Justin and Justina, The New Leaf Journal’s fictional dialogue duo, have had many conversations and adventures chronicled in the humble pages of the instant online magazine (see all Justin and Justina dialogues). Today we find that Justin has been reading George and Weedon Grossmith’s The Diary of a Nobody. The April 14 entry in the fictional diary was so funny that Justin just had to share it with Justina. Would Justina find it funny? Read on to find out.

The Dialogue Set Up

Justin happens to be passing through Justina’s neighborhood. He calls on her to come downstairs and meet him outside her apartment building to share a joke with her. Despite being busy, Justina gives in and agrees to meet Justin if he makes his joke quick.

Justin’s Border Boarder

Photograph of a spring garden.  Image from Greturde Jekyll's Colour in the Spring Garden (1908).
Photograph of a spring garden. Image from Greturde Jekyll’s Colour in the Spring Garden (1908).

Justina: What do you want?
Justin: You look rather testy.
Justina: I have work to do!
Justin: I have just discovered a joke.
Justina: Is this going to be worse than the seagulls? Just tell me the joke.
Justin: So I’ve been reading The Diary of a Nobody.
Justina: What’s that?
Justin: An English comic novel from 1888-89 about a fictional married couple.
Justina: Why did I ask?
Justin: The entries are done by days. The April 14 entry is hilarious. Cracking up just thinking about it.
Justina: Just tell me.
Justin: So Mr. Pooter was out gardening one morning.
Justina: Who’s Mr. Pooter?
Justin: The husband of Mrs. Pooter.
Justina: That didn’t really answer the question.
Justin: Stop runing the joke!
Justina: …
Justin: So as I was saying, Mr. Pooter was out gardening. He procured and sowed some half-hardy annuals.
Justina: I see.
Justin: He fancied that they would make for a warm, sunny border.
Justina: Right.
Justin: Then he thought of something. A eureka moment as the kids would say.
Justina: The only kid who would have ever said that was you.
Justin: You say that as if you know what the kids are into these days.
Justina: You didn’t even know what the kids were into in your day.
Justin: Anyway, so Mr. Pooter thought of something. He had to call on Mrs. Pooter.
Justina: Where was Mrs. Pooter?
Justin: Are you ready for this?
Justina: Just tell me.
Justin: Inside their house.
Justina: …
Justin: So Mrs. Pooter, Carrie Pooter, she goes out to the garden.
Justina: Right.
Justin: Mr. Pooter says: “I have just discovered we have got a lodging-house.”
Justina: Huh?
Justin: That is close to Carrie’s reaction. She asked: “How do you mean?”
Justina: Mhmm.
Justin: Do you know what Mr. Pooter said?
Justina: Just tell me.
Justin: This is hard to get through without cracking up.
Justina: …
Justin: “Look at the boarders.” Man, what a guy. He’s a one-man riot. (Justin is laughing.)
Justina: Is that all you wanted me for?
Justin: …
Justina: What?
Justin: That’s exactly what Carrie said! Word for word!
Justina: …
Justin: Any other time you would have laughed at my little pleasantry.
Justina: …What are you talking about? I would have never laughed at that.
Justin: …You’re not sticking to the script anymore.
Justina: What?
Justin: Well before you said exactly what Carrie said. But see in the dialogue – Carrie said there: “Certainly—at any other time, but not when I am busy in the house.”
Justina: I’m annoyed because I’m busy. But I would not have laughed at a different time.
Justin: I don’t know about that.
Justina: …Wait a second… was the real reason you called me out here to recreate the joke but with you telling Mr. Pooter’s joke instead of Mr. Pooter?
Justin: I’m actually on my way to go buy some paint now. You can get back to whatever you were doing.
Justina: You didn’t answer my question!
Justin: Just remember, Justina: Life imitates art about life.
Justina: …