to yourself and think about it. Don’t rush in for the answer. If you don’t know ASL, then go ahead and look under the cut.
OK, to understand this joke, you kind of have to get the concept of “classifiers”. This is a simple concept, don’t worry! It is basically a handshape (like a number 3) used to represent an object and show where it’s located and what it’s doing. The handshape you pick usually “looks like” the object it’s representing.
So… he’s signing “Please” which is just “Please”. But when you sign “But” (click on link below for the sign) it looks like two railroad crossing guards coming up. He he!