What Is Hard For Us

Knock knock. Who’s there? Interrupting Cow. Interrupti.. (MOO!).

This is the joke I was trying to teach my 86 year old Dad. His first language is a dialect of Mandarin. His English, though good, is still somewhat limited. Cultural references might as well come from Mars.

The lessons did not go well.

“Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side,” was slightly easier.   Not by much.

He got tired and asked if we can talk about something else.

I feel his pain.

When considering my VIA Character Strengths, humor is at the bottom, #24. Literally. I guess I know where I got it.

It’s not that I have no sense of humor. I just can’t tell a joke to save my life.  These two jokes are pretty much the only ones I know.   (Well, there’s one about a skunk in a blender, but that’s pretty gross). I laugh at other people’s stories and jokes.  Though if someone in the group that doesn’t get the joke, that person is likely to be me (or Dad, apparently).   I can be snarky and sarcastic to make people laugh.   I can do funny dances, especially when out in public or in front of their girlfriend, that make people moan and slap their head. That counts as humor, right?

I have to resist the urge to just give up on being funny. Aristotle (I think) said that we can improve any of our virtues, even the ones at the bottom. Just like I can work on my perseverance or temperance, I can also improve my humor.

So let me try again:

Yo mamma is so fat, when I swerved to avoid her in the street, I ran out of gas (Laugh of the day, jokefactory.com).


Maybe not.