Recently, I was having a chat with my pals Christian and Prakrit in which we recounted our failed attempts at humor during childhood. I told them the story of my biggest adolescent blunder: Picture this, my family and I gathered round the table for dinner, engaging in some post-meal banter, when suddenly I interject with a “Hey everyone, I have a joke!”
I had gotten their attention and all eyes were on me, my sister already sneering as she awaited a punchline she (rightly) suspected would fall short of the comedic par that had been well-established within my family. I don’t know if it was the sugar in the ice cream that compelled me, but I had put myself out there without preparing any real material. My pre-pubescent brain searched the files for a joke, any joke, to cut the discomfiting silence that had filled the room.
Suddenly, a joke that I had heard before came to mind. In fact, I had heard it about five minutes before, out of my dad’s mouth. I decided I would take the trunk of this fantastic joke, a joke that had already been a hit at the table, and simply put a little bit of that classic Dana Flair™ on the punchline.
Mustering all the courage in my small body, I ventured my joke:
“Why was the tomato blushing?”
My mom being charitable as always retorted with a “Gee Dana, I don’t know, why?”
I faltered for a second as I entered the improv zone—“Well…um…it was feeling…juicy?”
My family dissolved into giggles, responding to my comedic deficiencies rather than my wit.
This is all to say that in my conversation with Prakrit and Christian, we concluded that there is a stage that children go through when they begin to understand humor without really being able to execute it. The anti-jokes that arise during this time are endearing and wholesome, unlike the nihilistic anti-jokes à la popular Twitter page @antijokeapple.
While the despairing anti-jokes of Mr. Apple hold their own as comedic gems, I see a serious gap in the market for more wholesome anti-jokes, perhaps embodied by a pear or an apricot.
With that being said, I will leave you with a brief list of the nonsensical jokes I might’ve told when I was eight. Read them with all the confidence of a child that hasn’t learned her own inadequacies yet.
Q: Why was mom mad?
A: Because I didn’t make my bed AGAIN this morning.
Q: Why was the popsicle so cold?
A: Because there weren’t any blankets in the freezer and it was too lazy to get up and get one.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Probably because there was a soup stand on the other side and chickens really like soup.
Q: Why are you so bad at catching butterflies?
A: Because your butterfingers can’t hold onto butterflies, butterfingers!
Feel free to try these slam-dunks out on your friends and compliment me on my comedic growth.
Image via Anne Warner.