A saloon owner in the Old West had just hired a timid new bartender. The owner of the establishment was giving his new hire some instructions on running the place. He told the city slicker, a rather timid man from back East, "If you ever hear that Big John is a comin’ to town, drop everything you’re a doin’ right then and there and run for the hills!! He's the biggest, meanest, nastiest outlaw who ever lived!!"
The next few weeks passed by rather uneventfully. But one afternoon, a local cowhand came running right down through the middle of town yelling, "Big John is a comin’ to town!! Run for ya lives!!!" When the bartender exited the saloon to start running himself, he promptly got knocked to the ground by a throng of town folk were all scurrying out of town themselves. As he picked himself up, he suddenly saw a very large man approaching the saloon, probably about seven feet tall, muscular, and grunting and growling with each step.
The giant stomped up to the door, ordered the poor barkeep inside, and demanded, "Gimme somethin’ to drink right NOW!!" He then pounded his heavy fist on the counter so hard that he split it in half. The petrified bartender, shaking like a leaf, nervously handed him a bottle. The big man took the bottle, ripped the top off with his teeth, and downed the entire contents in one huge gulp.
As the poor, timid bartender cowered behind the counter, the big man got up to leave. "Do you want another one?" the bartender timidly inquired. "Shucks no, I ain’t got no time!!" the big man snarled. "I gotta get out of a town!!! Didn't ya hear?? Big John is a comin!!"
Apparently, Big John, whoever he was, had a reputation that preceded him. But Big John was not alone. In truth, we all have a reputation of some sort. And it usually precedes each of us as well as did Big John's. Now a reputation is a valuable thing - and well worth protecting. In fact, it has been said that a good reputation takes a lifetime to build and only a minute to destroy.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, offered this timeless insight on a personal reputation in Ecclesiastes (7:1 NLT): “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.” To this thought, he added one other in Proverbs (22:1 NIV): “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
Therefore, because one’s good name is so valuable, we would each do well to protect and preserve the one we have. Remember, a reputation is all but irreplaceable. As a general rule, neither you nor I will ever have another one.
SOURCE: This joke is available widely on the internet. This particular version is based on one that I found at: http://www.tensionnot.com/jokes/big_john_coming_town.