Ronald Reagan’s Soviet Union Joke

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“I’ve been collecting stories that are told in the Soviet Union, by their people, among themselves, which reveal they’ve got a great sense of humour but they’ve also got a pretty cynical attitude toward their system… I didn’t tell this one to Gorbachev.

You know there’s a ten year delay in the Soviet Union of the delivery of an automobile, and only one out of seven families in the Soviet Union own automobiles. There’s a ten year wait. And you go through quite a process when you’re ready to buy, and then you put up the money in advance. And this happened to a fella, and this is their story, that they tell, this joke, that this man, he laid down his money, and then the fella that was in charge, said, ‘Okay, come back in ten years to get your car.’ And he said, ‘Morning or afternoon?’ and the fella behind the counter said, ‘Ten years from now, what difference does it make?’ and he said, ‘Well, the plumber’s coming in the morning.'”

Ronald Reagan, Speech to Reynolds Metal Company Employees, March 28, 1988, Richmond, Virginia