I’ve always liked a good pun. In fact, the same goes for bad puns. I even like most of the offerings you get in Christmas crackers. Apart from that one about vampires with coughs and a typo for a punchline that somehow gets printed every year.
In my days as a journalist, I delighted in sneaking puns into the headlines of the various hobby magazines I worked on. Getting ‘Can You Fillet?’ into Boat Fishing Monthly and ‘A Nightmare to Elm Treat” in Woodturning rank as veritable career highlights.
However, recent events have tested this affection for witticisms to its very limits. My sons have started making up their own. And, to put it as diplomatically as I possibly can, they’re not quite there.
This may sound like a fairly harsh criticism, but I feel justified as they’re relentless with their attempts at jokes.
They absolutely bombard us with them and it’s exhausting. Particularly during the Easter holidays which seem to have gone on forever.
Both boys love words and wordplay. They have a good sense of humour too. But their efforts leave a little to be desired.
They obviously find them funny, but the thought processes behind them are so lateral at times that they don’t make immediate sense. And, as we all know, telling jokes is a serious business.
Aware of their desire to impress us and keen not to stifle their enthusiasm, we listen intently to each joke. We desperately try to think like they do in the hope of getting the odd one, but it’s so hard.
Of course, each pun is immediately followed by a silence and expectant smile. Then comes the slightly exasperated repetition of the phrase “get it?” and the frustrated explanation as to why it was funny.
We don’t get most of them, of course, and this only serves to feed the innate belief all children seem to have that their parents are a bit thick.
Then comes the most challenging bit. Feigning laughter. We have to get this just right. They’re good at detecting a fake laugh, it seems. Inconsistent.
They’re both very funny little lads. I’m strangely proud of how good they are at taking the piss – even though it’s mostly out of me.
Puns just aren’t their forte yet. They’ll get there eventually but, for now, the only danger to my sides is thanks to the toddler.
She’s rubbish at telling jokes too, but still gets in our bed every night and kicks the shit out of me.
And that’s not funny either.