What jokes not to tell

Of all the things I will teach my kids, one of the most important will be what jokes not to tell in school.

I was part of the not-so-in physics crowd; as such, I have an insight into what jokes not to tell. And I will drum this into their heads: do not tell surreal jokes.

An example: there used to be a joke making the round amongst the intelligentsia at my university, and it went like this:

Two polar bears were riding an iceberg. One turned to the other and said, 'radio.'

Get it? Get it? No, of course not. It's not funny, and it's not intended to be funny. It's intended to be a form of performance art. It's surreal.

The problem is, the people who tell it then look at you with a smug expression on their face, like they know that you know they are truly the most clever person in the world.

But you don't know that at all. In fact, you know the opposite: that they are geeks, and just told a stupid joke. They're not demonstrating their superior intellect. They're demonstrating that they have no clue how to interact. For they could never recognize that I understood the joke, that it was a surreal comment on humor.

I got it. I just didn't find it funny. And I didn't find them clever. Just pricks.

This is the lesson I will try to teach my kids: don't be a joke smartass. Stick to telling jokes that are funny. Don't try to bring it to a new level. The only one at that level is you. And everyone else is watching you, thinking you're a dork.

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