Monday, February 7, 2011

When Gags (and Gaga) Run Out of Control

If you've been around here a while, you know that I'm a big fan of the running gag. As an example, you could go back to my mutant wombat phase--I think I must have referenced mutant wombats at least once a week for a couple of months there, and to me it just got more and more ridiculous every time I did it. Of course, it's also possible to overrun a gag, as evidenced by my first set of edits in which my lovely editor said, "Yes, this was funny the first three times you said it. Now, not so much."

My son has inherited my running gaggy tendencies. For a while there, every joke involved butts. Now that, you might say, is pretty typical for an elementary school kid, and you'd be right. Eventually, we got sick of the butt jokes and told him to find something else to joke about. His selection? Grandmas. Every joke involved grandmas, as in: "Knock knock! Who's there? Grandma! Grandma who? Grandma head!" And then he'd laugh uproariously. Or he'd sing "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga, using only the word grandma: "Grand-ma-ah-ah-ah! Grandma-ah-ah-ah!"

It was, admittedly, pretty funny the first time he did it. The sixtieth? Not so much.

So we got sick of the grandma jokes and told him once again to find something else to joke about. And they'd been talking about continents at school. So he decided to joke about Africa.

At first, he did a lot of African Lady Gaga renditions, and that wasn't a problem. But then, we were at the grocery store, and one of his sisters wasn't listening, and I'd just given her a stern talking to for running around in circles and screaming while I was desperately trying to find the chick peas. And then he says, "You're so stupid! What are you, from Africa?"

Color me embarrassed.

So then we had to sit down right in the middle of the aisle and talk about how some people are of African descent and how did he think that would make them feel and so on. And the whole time I'm looking up and down the aisle and PRAYING that no one heard that.

The whole thing made me think. And I probably owe all you mutant wombatians an apology too. I promise not to sing about you to the tune of Lady Gaga anymore.


Emily White said...

Oh no! Kids do have a knack for unintentionally humiliating their parents. When I was five or six, my mom and I happened to be standing in line behind a very black man. And me not really having much experience with that asked, "Mom? Is that what happens when you eat too much chocolate?"

She turned beet red and the man ended up laughing. Ah, kids.

But running a gag to death?! Impossible! They only get funnier the MORE you do them! Right? Right?! :P

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

My son does that too....usually it is with a tiny snippet of a song stuck on repeat because that is the only part he knows, or something. Which eventually leads to me yelling "SING THE WHOLE SONG, OR SING SOMETHING ELSE!!!"

As for embarrassing, that is what they do when they are young, to cause us to embarrass them when they are teenagers. As I told my daughter, it is my responsibility as your mother to embarrass you. Paybacks. : )

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can sympathize! The only time, so far, my daughter, who is 4, made this kind of remark, it was in the privacy of our own home and afforded a wonderful teaching moment, but I wasn't worried anyone would hear and be offended.

She recently learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

She is also very imaginative and sometimes the things she learns come out garbled.

Her prior day care center, where she still sometimes goes for back up, is very diverse and her best friend is black.

We have been discussing and repeatedly discussing and discussing some more those stories out of the stomach-clenching fear that she's going to say something horribly offensive which she doesn't really mean at her old day care. Actually, we're now a little bit like your son with not-Gaga lyrics on repeat. Only with the MLK and Rosa Parks stories.

Hanna Banana said...

I guess I am lucky. The worst thing one of my children said in public was to this really sweet old lady. My oldest, then 7, looked at her and said, "Wow, you're really old. Are you going to die soon?"

Carrie Harris said...

Hey, at least we're not alone! These stories have been cracking me up. :)

Marsha Sigman said...

I can't remember anything my son said that was embarrasing when he was little...hmmm.

But I did get called to his Pre-K school because he chased another kid around the playground and pee'd on his shoes when the kid finally fell down.

I blame his father.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Kids really do have a knack for making their parents want to hide in a closet and bury themselves under a pile of clothes...or groceries or something.

When I was younger, probably 4 or 5, I used to enjoy pointing out the obvious, but in an embarrassing way. For example, I'd see a woman with a couple of extra pounds on her and loudly exclaim, "mommy, that lady is fat." This caused my mom to apologize profusely, while wanting to duct tape my mouth shut.

Now that I'm older, she has paid me back with more than enough embarrassing mom moments. So give it time, you'll be able to repay the embarrassment and at least it was a learning experience, for the both of you :D

Abby Minard said...

Yes, I also like the whispering loudly thing they tend to do. She thinks she's whispering, but everyone can still hear her.

Competitions said...

Thank you for sharing it,though i wasn't interested into it but your post is awesome.

Suzanne said...

Jeeeezzz... been there. I feel your pain.

And speaking of grandmas, here's my favorite "your grandma's so old..." joke:

Your grandma's so old, the key on Ben Franklin's kite was to her apartment.