Every once and a while, Elijah will come home with a newly acquired joke from school or camp. This weekend he dropped this nugget on Diana:
“Hey mom. Boys go to college to get more knowledge. Girls go to Jupiter to get more stupider.”
She responded from over her wine glass, “If boys were so smart, they wouldn’t use the term ‘stupider.’”
Whenever he brings home a new joke, especially the classics, I always ask him how he found out about it. I’m intrigued by the passing of jokes from generation to generation. How does “Orange you glad I didn’t say ‘banana’” or “I ate the sandbox” stay alive over the decades?
There does seem to be a universal agreement among uncles to teach nephews and nieces swear words when they are at the repeating stage of verbal development. I also think it’s this agreement that enables most jokes to keep living.
Take the Diarrhea Song.
When we were driving to Central Illinois last weekend to attend my mom’s funeral, Eli and Luca were bored and began arguing over some useless piece of plastic.
Rather than scream at them, I announced that if they behaved on this trip, uncle Steve would teach them the Diarrhea Song.
What? There is a song dedicated to their favorite subject? An actual tune with lyrics about pooping? Needless to say, they were incredibly well behaved for the next 24 hours.
On the drive back, they begged to hear the song. Steve looked at me blankly. It had been 35 years since he sang it.
I opened my mouth and words just came pouring out. Diarrhea, cha cha. Diarrhea, cha cha. It was uncontrollable. It was urgent. It was voluminous. I won’t give you all the messy details, but I think I remembered every lyric, even the obscure regional differences.
The boys howled in laughter. I was a hero. When we arrived home, the boys raced to their mom and filled her ears with their newfound cha chas.
She was not amused. But couldn’t yell at me because I had just gotten back from a funeral. Thanks mom!