Last night, while putting the Little Man to bed, I decided to teach him his first Knock-Knock joke. It was such an epic failure that all I can do is attempt to reproduce the transcript of what happened. I felt like I was in a Laurel and Hardy skit, only it was no skit. It was this:
Me: Okay, now let me tell you a joke. It’s called a knock-knock joke and you have to say some things.
Little Man: Okay, Daddy.
Me: I say “Knock-knock” and then you say, “Who’s there?” okay.
LM: (Looks at me, slightly confused.)
Me: Now you say, “Who’s there?”
LM: (Still looking confused.)
LM: (Staring at me)
Me: (Sotto voce): Who’s there? You say “Who’s there?””
Me: No, you say “Who’s there?”
Me: No, you just repeat what I am saying. Who’s there?
LM: (With sudden realization in his eyes): Who’s there, Mommy?
Me: No, buddy, you don’t tell me who’s there. You say who’s there. Wait. No. All you have to do is say “Who’s there” after I say knock-knock, okay?
Me: No, Mommy is sleeping. You don’t say Mommy, you say who’s there? Okay. Knock-knock.
Me: Why are you saying Daddy?
LM: Because you’re there. (Pointing).
Me: It’s not who is really there, buddy. It’s just part of a joke. I say knock-knock and you say who’s there.
Me: (Deep breath. Truthfully, I am no longer interested in the joke and just want to go back to my room.)
LM: Who’s there?
Me: Oh! Yes! Very good, buddy! Very good. Oh crap. Um, “Little Man!”
Me: No that’s part of the joke. I say knock-knock, then you say Who’s There, and then I say Little Man.
LM: I’m tired.
LM: Little Man!
Me: Eh-huh? No, you say “Who’s there.”
There was more, I think, but I blacked out at that point. The next thing I knew Kelly was wiping my face with a damp cloth.
And overnight, my ability to tell knock-knock jokes completely withered away.