Pass It On

kylie is always bringing home these ridiculous little jokes that kids have said for generations. you know the ones…

jingle bells, batman smells, robin laid an egg…


i bet i can spell mississippi with one ‘i’ (eye)…


trick or treat, smell my feet…

It’s only a matter of time before someone tells her that ADIDAS stands for “All Day I Dream About Sex” and that ADIDAS backwards, SADIDA, is “Sex After Dinner is Definitely Alright”. (I’m assuming you’ve heard those, right?) Let’s hope that’s not for a few years…like, ten years…but it’s bound to happen soon. These jokes survive like Keith Richards. They’re more resilient than the flu.

Who carries these foolish things on from generation to generation? Surely it’s not us parents, is it? Though not every parent is a good parent, I think it’s safe to say that most parents aren’t teaching these antiquated (and sometimes dirty) jokes to their kids. Even bad parents don’t teach dirty jokes to their kids, right?

No, the problem, I think, is sibling hand-me-downs. You’ve got a sister in 5th grade who heard the jokes from her older brother, and now she is telling them to her younger brother, who is in 2nd grade. The second grader doesn’t really know what sex is, but it sounds funny, and his sister thinks it’s funny, so he repeats it to his classmates. A few years later, when one of the classmates he told is in 5th grade, that kid will share the joke with his 3rd grade sister, who will eventually share the joke with her younger sister, and the foolishness will live on.

Do I think this is a huge problem that must be stopped?* Of course not. It’s kind of amusing, actually. I love the look on Kylie’s face when she brings a joke home, only to find that I already know the punchline. “How did you know that?” she’ll say. “Because I invented ‘step on a crack and break your mother’s back’!” I’ll say.

*For the record, if you wanted to stop this chain from continuing on to eternity, all you’d need to is put a ban on couples reproducing for 8-10 years. That should provide enough of a gap for the jokes to die, as no self-respecting 16-year old is going to go through the trouble of teaching grade school jokes to their 6-yr old brother. But such a ban would probably have some other side effects on the economy and our culture as a whole, so I don’t think I’ll push for it.

The next time you drive by an elementary school, slow down a bit (i mean, slower than you were already driving because you were in a school zone of course). If you look really close you might see the ghosts of terrible jokes floating around the playground like ghouls in a graveyard. If you roll down your window you might even hear them. “What’s black and white and red all over?”

Just don’t stop and stare at the kids playing. That will probably get you arrested.