Saturday, January 13, 2007

Two Memories

I was looking down at the Pie today as she stood by the kitchen cupboards, the countertop looming overhead, and I remembered how my mother used to tower over me when I was a small child. I was always impressed by her height, and admiring of the power it conferred, but I never envied her – I knew, even then, that I preferred my own trim, compact body, with its childlike solidity and breadth. As I prefer the Pie’s, now – it is round, and strong, and she wields it with a kind of careless confidence as if she, too, understands how perfect she is.


As I was plucking an eyelash out of my eye the other night, I suddenly remembered my first attempt to tell a joke. I would have been about four years old: too young to have friends of my own, but old enough to be left at a birthday party and picked up an hour or two later.

I was a shy little girl, so I clung to the birthday-girl’s mother in the kitchen while the other children were, presumably, playing happily elsewhere. By way of conversation, I thought I would pass along this funny joke:

A: I’ve got something in my eye.
B: What is it?
A: My eyeball!

In retrospect, I’m proud of my debut joke-selection – it was short, easy-to-remember, and far more amusing than the various knock-knock jokes that became a staple of my elementary-school years. So I launched into my joke, looking up at Mrs. W. and saying gravely, "I’ve got something in my eye."

"Oh dear!" she murmured sympathetically. "That’s uncomfortable isn’t it?"

I paused, startled by this break from the expected script and vaguely uncomfortable with having solicited sympathy I wasn’t entitled to. "It’s my EYEBALL!" I blurted out, and then fled.


T. said...


This is sort of how I feel every week when I publish the pun of the week.

A little misunderstood, and a whole lot mortified.

But I keep doing it anyways. (Cuz I'm a geek that way...)

Love that photo. Breathtaking!

(And I finally got around to blogrolling you-should have done it a long time ago, because I love you so...)

nomotherearth said...

The Boy is always lifting up his shirt and showing off his belly to complete strangers. I think he believes it to be intimidating.

I would never show off my belly in public...ahh, youth!

ewe are here said...

Little kids and jokes can be the cutest thing! My friend's little boy liked to tell knock knock jokes when he was 4. Sort of. Went something like:

Boy: Knock knock.

Adult: Who's there.

Boy: laughs like this is the funniest joke ever! and then says knock knock again.

And nomotherearth: MF really likes to show off his belly, too!

Iris said...

I am de-lurking, one post like me......always late to the party.

I was pointed here by Momish. I like your story, and could your Pie be any cuter????

Swing by my place and check me out too.

Kristen said...

How cute. I think four-year-old you and four-year-old me were pretty similar, actually.

Sara said...

Awww, she's a cutie and I really like what you did with the photo there. Gotta remember that...

Happy De-Lurking week!!

Beck said...

My jokes still tend to go over like that.
I don't remember feeling the same comfort in my childhood body, but I love my children's comfort in their own skin. It's funny - I can remember looking waaay up at my mom, and I tower over her now!

cinnamon gurl said...

Hee hee... the strangest thing is that I actually have an eyelash or something else, other than my eyeball, in my eye. I noticed just as I started to read your post.

I've never been very good at telling jokes... I don't realize that I've forgotten the punchline until I'm partway in, or I tell the punchline as part of the setup... These days any humour that comes from me is usually of the self-deprecating variety.

PeanutButtersMum said...

Too funny! Peanut Butter is heavily into the Knock Knock jokes these days. His make absolutely NO sense, but he giggles heartily every time he tells one. Thanks for reminding me!

Tara said...

I think that was a pretty good joke for a four year old! Hope you weren't scarred for life. How goes your joke telling these days?

DaniGirl said...

That's a gorgeous picture!

Your joke anecdote reminds me of a story. I was maybe nine years old, and in the local McDonalds, there was a "make me laugh" contest set up. A McDonalds employee sat in a chair and you performed your best schtick to try to make him laugh. I imagine if you were successful, you won a free fries or a free shake or something.

I liked the idea in theory, and told my folks I wanted to try. My dad convinced me that rather than whatever joke I was currently favouring, I should go up and do a little dance and sing "Dah dum dah dum dum dum, Ray Kroc is dead."

(Ray Kroc expanded McDonalds from a couple of hamburger joints to the brand as it is known today.)

I didn't exactly get the joke, but I was a relentless Daddy's girl and I wanted to please him. So I patiently waited my turn, becoming more and more intimidated by the stone face of what was in retrospect probably a 17 year old geek, but who seemed to my nine-year-old self an intimidating adult.

Finally, it was my turn, and I stepped up in front of his 'throne' and sang my little ditty. No sooner was the last word out of my mouth than I burst into tears and ran back to my family, humiliated and disconsolate. To this day, I wonder whether he even knew who Ray Kroc was, and what he must have thought.

NoodleMonkey said...

The Noodle's favorite new joke:
Q: What kind of flower grows between your nose and your chin?
A: A Tulip!

Thank goodness this one actually makes sense. I've started to cringe inwardly when she goes into stand-up comedian mode. Example:
Q: Momma, what if an egg were a dog? Get it, Mamma?! A egg dog? An egg dog? Get it?

...Um, no, I don't. But I laugh anyway. I've also tried to explain that what makes the tulip joke funny is the play-on-words. A concept that she is too young to understand, but I am desperate for her to learn.

Mommy-Like Days said...

How did you do that picture of Pie? It's very cute and yellow. I have a vague memory of telling a joke late in life (teens) to my family which involved the word "condom". Why didn't I realize how mortifying it would be till after the fact? It was a really funny joke, though.

bubandpie said...

It's Picasa - focal black and white. You can choose where to put the colour, how big a circle, and how sharp you want the distinction. I should probably have softened the edges a bit there, because you can see how the petals lose their yellow at the tips.

Pieces said...

Snicker. I have deflated my kids like that--unintentionally, of course. Then I have to backtrack and ask them to start again. Now they introduce the joke first. "Mom, after I say the first part, you say _____."

jen said...

that picture is incredible. and your reflecting on your shy yet powerful wit was quite lovely.

SoFastAway said...

I know I missed de-lurking week, but I did want to say hello and ask an important question:

Have you ever read the BETSY-TACY books by Maud Hart Lovelace? Because if not, you MUST. That is to say, of course, that I suspect you might enjoy them. :)

In any case, I wanted to say that this is my first visit tonight and I'm already loving you. Those children are lovely!

Blessings to you, and please stop by and visit me if you ever have a minute!



bubandpie said...

Sofastaway - Wow, this brings my de-lurking total up to 11! The Betsy-Tacy books were often warmly recommended in my days on the Kindred Spirits email list (for L.M. Montgomery fans), but I've never actually seen one in real life. Maybe it's time to stop waiting for serendipity and actually order one...

penelopeto said...

first off, that picture is seriously edible.

one of my earliest jokes went something like this:

wanna hear a dirty joke?

the horse fell in the mud.

i didn't get it, but i kept telling it.

SoFastAway said...

That's so funny, because I feel the exact same way about the DE Stevenson books---I've always wanted to read them but have never been so lucky as to actually lay hands on one.

In any case, the B-T books are well worth any special effort, in my opinion. Especially beginning with HEAVEN TO BETSY. :)



bubandpie said...

SFA - Oooh, D.E. Stevenson is SO worth the effort! The first one I ever read was The Young Clementina, which I still live, though it's a bit different from some of her other books (a bit more gothic). Other good ones are Sarah Morris Remembers, Miss Buncle's Book, and Listening Valley.

Kyla said...

BubTar's current joke is:

BubTar: Why did the sock corss the road?

Me: Why?

BubTar: Because it had a chicken WAITING in it!

When asked to explain it, he speaks very slowly, like perhaps we're not so bright, and repeats: Beacuse. It. Had. A. Chi-cken. Waaaaaiting. In. It!

I still don't get it. :) But I usually ask "Is it time to laugh now?" and he will say "Yes." and then I laugh my heart out anyway.

Lawyer Mama said...

Absolutely adorable picture!

Here's my guy's latest joke -

Hollis: knock knock
Me: Who's there
Hollis: Howwis! (hysterical laughter)

Sandra said...

I love the photo and your memories ... and I just used that joke on my son and he declares it a winner too!

I haven't been on blogs for so long ... I've missed your words.

Mimi said...

I suppose, though, it would've been worse if you had greeted your audience-malfunction with a Michael-Richards style rant, don't you think? ;-)

I joke all the time when I'm lecturing. I feel bad for my captive audience of undergrads. And they seem to feel bad for me, what with my very poor sense of humour, and all.

wordgirl said...

Reminds me of the knock knock jokes my 4 and 5 year old sons kept telling in the labor room before I had their little brother. Over and over went the punchline.."dwain the tub I'm dwowning". It's funnier now than it was then.

Karianna said...

Oh, that photo is fabulous!
And your joke is funny.

Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie said...

1) Which is better – Harry Potter
2) Who would you be more likely to be attracted to: the nice guy
3) If you’re a mom, how do you tend to greet your children’s milestones: with a nostalgic "What happened to my baby?" or an exultant "Yeah! Bring it on!" - BOTH - I find some things to be very exciting and happy (first words, seeing them have their own opinions and imagination) but some things are just too sad when they come upon us (I am already crying over my first baby going to kindergarten next fall. It's just not exciting to me, I'm afraid of what will change in our little world)
4) What are the biggest "don'ts" when it comes to helping a first-time mom? Don't lecture, don't thing everyone has to do things your way, don't tell - just listen!
5) What, if anything, would you like to ask me? I don't know!