Showing posts with label funny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label funny. Show all posts

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Joe had asked Bob to help him out with the deck after work, so Bob just went straight over to Joe's place. When they got to the door, Joe went straight to his wife, gave her a hug and told her how beautiful she was and how much he had missed her at work. When it was time for supper, he complimented his wife on her cooking, kissed her and told her how much he loved her.

Once they were working on the deck, Bob told Joe that he was surprised that he fussed so much over his wife. Joe said that he'd started this about 6 months ago, and that it had revived their marriage, and things couldn't be better.

Bob thought he'd give it a try. When he got home, he gave his wife a massive hug, kissed her and told her that he loved her. His wife burst into tears.

Bob was confused and asked why she was crying. She said, "This is the worst day of my life. First, little Billy fell off his bike and twisted his ankle. Then, the washing machine broke and flooded the basement. And now, you come home drunk!"

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Friday, August 5, 2011

How to win the generation game


You know the situation - - you’ve been in it hundreds of times. Perhaps you’re decompressing after another working day : cool drink in hand, solicitous spouse settled near by, the scent of supper floating in the evening air. Or you’re bent over some task that requires utmost concentration – repairing a toaster, balancing your bank account. Whatever your activity, the peace and symmetry of the moment are shattered by the arrival of a child – a child with a question.

Almost certainly, it will not be a question you can answer satisfactorily: Daddy, if the sun is burning, why isn’t there any smoke? Why do we lower the flag at night, when we have to put it up again in the morning? If hours are longer than minutes, why is the hour hand shorter?

We think that when children ask such questions they are interested in the correct answers, and that it is our parental duty to provide them. How else, we ask ourselves, will the tykes pass their exams? Until recently I thought so too. But then, just this year, while wrestling with questions asked by my own three girls, I made a conceptual breakthrough: children couldn’t care two hoots about receiving an accurate response to most of their questions. What they are really looking for is easy entertainment.

You see, there is considerable silent merriment to be derived from watching Daddy fumble for an answer that doesn’t exist. As it becomes agonizingly clear that you don’t know the answer, you have suffered a momentary set-back in your authoritarian role. The youngster now has what the children everywhere, in private, call The Edge.

He will be quick to exploit it. A cost-of-living increase in his pocket money will be requested. He will argue that he should be allowed to watch a certain late-night television programme all the way through. Material goods – a set of drums, sweets, a tricycle- will be sought. Your opponent knows that your loss of face will be fleeting, and that therefore he must move swiftly.

In order to avoid this fateful Edge you must follow three fundamental percepts:

Answer immediately: Time is on the side of the child who bugs you. Any stalling on your part (“Daddy’s trying to sleep”; “That’s a silly question”) will be like trying to put out a fire with paraffin. Remember, he has all day.

Be concise: If a youngster braces you with “ Is the tooth fairy a girl or a boy?” it’s a losing game to qualify your answer (“Of course, you understand, a girl tooth fairy could put money under your pillow every bit as skillfully as a boy tooth fairy could”). Think of your answering as akin to digging a well: the longer you work at it, the deeper into the hole you get. No, it is far better to say, with a brisk rattle of your newspaper,

“The tooth fairy is a boy.” That is the sort of no-nonsense response any child will instinctively respect.

Sound confident: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. If a child pipes up, “Why do men wear ties?” you are unlikely to come up with the right answer, assuming there is one. Make up an answer (“To keep the Adam’s apple from catching cold”), and say it confidently, authoritatively. The tot doesn’t care why men wear ties. He is trying to amuse himself at your expense. DON’T LET HIM.

Does it sound simple? It is—as long as you realize that every question brings with it certain complications. For example, although you must answer immediately, saying the first thing that pops into you head can be risky. To show you what I mean, let’s examine a few questions recently lobbed at me by my own children.

Could you beat up Mitzi’s father?:
Mitzi’s father is a great simian hulk of a man, with fists the size of babies. His daughter, at nine, is already a lass of menacing proportions. So, when the above question was put to me by Betsy, I idly replied, “Sweetie, I’d have trouble beating up Mitzi.”

Students of these matters will be quick to spot the fatal flaw in my response: the probability that one’s words will be instantly relayed by small couriers to friends and neighbors, leading to the eventual arrival on one’s doorstep of Mitzi’s father wearing a T-shirt the size of a mainsail, and squinting through Gestapo eyes. “I understand,” he growls, “you intend to beat up my Mitzi!”

How should I have replied to Betsy’s original query? So; ‘we’ll never know, will we?’ given with an enigmatic little smile that leaves no doubt whom your money would back in such a show-down. But nothing to quote, you see, nothing to be grasped by mini-Mata Harris and carried to the surrounding countryside.

If you have a blowpipe and a poison dart, what happens if you inhale?

My mistake here was trying to develop the problem into a mode of experimental inquiry. “Let’s find out,” I said briskly to Cathy. “Fetch a straw, scissors, a toothpick and Betsy’s jay feather.”

I whittled an aerodynamic stick from the toothpick. A dab of gum applied to a few snips from the feather resulted in a handsome little dart. “OK,” I said to the girls. They were all there now, watching intently, their instinct for the morbid at the fore –“here we are in the rain forest, here is our poison dart and here is our blowpipe. I pushed the dart into the straw and blew; the missile didn’t budge.

“A technical malfunction,” I explained. “Matter of calibration. The main point we’re making here is that the dart, with its angled feathers, can’t go backwards up the gun.

“Try it, Daddy,” urged Cathy. “Inhale. Hard.”

I sucked sharply. Surprise! The projectile shot into my throat.

Moral: never try to demonstrate your answers.

Where do babies come from?

This old chestnut nearly always occurs in the presence of visiting clergymen or elderly relatives, children having a sure touch when it comes to selecting an audience for maximum amusement. In the former case, a simple “Let’s hear what the Reverend has to say about the matter” would suffice and the Reverend would turn the topic towards God and religion and the topic would be confused.

Sometimes, of course, they’ll nail you alone, and in such cases it’s best to be prepared. As I wasn’t one evening while peacefully shelling peas before dinner. “Dad,” Cathy began, “where….” And so on. Realizing that I held a splendid teaching aid right in my hands, I said, “Suppose this boy pea pod meets that girl pea pod. They get married….”
“What’s his name?”
“Sam. And hers is Patricia. They get married and everything, and lo!—I snapped open Patricia’s abdomen, revealing green sextuplets—“Here are the babies, growing right in her tummy, you see.”
To this day Cathy won’t eat peas.

No, I’ve found the best answer to this question to be a clear and forthright, ”Go and ask Mummy.”

If the world was made of ice cream, would it melt?

A typical scientific enquiry. Of course, it’s pointless to answer, “The earth isn’t made of ice cream,” because the child can say “But what if” till the cows come home and for a considerable period thereafter. No, the only way to handle these “what if” concoctions is to grant the supposition and snap of the semi-reasonable reply: “Yes, it would melt.”

“Where would it drip to?”

“South Africa.”

The key is to keep the answers coming.

Because, Lord knows, the questions will keep coming. Can you gargle with your mouth closed? (Correct response: No) Would you break your arm for Rs.1000/(You need more data on this one: how much would it hurt, and how long would it take to get better?) If I was drowning and Mummy was drowning, who would you save? (Correct answer: I’d sacrifice myself and save you both” Under the terms of the question, a total of two people can survive, and Mummy is sure to be listening.) Where do tortoises go when they die? (Don’t say “In a hole in the garden. Believe me) How much money do we have?

Face the whirlwind unafraid. Be calm, confident, concise. If your child is looking for laughs, let him watch cartoons. If it’s The Edge he’s after, don’t let him get It.

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