Friday, September 12, 2008

Anything For A Laugh

There's nothing better than hearing your kids laugh. It's quite simply the personification of joy. It's fun to hear anyone laugh but I'll do just about anything I can to get my kids to laugh. Unfortunately, they don't seem to find this blog all that funny. Could be the fact they're illiterate (dark family secret so don't go blabbing about it). They're just not real big on jokes yet. Actually, the older one's getting there. I'd forgotten how funny "why did the chicken cross the road" actually is. Anyways, that pretty much just leaves physical humour for me to use. The big problem with physical comedy is that people don't believe you when you actually get hurt. Kind of frustrating to be rolling around on the floor in pain while everyone in the room is just laughing at you. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

It's not hard for me to trace back where my ideas of what entertains kids comes from. My Dad stopped at nothing to entertain us kids. If he thought he could get a chuckle then he'd do it. I vividly remember we were playing tag in the house one evening when I was about eight or nine. Nothing like having the kids run around the house for an hour to get them good and ready for bedtime. So I came running around the corner and down the hallway. Dad was hiding in my room, which had a door that faced the top of the staircase leading to the ground floor. I run past and he jumped out of the room to try and "catch" me. Of course, he missed and dove headfirst down the stairs. My eyes went wide as I laughed at what I thought was the coolest thing ever. My mom's eyes went wide as she read my mind and immediately said, "Don't even think about it". For some reason she figured I would wind up more injured than Dad who had a bit of a carpet burn on his forearms from stopping himself on the stairs. Guess we'll never know.

As far as injuries go, the carpet burn was pretty minor. The most serious one he got while playing with us was probably the time he tore the cartilage in his knee. He turned when one of us called to him but his leg didn't cooperate. My sister and I found it pretty funny at the time. The knee surgery and time spent in the hospital, not quite as much. "Ok, when you fell down it was funny but I just don't get this joke. You can get out of that hospital bed because I don't think I'm going to laugh." In addition to the torn cartilage I think his entertainment injury list includes cuts and bruises, some cracked ribs, chipped teeth, numerous bloody noses, and of course numerous shots to the groin. I'm sure he could give a more complete list but that's the ones I remember. Having seen all that and witnessing him hurl himself down a flight of stairs for our amusement, what kind of parent would I be if I didn't?

That brings me to a couple days ago. The girls decided to go downstairs and bring along a blanket. I was trying to convince them to stay upstairs and jokingly grabbed onto the blanket. The inevitable happened and that led to them standing on the landing of the staircase competing against me in a tug of war. Of course they won and I was "pulled" down half a dozen stairs or so to where they were. They laughed so hard. They laughed just as hard every time I did it. For fifteen minutes they pulled me down the stairs and laughed as I crashed in front of them. I imagine when my wife reads this she's going to want to have a little talk with me.

To speed things up I'll just give my rebuttal here. "I know we keep telling them not to play on the stairs because it's dangerous but in my defense it was very, very funny." Check and mate.

The stair game was just one in a long line of times I've fallen down or pretended to hurt myself in order to make them laugh. That backfired today though. The little one was walking around in the kitchen with a ceramic onion soup bowl. It had been on the floor with water in it for the dog because his normal dish was in the dishwasher. Of course, she dumped the water on the floor so I cleaned it up with a towel. That's when she dropped the bowl. She dropped it right on my pinkie toe, pointy little handle first. I immediately drop to the ground. As my now purple toe throbs and swells the kids are beside themselves laughing. They're on the verge of wetting themselves and my wife is laughing just as hard as they are. I expect it from the kids but her too? Eventually, she regained her composure and tried to tell them I was actually hurt. And what does the older one say?

"If he moved he wouldn't have gotten hurt." Traitor.

So now I'm the Dad who cried wolf. I can't get hurt or fall down without everyone immediately thinking it's a joke. Can't say I'm that bothered by it though. It's always great to hear them laugh. I figure we're all going to have our bodies break down as we get older so an injury here and there in exchange for some laughter is worth it. And hopefully when they're older they'll remember me being able to take a fall or dive down some stairs. Instead of as the fat bald middle aged guy who embarrasses them every time I pick them up from high school in my slippers and a robe full of holes. Yeah, their teen years will be very special.


Anonymous said...


Erin said...

Oh come on! You took a dive like a pro soccer player! Its hard not to laugh when you drop, tuch and ROLL!!!!!

But I did feel a little bad when it got all bruised and what not. But your daughter was right. You should have moved!