Life delivers you your first love, first car, first date, first death experience and happily your first joke. One day when I was about six, the youngest of three, my brother sister and I were standing in the driveway in front of our house watching our neighbor wash his car, and my brother pipes up with two words. Our neighbors name, Art, and another word that rhymes with Art. (It had to do with a bodily function that happens after eating beans.) I’ll let you presume what the word was. I remember laughing really hard at the sound of those two words coming of him. It was what I recall as the first joke I ever heard. It wasn’t really a joke but it was the first time I remember any of us using bad language.
Since that landmark there have been many a joke pass over these lips and through these ears attached to my head. Some a bit off color when I was younger; a guy, a bucket and something about Nantucket, but now just the occasional old lady joke or knock knock joke. Oh my do you remember those? My fist one was about a ma-dam getting her foot caught in the door. To me that was THE knock knock joke.
I wonder what cave men found funny. I like to think that the petroglyphs might be one guy telling another guy a joke. Just picture it, a drawing scratched on the wall of a cave of some type of animal and a stick figure of a man, translation; a guy goes into a bar with a duck…. I am not an anthropologist so I can derive anything I want from a petroglyph. That is where I am going today.
Of course it matters what our history tells us. But when there is really no clear cut answer to a question, like what do petroglyphs say. I like to use my own imagination to see, feel, smell and create my own scenario. Like making up my own jokes. Which I have done in the past with very little, okay absolutely no skill or success. Try as I might I cannot make up a joke. How do people do that? I can come up with a few zingers and comebacks during conversations and make people chuckle. I have been called witty and funny, yes other things too that I will not go into here. But as for doing a brand new joke from beginning to the end, first hand, off the cuff or after thinking about it for a year? No way. I admire those among us who create jokes. Hurray for you. I also admire anyone that can buy clothes without an “X” in the size! Hey is that a joke? Maybe huh? Could it be that I am related to that crusty old lady on the Hallmark cards.
A big hurdle in life is to be able to laugh at yourself. You know like when we all gracefully fall down. Your arms go one way while your legs go another followed by the uttering of air escaping from your mouth that sounds something like an Oompah Loompah doing that thing that rhymed with my neighbor Art’s name. Got it? After you gather yourself up and get your bearings, the first thing you do is look around to see who is staring at you. We all know this is not our finest hour. So the best thing to do is just laugh, pick up your broken bones and go on. After all, I tell myself when in those situations, “If they (whoever they are), if they are picking on me they are leaving someone else alone.”
It’s amazing how many people can remember the first joke they ever heard. So I leave you with this. Everyone knows what is black and white and red all over—hint, you are holding one in your hand-it’s a newspaper. But how many of you know what is red all over and eats rocks? Give up? Zip me an e-mail and I’ll tell you.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org