March 16th, 2014


LJ Idol Season 9: "Tell Me No Stories"

Tell Me No Stories
real lj idol season 9 | week one | 680 words
Jayus (From Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.)


My daughter recently asked me what kinds of jokes my Dad used to tell when I was growing up, and could I think of any examples?

Oh, boy. My Dad especially loves jokes with long, convoluted setups that invariably lead to puns. As in, five-minute yarns where the punch line involves "transporting gulls across staid lions for immortal porpoises."** (Yes, really). He has a silly streak, and enjoys wit and satire, but what he really likes is performing long-winded jokes for an audience. Those childhood experiences were enough to completely put me off that kind of humor, and they turned puns into a kind of torture. Nobody else in the family tells jokes now except my brother, and even his are shorter and less painful.

Imagine—my poor mother has had to laugh at those same, stale stories for over fifty years!

The person doing the telling can make a big difference. A young nephew once tried to relay something to me at a holiday dinner. He was about eight then, and started to tell me his "scary story," but then quickly abandoned it for his "backup scary story":

Nephew: There was a man, and a woman, and another man. And they were married.
Me: What, all of them?
Nephew: Yyyeah…

I don't remember where that story went, or even if he ever finished it, but he was a hilarious little kid and the whole idea of a "backup scary story" with somewhat fuzzy details was just so perfectly him.

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