Just for clarification, before we get to the real punchline. Shel Silverstein's song:
BOY NAMED SUE
My daddy left home when I was three,
And he didn't leave much to Ma and me...
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid,
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me 'Sue'.
Well, he must o' thought that is was quite a joke,
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk.
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red,
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head.
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue'.
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made me a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars,
And kill that man that give me that awful name.
Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town, and my throat was dry.
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me 'Sue'.
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do! Now you gonna die!"
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,
And he went down, but, to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I tell ya, I've fought tougher men,
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.
And he said: "Son, this world is rough,
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough,
And I know I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said good-bye.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die,
And it's that name that helped to make you strong."
He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight,
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you 'Sue'."
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I come away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but sue! I still hate that name!
*And now, the real punchline...Shelly's follow-up:
THE FATHER OF THE BOY NAMED SUE
[Silverstein's speaking voice:] ”Okay… now years ago, I wrote a song named “A Boy Named Sue”, and that was okay and everything, except then I started to think about it, and I thought, “It is unfair. I am looking at the whole thing from the poor kid’s point of view. And as I get more older and more fatherly, I begin to look at things from an old man’s point of view. So… I decided to give the old man equal time. Okay. Here we go.”
Yeah, I lef’ home when the kid was three.
It sure felt good to be fancy free
Tho I knew it wasn’t quite the fatherly thing to do.
But that kid kept screamin’ and throwin’ up
And pissin’ in his pants til I had enough
So just for revenge I went and named him Sue.
It was Gatlinberg in mid July
I was gettin' drunk but gettin' by
Gettin' old and going from bad to worse
When thru the door with an awful scream
Comes the ugliest queen I’ve ever seen
He says my name is Sue. How do you do?
Then he hits me with his purse.
Now this ain’t the way he tells the tale
But he scratched my face with his fingernails
And then he bit my thumb
and kicked me with his high-heeled shoe.
So I hit him in the nose, and he started to cry
And he threw some perfume in my eye
And it sure ain’t easy fightin with a boy named Sue.
So I hit him in the head with a caned-back chair
And he screamed, “Hey Dad, you mussed my hair!”
And he hit me in the navel and knocked out a piece of my lint.
He was spittin' blood. I was spittin teeth.
And we crashed through the wall and out into the street
A-kickin and gougin' in the mud and the blood and the crème de menth.
Then out of his garter he pulls a gun.
I’m about to get shot by my very own son.
He’s screamin' about Sigmond Freud and lookin' grim.
So I thought fast and I told him some stuff
How I named him Sue just to make him tough.
And I guess he bought it, cuz now I’m livin' with him.
Yeah, he cooks and sews and cleans up the place.
He cuts my hair and shaves my face.
And irons my shirts better than a daughter could do.
And on the nights that I can’t score,
Well, I can’t tell you anymore.
Sure is a joy to have a boy named Sue.
Yeah, a son is fun,
But it’s a joy to have a boy named Sue.
Looking for more adult humor by Shel Silverstein? Go here.