Monday, April 14, 2008

Why every good story needs a punchline

So I was at the CVS pharmarcy on Friday evening (a rip-roaring good time, and highly recommended), waiting for my prescription for eye de-nastifier, and looking for something to help while away about fifteen minutes. I looked to the magazine rack in front of me and scanned over the Peoples, the Us Weeklys, the Home & Gardens, until my eye landed on a bright orange booklet, titled Knock Knock Jokes for Kids. Ahh, I thought. This will be amusing. But, is it me, or have knock knock jokes changed since we were kids? Are they less funny? Or is it that they're a bit more...obscure?

Knock knock jokes that left me scratching my head in bewilderment:

-Knock knock.
(You know the drill).
Gorilla.
Gorilla who?
Gorilla your dreams.

Wait...Gorilla...your dreams? The fuck?

I think perhaps they have the wrong animal. Gopher. Gopher your dreams, now that makes sense, right? But, gorilla? I want to know who's responsible for editing this piece of shit.

-Knock knock.
etc.
Rudolph.
Rudolph who?
Rudolph the Fresno reindeer.

This one...I have no explanation for this one. I've been turning it over in my head every which way, and I've still got nothing. Who is this Fresno reindeer knocking at the door? And why won't anyone let him in? Maybe it's a West Coast thing. Are there any Californians out there who can explain this to me?

After becoming thoroughly disgusted with what passes for children's entertainment these days, I waited in line to pay for my now ready prescription. I must have inhaled a piece of dust, or asbestos or something, because something tickled in my throat, and I gave a half-hearted cough. The man behind me in line jumped on this like a cheetah on an injured gazelle, saying, heartily, "So, what are you in for?" in this tone of imagined solidarity, a sort of we're all in this together brand of false kinship.

My first thought was, "Did that line sound suave and cool when you heard it in your head? And did it suddenly turn very creepy and all kinds of wrong when it came out of your mouth? Because I am waiting in line at the pharmacy for my prescription, my private, confidential prescription, and there are so many possible answers to your question, and none of them are good. What if I had diarrhea, huh? Or a yeast infection? Or fucking staph infection of the eye? And I know I'm looking cute and vulnerable right now with my sad, Bambi-like dilated pupils, but I just heard you give your birthdate of 1962, which makes you at least 15 years too old for me, sir, so let's not get all chummy and conspiratorial over the sordid details of our respective medical histories."

And though I replied with something along the lines of a mumbled, "Not much," and went back to studiously inspecting my fingernails, now I know what I should have said. "Gonorrhea." Ba dum bum.

Now there's a punchline that's funny every time. Children's book editors take note.

Have a great day, everyone. Work hard, do a good deed, tell someone you love them, and most of all, don't forget to get out there and gorilla your dreams.

10 comments:

  1. "Girl of your dreams." Get it? (Oy, young people today!)

    M.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Knock, Knock.
    Who's there?
    Banana.
    Banana who?

    Knock, Knock.
    Who's there?
    Banana.
    Banana who?

    Knock, Knock.
    Who's there?
    Banana.
    Banana who?

    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?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1962 is 15 years too old. so 1977 is the limit of not being too old. which means that you'll date a guy who is 30, max? isnt that a slightly tight age bracket for someone so full of lament about her choices and dating success (and also someone who requires men to be at least two meters tall).

    I have remained open to dating 20 year old women to keep the possibilities of true love and romance alive in my life, even though I'm 17 years older. See how open-minded I am?

    just saying.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grumpy- Truly, you are a model citizen and an inspiration to us all.

    M- Really?

    Hank- I have obviously opened Pandora's box and now all the bad knock knock jokes in the world are flying out. No good can come of it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. R--

    Yes, really.

    Notwithstanding your stated opinions as to age, I regret having to inform you that this was not a funny joke when I -- uh, when my grandparents were young. OK, OK, we told these same jokes 20years before your expiration date for socially acceptable companionship. Can I just die now? :)

    M.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmm...The "classic-ness" of the joke notwithstanding, I stand by my conclusion that "gopher" makes for a much funnier punchline than "gorilla." Am I alone here?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used the revised version with 'gopher' on my kids this morning- It was a hit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree. "Gopher" is clearly funnier. Did you know that, in Hollywood, there are people whose entire jobs are to "punch-up" scripts, making them (theoretically) funnier or better-paced? You could totally get a job like that for knock-knock jokes.

    ReplyDelete
  9. maybe that guy was getting his social anxiety meds and now he has seen this and is collapsed on his bathroom floor in a fetal position. cruel cruel rach.

    ReplyDelete