Hilton Head Monthly — I should first make clear that the two 6-year-olds in the backseat are totally on a sugar high, having recently enjoyed a five-hour “Polar Express” event at the Savannah Roundhouse Museum that featured hot chocolate, icing-loaded cookies and other substances that cause flash floods of cellular-level disobedience to go coursing through the circulatory systems of the average first-grader.
But the fact is that we have been arguing for like 10 minutes about why the word “orange” is required to make the knock-knock joke “Orange you glad you’re not a banana” funny. It’s the most ridiculous argument ever, mostly because I’m right, and yet I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a desolate street in a 1954 pod-people movie screaming “WHY WON’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?”
(If you do not know this joke, here’s how it goes: Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Right. My son is now substituting “apple” and “raspberry” and “turkey,” for some reason.)
If you’ve ever spent time around 6-year-olds with recent access to tubs full of sprinkles, you know what I mean when I say: Children of a certain age bracket — the one my son is in — temporarily subscribe to an especially twisted form of comedy, a shapeless, Andy Kaufman-like system of setups, punchlines and lengthy improvs that bears zero resemblance to any other humor structure on Earth. Yeah — even British. Allow me to demonstrate.
The boy: “Knock knock.”
Me: “Who’s there?”
The boy: “Chicken.”
Me: “Chicken who?”
The boy: “Chicken who ran up the bridge and jumped off of it and got wet when he hit the DUCK IN THE HEAD (15 seconds of hysterical, respiration-threatening laughter).”