The story of the oil man who collected popular jokes for 40 years

The hard work his parents shared in him as a child – harvesting, digging and weeding – were compelling arguments for leaving the village, he admits. He inherited his passion for books from his father, a real dollar peasant, who did not have much education, but read a lot and instructed his children to learn. In his youth, he was fond of poetry and short stories, but being at the height of oil, high school pushed him in this direction and he ended up becoming a well-known manager in the oil industry, earning degrees and privileges at home and abroad. Despite the professional ascent, he never forgot his native land and remained attached to the life of the village and the descendants of the Moromets. He was also awarded the title of Honorary Citizen for his participation in the life of the Udupu, Tătărăști and Siliștea Gumești communities.

Magazine: How many people have you been able to cheer up with an encyclopedia of pocket humor?

Ion Bessi: “I started publishing the Encyclopedia of Pocket Humor in 2017, when I set out to write 15-20 volumes that would make Romanians smile and forget their worries. At least when traveling or relaxing. In the end, there were 30 volumes. The books were a hit Unexpected, because it is aimed at all social groups, it is an accessible joke.”

Magazine: How was the idea for this project born?

IP: When I was a student in high school, I organized poetry encounters with young men from Moromet villages. I also won some epigram contests. In high school, I took the technical side, entered the world of oil. After graduating from college, I returned to my passion, began collecting humor, and outlined my research on short humor. From 66-67, when wells began to eject about 15 million tons of crude oil in Romania, the world began to spend less time for fun, so it turned to short humor. I also thought of pocket format for people who travel by train and plane. You have the book, you take it out of your pocket, you read it, and it separates you from your everyday worries.

Magazine: How was the transition from oil to humor?

IP: In the last volume, I actually have a poem about book profits, in those times when, unfortunately, the world no longer scrambles to buy books, and oil workers were seen as the princes of Dallas. Autoepigram: «I was a big oil man, and now – a small publicist. I had to find a way to spend my money over the years.” That’s how it is. Oil is my field of activity, humor – a passion I developed to please others. The volumes were printed in 70,000 copies, more than half of which were sold through collaborations with Antena 3 and Journalul. I am very satisfied with this cooperation.

“Roman-Israeli Culture Foundation Appreciates Books, Also Received Prize in Israel”

MAGAZINE: You tackled brave topics. I have posted benches with judges, priests, policemen, Jews, mother-in-law, mistresses, and doctors. Aren’t your acquaintances and business partners upset?

IP: So far I haven’t gotten any summons to court. All posted jokes are based on reality or taken from the mouths of celebrities. My opinion is that people who are into reading, who are smart and cultured don’t get upset, because they get the good part of the quartet’s joke. A famous writer made a joke about me in about two articles. He wasn’t happy that I was doing that kind of joke, instead of making Karajali some kind of joke. After the first 5 volumes were published in 2017-2018, one of the reasons I continued with the project on a larger scale was to encourage readers. The books were appreciated by the Romanian-Israel Culture Foundation, and they were also awarded an award in Israel.

After the encyclopedia of pocket humor comes an encyclopedia of proverbs about life and age

Magazine: What other projects do you have?

IP:. I have a project that will take me about two years, although I have a lot of material collected already. My father was a great sage, a very Murometri peasant. Although he only completed 7 classes, he beat many colleges in terms of art and culture, because he reads a lot. My dad had a library with 3,000 books when I didn’t buy any books, and I had no cash. Thus was born the idea of ​​doing our own project of collecting wisdom – proverbs and quotes related to life and age. Popular quotes or great celebrities, considering the different stages of life, from birth and childhood to maturity until our departure. It will be organized according to my geometric style, as I have organized the Pocket Humor Encyclopedia, around clear themes.

Diary: I’ve found the power of joking and the inspiration to write humor even during the tough times of a pandemic. How did you succeed?

“Humor is the spearhead of intelligence”

IP: The folder “Only Vaccine – Humor” was not in the original draft. I didn’t even know what an epidemic was. I couldn’t avoid the humor born on the occasion of the cruelty, limitations, and suffering that COVID causes. Humor is a feature of Roman. There is no other nationality in the world that has the spirit of Romanian speed. No one else has an intelligent sense of humor, especially a short one. He immediately places it in a poem, if it is a vice, defect or performance, its quality should be praised. I emphasized this in all of my introductions. I didn’t plan to publish the Let’s Laugh Sexy folder either. Because I don’t like the idea of ​​sex on paper, on screen, the way it’s now being broadcast on all channels. In my opinion, sexy should be interpreted as something beautiful and provocative that makes you fight for a relationship. I did not want to write about political life, nor about humor in uniform, but if you wanted to cover all areas of activity in a man’s life, you should cover them too. I put them in more shy and clean jokes, to be more decent and less sarcastic.

Journal: Why did you choose the last volume to rhyme?

IP: I am proud that this book is one hundred percent of my creativity. I don’t want to brag, but humor is the spearhead of intelligence. It is not accessible to everyone, neither from the point of view of creation nor from the point of view of reception. Everyone already has a sense of humor. And if he cultivates it by photographing different aspects of a man’s life, he is able to reproduce it. It seems to me that the maximum performance in this area is processing humor in four lines. I wouldn’t put them in the category of meritorious literary works, but they are relaxing.

Journalol: What is your advice to Romanians who have lost their sense of humor due to hardship?

IP: Any day you didn’t smile or joke around is a wasted day. No matter how difficult situations you are going through, you should never forget to smile. From an early age when reception becomes bearable, to the elderly, a joke has the power to separate you from you. Humor is a therapy, a procedure for mental healing. Once this idea is pollinated, it makes you forget about the problems.

“Humor is a form of therapy. I set out to publish 15 to 20 volumes of jokes and short stories that would make Romanians smile and forget their fears, but I ended up with 30 volumes, even from readers.”

“My father was a great sage, though he only completed 7 degrees. A peasant from Morometia, born 4 kilometers from Celitia Louis Marin Breda. He overcame many in the colleges of art and culture, because he read a lot. My father had a library of 3,000 books When I didn’t buy a single book.”

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