Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
Knock Knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana Who? (repeat this sequence three times, then…)
Knock Knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange ya glad I didn’t say “banana?”
It’s worth a few groans, at least. Now, let me share my 3-year-old’s version of the joke:
Knock Knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana Who? Orange ya glad I didn’t say “knock knock?”
Insert his contagious giggling, and you’ve got a pretty hilarious joke made all the funnier because it doesn’t make an ounce of sense. My little guy absorbed a joke, tried to make sense of it within the limited capacity afforded by his early development and experience, and then he issued it back out. His version ended up being funnier than the original (at least for me and the rest of our family) because it took a universal phenomenon (humour), stipped it down, and fed it back to us in a way that exposes the singularly goofy nature of humour. Really, why is the original joke funny anyway?
I don’t want to turn this into an analysis of humour. Several people have tried to reduce humour to a science and good for them, but I want no part of it. Funny isn’t funny when it is turned into a mathematical equation. Similar to the opinion I expressed in tongues, sometimes the deliciously messy things in life should be left messy.
But, without over-analyzing it, today I am thankful for humour. It’s a universal glue that binds together friends, family, communities, the world. If you think of the people who mean the most to you in life, I would guess that most or all of your memories of them — the things that remind you why they mean so much to you — have something to do with laughs shared.
When I am hurt, when I am sad, when I am lonely… let me remember the beautiful moments and the moments that brought me peace. But let me also remember the funny moments. Maybe they didn’t bring my life a great deal of meaning, but they certainly brought me a great deal of joy.