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On Joking

One of the good things about being forced to stay at home during this COVID-19 pandemic is that I get to spend all day with my two children, ages 5 and 7. One of the worst things about being forced to stay at home during this COVID-19 pandemic is that I get to spend ALL DAY WITH MY TWO CHILDREN, AGES 5 AND 7. So far, we have been getting on OK. My daughter is the 7 year old and spends a lot of the day doing school work so that takes up a big chunk of time. My son is 5 and, while he's happy to watch YouTube all day, I feel obliged to try and engage with him in some way so he doesn't actually biologically merge with our sofa. Unfortunately, yesterday was a bit of a disaster. I was crabby and got increasingly crabbier as the day progressed. I entered into a phase where I was just saying "SHHHH!" or "be quiet!" to everything the kids said, even if it wasn't that obviously annoying. The reason? My son decided to tell some jokes. Now, I am not a comedian, humorist or widely-renowned wit but I do pride myself on my sense of humour and enjoy hearing and telling jokes, especially ones that involve clever wordplay. My daughter has grasped the fundamentals of joke-telling and understands to a certain extent plays on words that make some things funnier than others. My son, not so much.
A while ago, the phrase "I mustache you a question" was popular in our house and my daughter had fashioned this into her own joke - "What did the hair on somebody's lip say to the beard? I mustache you a question!" See? The girl's got it. Anyway, my son decided to lay some funnies on me recently and scored an accidental hit with this misremembered version:
"What did the mustache say to the beard?" (There was a very long pause while he tried to remember the answer) "Why are you called a beard?"
This genuinely tickled me and we all had a good laugh. Unfortunately, he has since used this formula to soul-destroying effect. I've given up trying to explain to him why his jokes aren't funny. "Just laugh and move on!" I hear you say. Nope, tried that. I cannot fake-laugh and move on any more as he keeps going and going and going...
"What did the raspberry say to the pineapple? Why are you called a pineapple?"
"What did the chair say to the man? Can I sit on you?"
"What did the bubble say to the shark? I can pop you!"

See? There's nothing to work with there! Sometimes he'll just stare around the room and name the first two nouns he sees and then make up a half-arsed punchline to go with it. It's maddening! Fine, he's 5 and doesn't understand the nuances of making up a joke but he's just flogging the same old tropes every time and it's not getting any funnier. He's also still deep in potty-humour territory so whenever he starts with "what did the poo-poo..." I just interject with a loud "NO." Not that this stops him. I'm sure there'll come a day when he doesn't say the word "butt-cheeks" but so far, that day has not come. Maybe I'll make a sign like those workplace accident ones: 0 days since I last heard my son say "butt-cheeks"!

All of this is to say that I reached the end of my tether with the bad jokes last night and was short-tempered and snappy all evening. I'm fine today and luckily my son has not felt the need to shower me in humour, potty or otherwise. To finish this post, I asked him to tell me a joke and here it is:
"What did the mustache say to the beard? Why are you called a beard?"
Yes, again. Oh well, at least he's cute.


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