The laughter in a Joke

Jamie - Lake Oswego, Oregon
Entered on January 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Coming home and being greeted by my father was always a nuisance to me, knowing that he would start off his conversations by telling me a joke. He usually would ask me a stupid joke, like, “how many dogs does it take to chase a cat?” I replied 9 because cats had nine lives. Then he would laugh as if he had made one of the best jokes of all time, however he didn’t fool me at all. He seemed to be a Hard Ass, especially when it came to schoolwork, getting into a good college and making a good living. After making only himself laugh at his annoying joke he would interrogate me on how my day went, how I like my classes and about my grades as if they were the only thing that were important to him. I always told him school was fine and that my classes were good and that all was well. This became a regular routine throughout the good years in high school. Then one day my dad asked me the same old question and I replied the same old answers until he withdrew a sheet of paper from his pocket, it was a notice from Mrs. W that revealed my grade.

I denied these false accusations that read across the smooth strokes on the white sheet of paper and told him that this was just a misunderstanding. He informed me that he had called my English teacher, and that I had a C in the class. He asked me if it was true and all I could say was that it was a hard class. Knowing my dad well enough he didn’t respond to that answer quite so gently and said that we were going to see Mrs. W first thing tomorrow morning, hoping we could figure out why I was doing so poorly in her English class.

The next morning was a rude awakening when my dad dragged me out of bed, threw me into the car as I continually dozed off until we had reached the High School. When we had arrived to the dark creepy room of Mrs. W that had a certain stench to it that smelt as if it tasted like moldy water, if there is such a thing. Anyways as we waited for her to come back from her English meeting I began to wonder where I would be in five years from now. I pictured myself sitting at home, watching T.V. and playing a little bit of guitar hero on expert, but then Mrs. W finally arrived.

Mrs. W seemed to glare at me as she sat down at her desk holding a mug of coffee looking at her penmanship that read across the report card. After a few moments of silence my dad began to talk to her as if she was one of the most intelligent people that he had ever met. He seemed to be kind of nervous when he looked into her eyes, as if he was the one with the bad grade and not having a clue as to what was going on in that class. Then out of nowhere my dad surprised me. He had finally done the unthinkable. He had told my English teacher an English joke! I felt so humiliated and stupid as if she said no wonder you’re not intelligent your dad’s as dumb as a doorknob. However after this embarrassing moment for me everything began to change.

At that moment in time I had realized that he was one of those dads who would always look at the bright side of a sticky situation. That even though his jokes might be stupid, annoying and not funny he always looked at every situation with a sense of not being so serious. He had the courage to face bad problems and make them become great successes.

From that day on I started to take more interest in our daily greeting and would let him know about all my problems. I could have taken about 1 million classes on learning about the wisdom he has given me over the good years and still not have gotten the same insight. As I looked forward to one of his funny jokes from school one day I had realized that I had accepted my dad for what he loved to do and not what he cared about. I believe that my dad is a joker and that the only way to solve any type of problem is in the laughter in a joke.