Tragicomedy

Liam is going through a phase where he’s trying out different kinds of humor, much of which is influenced by his bedtime reading of Garfield comics, and he’s predictably met with mixed responses. Sometimes he’s inane and unbearably goofy but sometimes he’s downright hilarious, and we’re very clear about giving clear feedback to try to help him learn what is funny to other people based on things like personality, age, timing, and context. One night recently, he was making jokes that missed the mark completely. One example was his very own punchline to “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, which was “To get to Chick-Fil-A.” We all told him this was very silly but we didn’t think it was funny. Enter Arlo, who chimed in with, “Why did the turkey cross the road? To get to Turk-Fil-A!” Well, we positively cackled at that.

A few nights later, I was preparing for a shower in my bedroom, which also happens to be the clean laundry clearinghouse. Liam was supposed to be changing into pajamas and brushing his teeth, but he obviously thought this was the moment when he could wait no longer to find the one pair of underwear he wanted to wear despite the fact that he had a drawer full of them in his room, so he came in to scrabble through the laundry basket. I was wearing nothing but a long shirt, the bottom hem of which I pulled even farther down for modesty’s sake, and said, “Pardon my nudity, but you’re supposed to be getting ready in your room.” “Nudity?” he said, giggling and following me into the bathroom, pointer finger upraised. “You’re not nude! You’re on sale! See? You’re half off!”

Thank you very much, Jon Arbuckle.

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