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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And to My Son, I Leave My Sense of Humor

Originally posted in 2010.  Enjoy!


People say to me, Pearl? Where’d you get that sense of humor; and once you got it, what have you done to try to get rid of it?

And I tell them: I inherited it. There’s really nothing I can do.

My father, the King of Clean Jokes – the man who carried around a little wooden coin inscribed “TUIT” just to present when someone said that they would do something, just as soon as they got “a round to it” – was and is my primary influence.

The first joke he told me was on my way to kindergarten.

“Man walks into a bar,” he says to me, at five. “He sits down, he hears the man next to him tell the bartender, “I’ll have another Waterloo.” The bartender gives the fellow a tall, well-iced drink, then asks the newcomer what he would like to drink. This new guy, he’s thinking the other man’s drink must be a specialty of the house, right? So he says, “I guess I’ll have a Waterloo.” The bartender gives him the tall, well-iced drink and the customer takes a big drink. “Hey,” the new guy says, “this isn’t any good. It tastes just like water!” The man next to him looks at the bartender and says, “Well, it is water. Right, Lou?”

That Dad. What a card.

He told clean jokes when my friends came over, causing me to nip at the heels of my friends in hopes of pushing them out the door. “Hey, Pearl! Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but there’s a guy at the community pool –“

“OK. Stop.”

“Oh, no,” a friend would say, “I don’t think I’ve heard this one.”

“So this guy is at a community pool, right? And he gets kicked out by the lifeguard for peeing in it. “Hey,” says the guy, “get real. Everyone pees in the pool.” And the lifeguard says, “Yeah, but from the high dive?”

General chortles all around.

I swore, of course, that I would not do such a thing, tell jokes to my child’s friends.

But we know what a liar I am.

The Boy had some friends over the other day. They were talking about dogs. I couldn’t resist.

“Did I ever tell you guys the one about the talking dog?”

They laughed. They think I’m funny anyway but now I’ve got a joke.

“OK. So a guy walks into a bar. Tells the bartender that he’s got a talking dog and if he’ll just front him a beer, he’ll get the dog to talk. So the bartender gets him a beer, the guy downs it in one gulp, turns to the dog and says, “What’s that up there on top of the house?” and the dog says “Roof!”. Bartender says, “Oh, come on…” and the guy turns to the dog and says, “What’s the texture of sandpaper?” and the dog says “Rough!”. The bartender’s getting upset now, feels he’s been cheated out of a beer. The guy can see this and turns to the dog one more time. “Who’s the greatest baseball player that ever lived?” The dog says “Ruth!” “That’s it!” screams the bartender, and kicks the guy and his dog outside. The guy stands up, dusts himself off, the dog looks up at him and says “DiMaggio?”

And I saw the look on my son’s face: bemusement, love, perhaps a touch of resignation; and I recognized the look as the one I wear myself when my Dad tells jokes.

Turns out I’m a carrier.

Not everything we pass on to our children is in our DNA or trickled down to us in a will.

Some of it is far more serious than that.

19 comments:

Shelly said...

The TUIT and the henway are the first jokes I remember my grandfather springing on me. And somehow I'm very happy when people tell me I remind them of him. You, too, Pearlie. We've inherited things much more valuable than money.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Keep the jokes going; sometimes a sense of humour is all that stands between us and madness. And of course the old and reliable pump-action shotgun.

Delores said...

Nothing wrong with a sense of humour.

joeh said...

DiMaggio? That is funny, everyone knows it would be Willie Mays!

jenny_o said...

I hope you've told your dad this! And I hope your son tells you, some day.

Steve said...

Sounds like s hand me down can be a good thing.

Jayne Martin said...

How lucky you were to have such a great dad who passed to you this wonderful gift that you now get to share with all of us. Your son will inherit quite a legacy.

Daisy said...

Your son is a lucky guy! :)

vanilla said...

Humor is, indeed, a serious thing. So pleased that you inherited that.

Drake Sigar said...

If I ever have a son (it could happen, I might trip into a woman or find a kid in the back of my car, then shrug and decide to keep em) I doubt he’ll want me telling jokes to his friends, or maintaining eye contact.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I got one for ya...
Monkey goes into a bar and asks for bananas.
Bartender - we ain't got no bananas.
Monkey - please, lemme have some bananas
B/tender - I said, we ain't got no bananas.
Monkey - come on pal, you gotta have bananas.
B/tender - no we don't and if you ask me again, I'll nail you to that counter!!
Monkey asks - you got any nails then?
B/tender - no we ain't got no nails.
Monkey - gimme some bananas...

Leave 'em laughin' kiddo
YAM xx

jenny_o said...

@ YAM: Hah! Good one! :)

Leenie B said...

It's so freaky to feel yourself turning into your parents. There's no cure. Resistance is futile.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

This post brightened my day. :)

Sioux said...

I don't think I was a Pearl groupie back in 2010, so thanks for serving this up again.

You are lucky to have a dad like that, and your son is incredibly fortunate to have you as a mom.

River said...

LOL @ Yamini!

My mum was the jokester, but only at parties and mostly the jokes weren't clean. My mum-in-law was also a jokester, that whole family was funny. Sadly I can't remember any of the jokes.

Rose L said...

I have heard that dog and man in the bar joke before. It is an old one! I have a joke for ya!! There was a farmer who wanted to enter his pig in the contest at the fair for the biggest pig to win the $200 prize. He only had 2 weeks to fatten his pig up. He got he brilliant idea of placing a large cork in the pigs butt so it would gain and not lose any weight. Come the day of the fair his pig was the biggest there!
He was so proud and won the prize. As he was proudly posing with his pig for photos, an organ grinder came up with his monkey to take advantage of the crowd and get some money. He played music and the monkey wandered and tipped his hat for coins. The monkey noticed the cork and began to inspect it.
Later on as the reporters interviewed people, they asked what they saw. Most said they saw shit flying all over. Then one man said, "I saw a monkey trying to put a cork in the pigs butt!"
It is the only joke I have ever been able to remember since I was a kid! LAUGH! I demand it!!

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the laughs. Looks like I have some new material going into school tomorrow...

Diane Tolley said...

The best inheritance of all!