They say that the worst adult/child combination is that of teenage girl and middle-aged woman. There’s just something about one female learning to deal with PMS while another deals with menopause that has been compared to two hurricanes meeting each other across some poor, unfortunate isthmus. There will be plenty of salt water, lots of screaming, and the few wretched, traumatized survivors huddling together in the wreckage. And I guess I can see how that would be fairly awful. For the other people, I mean.
But as far as I’m concerned the very worst adult/child combination is that of preteen boy and elderly man—or at least it is as far as my ears are concerned. I don’t know which is worse: someone who shouts out the punchlines to their own jokes because they are hard of hearing or someone who shouts out the punchlines because they actually think they sound funnier that way, but the end result is the same—there’s a lot of (not very funny) shouting going on.
Look, I never claimed to be an expert on humor, but I do know this: if you have to tell someone your joke is funny, then it probably isn’t. And if you have to shout at someone that your joke is funny, then it definitely isn’t. This means that if your joke didn’t get the reaction you were hoping for the first time you told it, telling it again at a higher volume is not going to make it any funnier. Yes, there are comedians who use shouting in their stand-up routines, but trust me: you’re not one of them. You’re not one of them at all.
Although, then again, what do I know? Twelve-year-old boys are definitely not my target audience, so maybe I am completely wrong about the “louder not being funnier” thing. Maybe, on the twelve-year-old stand-up comedy circuit, louder is way funnier. Judging from the volume they crank each other up to when they are left to their own devices, this certainly seems to be the case. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to attend a show on the twelve-year-old stand-up comedy circuit.
That’s a show I would not only not pay to see, but would actually pay not to see.
Unfortunately, however, I don’t seem to have a choice, since the fact is that twelve-year-old boys tend to hang out with other twelve-year-old boys, and therefore my twelve-year-old attracts other twelve-year-olds to his side like—well, I would say “like moths to a flame,” but considering the subject matter I’m going to go with “like flies to a dunghill.” In other words, there are a lot of twelve-year-old boys hanging around my house. Which means that the volume of shouted “jokes” coming out of the living room can reach levels unprecedented among a group of non-beer-drinking, game-watching males.
In fact, the only time I have ever seen anything even approaching that volume is when I see elderly men trying to to get you to laugh at the punchline of one of their jokes involving either Obama or Hillary—oftentimes both. That’s one of the only ways you can tell an old man’s joke from a young man’s joke, by the way: the political content. That, and the fact that the twelve-year-old’s doesn’t end in a hacking smoker’s cough. Hopefully. Because you certainly can’t tell them apart based on the volume at which they are told. The only thing that could possibly be louder is a jet engine wielding a leaf blower.
Or maybe the sound of those two hurricanes meeting up in the kitchen to argue over who sent who the most condescending text. Yeah, I’ll admit, that was kind of a loud one.
Suddenly I’m beginning to understand why my husband likes to spend so much time in the bathroom.