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Catherine and Steven Garretson posted the joke they call “Pop!” on Wednesday. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Sala)
Catherine and Steven Garretson posted the joke they call “Pop!” on Wednesday. (Photo Courtesy of Scott Sala)

“Dear math, Grow up and solve your own problems.”

That’s just one of the many jokes a group of neighbors on West Street in Louisville are writing and placing on whiteboards outside their homes daily. Neighbor and joker extraordinaire Anne Burton said the group of six hope their jokes brighten people’s mood when going by.

“I laugh out loud when I walk down the street and read them,” Burton said. “It’s just interesting to see what people put up.”

Tom Catalano and Laura Levesque’s joke they posted on Wednesday titled “Dear Math.Ó (Photo Courtesy of Scott Sala)

The trend was started by retired elementary school teacher and current cashier at Whole Foods, Scott Sala. He started collecting “dad jokes” (typically puns or just corny humor) to cheer customers up and help create conversation. Months later, he and his neighborhood post them on whiteboards outside their homes for those going by to see.

When the pandemic hit, Sala decided to take a six-week leave from Whole Foods, prompting him to find new ways to brighten people’s day.

Sala started posting three jokes a day on a Louisville Facebook group in an effort to brighten people’s day. Once Sala felt it was safe to return to work in May, he announced to the Facebook page he would stop posting jokes.

“There was this outcry,” Sala said. “People were like ‘I share these with my kids, I call my mother, my father,’ they want to hear what the jokes are each day.”

A friend inspired him to put them on a whiteboard outside his house. Soon after, neighbors started becoming a part of the trend. The jokes change every day, in the early morning or the night before.

“We have six whiteboards each with a different joke every day,” said Sala. “We even have a woman across the street from us and she’s the substitute joke writer.”

Sala said he enjoys having conversations with new people who stop to read the jokes. The typically quiet street has seen an increase in traffic with the amusing attraction.

The jokes can be anything from “A communist joke isn’t funny unless everyone gets it,” to “A woman in labor shouted ‘Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t!, Can’t! Couldn’t!’ The doctor reassures her ‘Don’t worry, those are just contractions.’”

“Our neighbor across the street calls it the ‘West Street Speed Bump’ because when people drive or ride their bikes or walk, they slow down by each house so they can read the jokes for the day,” Sala said.

Tim Catalano began his jokeboard in late May, just two weeks after Sala. Not much can stop Catalano’s commitment to chuckles.

“If we get a giant snow storm or something where we can’t put our sign out, maybe we won’t put it out,” Catalano said. ”But I don’t see stopping as long as things stay crazy with lockdowns and coronavirus.”

The group plans to continue doing the joke boards for as long as possible.

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