Thursday, October 13, 2011

Clowns Juggling Eggs

    When Jane was quite young -- 4 or 5 years old -- she asked me whether I would like to hear a joke?

    I answered I would, then she said: "Daddy, how does a clown like his eggs?"

    I said I didn't know.


     I thought that was quite good, and as far as I've been able to determine (and I've been on an internet inquiry path for years), the joke in this form (i.e., this question/this punch line) was entirely and originally my daughter's.

     What I like most about Jane's joke is that it's "re-tellable" (even by me, who can't tell or remember jokes to save my life), that the punch line "punches" in terms of sound and sense, and that it's kind of surreal and skewed in a way that seems appropriate to the subject matter. 

     Jane long ago tired of being questioned by me about her creation and  she is far less impressed than I am by the invention and her own wit. She did explain, however, that the joke was based on an inferior variant she had been told by another child, which she carried around in her head for a while like a nagging headache.

     That joke went:

     "How does a clown his eggs?"

     "Upside down."

      Pretty flat, no?

     The pictures I've chosen here to illustrate this possibly "maximally" irrelevant anecdote do not show a clown juggling anything because, like many people, I find clowns creepy and I don't want disturbing clown images disfiguring these pages.

     When I've heard, as I have on several occasions, certain parents saying that their child chose to abandon traditional higher education in order to attend "clown college," I never know whether I'm awake or asleep and having a bad dream. 

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