The gift of humor does not flow through my sweet son's veins. He, like his mother, attempts to understand the world in black-and-white terms, which makes the gray area that jokes' answers fall into elusive to understand. Often my response to a friend's joke is squinted eyes for the first five or so seconds while I figure out what they're talking about, followed by me nodding my head appreciatively. "Oh yeah, that's funny!" I'm a kill to be around, I really am.
But maybe around the age of three and a half G believed humor to be intrinsic to his very self; that boy thought he was funny. And so he'd run up to me with a gleam in his eye, ask, "Knock knock?" and shout "Banana!" before I'd finished the requisite response of, "Who's there?"
That was it. Just, "Banana."
He and Little Missy would throw their heads back in laughter, overcome with glee at the amazing joke. I, however, would worry: Should I tell my son that joke is not funny? If I do, will I crush his spirit? If I don't, will he be "that kid" in school who tells jokes in the middle of class that nobody finds amusing?
I didn't do anything. I worried (Of course I worried. Free-flowing humor escapes me but I excel at worrying.) but never said anything to him, especially after watching him around other kids.
One time we were at the movie theatre, waiting in line at the concession stand. A boy and his father were at the register when G started telling this kid one of his jokes. And the kid loved it. They both threw their heads back in laughter. It was then I realized maybe G's humor was totally age-appropriate. Maybe kids who can tell adult-worthy jokes are few and far between.
Then last Saturday we were at the K-State game in Manhattan. It was the end of the fourth quarter and G and I finally held in our hands the funnel cake that we'd waited all evening for. We stood staring at the ginormous ball of twisty fried dough, topped with an inch-thick layer of powdered sugar, and took it all in before beginning.
With a gleam in his eye my son looked at me. "Come on, Mommy, we can do this; we're in this thing together."
And I laughed. I threw my head back and laughed at the totally appropriate, dry and very funny quip that came out of my son's mouth.
There's hope for quality humor from him after all.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin’s little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.
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