Vets working for London’s Royal Parks reported today that the parks’ deer population was at risk from repeated exposure to people making jokes based on the deer/dear homophone.
‘Deer are highly sensitive creatures’, said Graham Lake, a vet based in Richmond Park, south west London. ‘They are attuned to their environment and respond to nearby stimuli. They can just about cope with people pointing and saying things like ‘look at that one’s dick’, but it’s the incessant dear jokes that we believe are having an adverse effect on their well-being.’
Mr Lake said a typical scenario would see a couple coming across some deer grazing, and one person would say ‘look at those deer’. The other person then replies ‘Where, dear?’ or ‘dear, dear dear.’ Then they’d both laugh smugly.
‘Then you get the people who repeat the ‘what do you call a deer with no eyes’ joke within a deer’s earshot. Imagine that happening to every deer about a hundred times a day. It’s bound to have an effect. They’re only human, after all.’
Changes in the deers’ behaviour include a violent shaking of their heads from side to side immediately after hearing a deer/dear joke, or jerking their heads upwards as if trying to look at their own antlers. ‘Their distinctive call is changing too,’ said Mr Lake, ‘from a generic snort to something that sounds like ‘oferferksake’.
‘I would urge all Londoners to refrain from making deer jokes in the vicinity of these magnificent beasts. The parakeets are fair game, though, if you happen to know any parakeet jokes.’