Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Classic Joke

Today I was helping a couple ladies navigate the intricacies of English Conversation. This is not to be confused with Textbook English, for I maintain the viewpoint that grammar is what jukus are for. I just speaken da langige as I sees its.

After adding essential phrases and words such as “Shake a leg” and “butterfingers” to their repertoire, I was compelled to say a few words about Halloween.

No, Halloween is just one day… one evening actually.

No, we’re not doing anything special for it.

Yes, candy is popular.

Desperate to turn the conversation to something slightly more interesting, I hit upon the brilliant idea of explaining the origins of the phrase “Trick or Treat”. Once they understood the idea of a prank, I could see their esteem of the funny American holiday dwindle rapidly.

To stop the train of thought that would eventually lead to the belief that American kids are nothing but egg-chucking hooligans, I told them of the tradition my old neighborhood in Iowa had of requiring a trick or a joke before handing over the sugary loot, thus bringing a new meaning to the classic Halloween line.

Then they wanted me to tell a joke.

So I told a joke, and what a joke it was… yeahhh, I had nothing. Absolutely nothing… thus, I went with the old classic: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

They cocked their heads from side-to-side, squinted, and by all appearances tried hard to figure out the answer. Eventually they conceded defeat and looked at me expectantly.

I, in the meantime, had been trying to think of one of the countless punchline variations that accompany that question, but they too eluded me. I grinned at them apologetically.

“To get to the other side.”

There was silence… and then one of them (the better English-speaker of the two) burst into laughter. I’m not speaking of the obligatory chuckle, complete with a rolling of the eyes and a slight groan- I’m talking hearty, genuine, gut-busting laughter.

It’s funny how laughter is infectious, isn’t it?

And yes, I'm terrible at telling jokes. But that doesn't mean I don't keep trying!

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Maybe it's just because I've been at work for the last 11 hours, but this story made me laugh... well, almost laugh at least. I can't *actually* laugh because then my boss would know that I've decided not to work for the last six minutes I'm planning on being here (I think showing up for work a full 2 hours before anyone else gives me the right for a little slacking).
I'm glad that you managed to save America's reputation in the eyes of your friends, Lord knows we're seen in a bad enough light without having the underbelly of Halloween thrown in there too!