In western PA, born n’ raised -a nose in a joke book- how I spent most of my days.
Mastering the knock knock, feeling so cool. Badass punchline is just the tool.
There’s nothing like the sound of crisp paper ripping away, small hands feverishly awaiting the contents it masks. It was just such a sound to behold on this most sacred of days, my birthday. The hidden treasure beneath would offer hours of entertainment, not only for me, but for all those I would encounter. See, I was like a spider, spinning a dangerously sticky web, waiting to capture any who dared near. Except, rather than the typical sucking of blood, my web was strung with jokes of all kinds, death by laughter. My love for jokes and books that contain them was pure, and enduring.
When a few years later, I’m a teacher now- started using jokes to make the students say “wow.
I tell one little joke and I’ve got them hooked. Now that they are mine, I makem’ hit the books.
So there’s these two fish, and they’re swimming along, having a great time. They’re doing all the fun things that fish get to do. You know blowing bubbles, breathing through their gills and what not. When all of a sudden, BAM! The one fish runs straight into a wall! He turns to the other fish, and you know what he says? “Dam!”
So, freshman class, what can we learn from this fish?? Some of you will be swimming along all fine and dandy this year, and then you’re going to have that moment when you hit your own wall. You’re going to be tested and pushed, and when that time comes you don’t want to continue being that fish- banging your head off a wall. You need to take a moment to reflect and consider what you’re going to change in your life, reach out to those around you for help and make use of the learning opportunity. I’ve watched far too many freshman be “that” fish- don’t let it happen to you.
I sit down in my seat, self satisfied look on my face. Another successful freshman orientation speech down. Nailed it!! Now it’s just time to meet and greet all the nervously smiling faces that will be entering my classroom in..oh…five minutes or so.
They beg and plead when it comes to that day. Don’t tell the joke yet, let us stud-ay.
Jokes reveal the word to unlock the test. Shoulda studied last night, that’s how you do your best.
So, the joke which reveals the secret word for today’s test is…”Why does Snoop Dog carry an umbrella?” My ridiculous grin is met with blank stares, and a few anxious faces, either for the test or for the answer to this impossibly funny joke, or just my explosion of laughter which is guaranteed to follow. It will invade the surrounding classrooms who inevitably are trying to get some “real” work done, diverting students’ attention, eliciting grins, groans, and eye rolls from students and teachers alike. There is no escaping the high pitched, guttural, half-chicken, half-hyena- like sound. Often referred to as ” better than the joke itself,” my laugh has a life of its own, and could quite possibly buy these anxious test takers a few more minutes before that storm which will either lower or raise their overall grade.
“No guesses?” My smile, about to curve right off my face if it could possibly get any bigger, is dashed for a second when smarty pants Victor retorts, “It’s raining,” the teenage contempt dripping from each syllable.
“An astute observation Vic the Quick. As always, a dependable soul to be counted on, but not the response for which I am looking. No, the reason that Snoop Dog carries an umbrella is… ‘Fo Drizzle’!!!” A few crickets, a few snickers, some serious eye rolling. “Awww come on! ‘Fo Drizzle’? You don’t think that’s funny?? Fo Shizzle my Drizzel?” I’m dying from laughter at this point. Have I ever mentioned that I think I am one of the funniest people I have ever met?? If it happens to be a period that my co-teacher AK-47 is with me, she is surely joining in on this, adding her own more credible “street” lingo to the conversation, and fueling the eruption of laughter. Eventually… the strange creatures that are teenagers succumb to my devices and are powerless to hold back their smiles, although they put up an admirable fight. “Ok, ok, ok. The secret word from today’s joke is ‘rain.’ Go ahead and start your test.”
“Best of luck!” I throw in there half tauntingly, half encouragingly. As the room hushes and the beautiful sound that is students simultaneously typing on their laptops greets my ears with its rain-like melody, a small snicker again escapes my lips. A few heads turn, only to be shaken in disbelief as to how a crackpot like me became their English teacher, and then focuses once again on the task at hand. Test time.
I pulled up to the house, my kids can not escape their fate. They got a mom that’s a jokester, what could be betta?
I looked at my children, I was finally there. Time to pass on the jokes, with a bit of flair.
“Knock knock. Ok, now you say, ‘who’s there.'”
“No babe, you don’t guess who is there. You say the words, ‘who’s there’.”
“No, no honey. Let’s try it again. Knock knock…” There’s those damn crickets again. Bright blue eyes look at me, and then down at the small princess doll. Little does it know the queen is about to say, ‘off with her head’ for the umpteenth time. “Don’t pull her head off baby. Let’s try again. When I say knock knock, you have to say ‘who’s there’. Ok? Ready? Knock knock.”
“Who’s there? ”
Success! It’s only about the tenth or twentieth try, but my mama taught me persistence pays off, and I was ready for a sweet reward.
” ‘Boo.’ Ok now you say ‘boo who?’. Cinderella’s head rolls towards my foot. Better pick it up or I’m sure to step on it in a few moments, and then I’m going to be the one boo-hooing.” Ok, honey this is going to be funny. When I say boo, you say boo who? Ok? You ready? Knock knock.”
( Here comes the moment I’ve been waiting for) “Oh, it’s ok honey. Don’t cry.” My small chuckle is met with a blank stare.
“I’m not crying, Mommy.”
“I know sweetie. It’s a joke. Boo who? Don’t cry?”
” Don’t say that Mommy. That’s weird.”
Schooled by a three year old.
Daily Prompt: Joke
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