Here's a joke that often makes the rounds of physics departments:
The 3 stages of a newly-published result are
1. It's wrong.
2. OK, it's not wrong, but it's trivial.
3. OK, it's correct, and it's important, but I did it first.
(I think every theoretical physicist has experienced all three of these, although at different times and on different research projects). It turns out that the origins of this joke are more hoary than I could possibly have imagined -- it dates back to a 19th-century scientist!
According to Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius at the University of Tennessee, the joke originated with the great German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, after whom the Humboldt penguin is named. (My source is this book on tape by Liulevicius). I suppose it's only fitting, since I've had many physicist colleagues spend time in Germany on the Humboldt Fellowship. All of our best ideas (and jokes) really were stolen by the ancients.