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  • Writer's pictureJorie Kramer

Humor Me

Thalia, my almost third-grade granddaughter, labored for several minutes to write a joke on the blackboard in my kitchen. She wanted all of the words spelled correctly and all of the lines to come out straight.

She did a great job. Here’s her joke and how she wrote it on the board:

Q: How do you make a tissue dance?

A: Put a little boogie in it.

Thalia, and her almost seventh-grade brother, Teddy, thought the joke hilarious. Mark and I laughed politely.

But, since we Olde Folks weren’t rolling on the floor, Thalia concluded we must not have understood what ‘put a little boogie in a tissue' meant and explained it thoroughly. I’ll spare you the details.

Since the kids were digging comedy at the moment, I got on the bandwagon without properly reading the room.

“I’ve got a joke,” I began. “If Barbie’s so popular…why do you have to buy her friends?”

Grandpa groaned and gave me a pity laugh. But, the grandkids cocked their heads and squinted at me, frowning.

“Nana,” Thalia admonished, “of course you have to buy them. What else would you do? Steal them?”

“That’s not funny,” Teddy agreed.

“Do you know what the expression ‘buying friends' means?” I asked.

“Uhhhh,” they answered.

I sensed the door opening for a teachable moment. Afterall, I reasoned, these are my grandchildren. They’re smart, sophisticated beyond their years, and always appreciative of lessons from their grandparents.

I launched into a lengthy, convoluted, explanation of what ‘buying friends’ meant.

At some point, Thalia excused herself, slipped her headphones on and disappeared into a sit-com about sibling superheroes.

Teddy, bless his heart, stayed with me. Such a clever boy! I was absolutely positive I could get him to laugh at the Barbie joke.

“So, you see,” I concluded, “if your mom wanted to buy you friends, she would bribe Logan to come over and hang out with you.”

“What would she bribe him with?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Money? So, you get why the joke’s funny, right? Barbie’s popular, but you still have to BUY her friends. It’s a double meaning thing, a double-entendre.”

Teddy gave me a sad little smile as he shook his head.

“Nana,” the middle school comedy expert advised, “jokes are never funny if you have to explain them.”

“I’ll try to remember,” I promised.


Check out my collection of personal essays, God, I’m a Jerk, on the Kindle Vella platform. I cover lots of territory about the awkward situations I’ve found myself in. The first three essays are always free. Dive in!

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1 Comment

Jane Hamburger
Jane Hamburger
Jun 15, 2023

Not such a jerk, Jorie! Never miss a chance to make yourself a mystical grandma that is full of wisdom to share!😎

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