Saturday, October 18, 2008

Every Child's Nightmare: A True and Tragic Tale Part II

By way of update: It's not me. It's him.

As you know, I am going through a healing process right now in which I'm learning to come to grips with the fact that this 10 year old despises me like the desert hates the rain (that was so poetic of me! I get really artistic when I'm hurting). But what you may not know is that I now have a witness to the abuse.

While consulting a dear friend of mine at law school about my situation after seeing her all but adopt her assigned 5th grader, I was told "I'm sure he doesn't hate you. Maybe you should just tell him a funny joke." I told her I tried that and got blank stares so she asked me what the joke was and I got the same reaction from her; it turns out that just because my 5-year-old niece just about got a hernia when I told her the joke a few weeks ago, I can't assume that a 10-year-old who has at least twice the reasoning ability is going to wet his pants over the same joke. I should have known that Kaylee was not a good test subject because right after I told her my joke and she laughed like a menopausal woman in the audience of "Ellen", she told me a joke that went something like this: "How many shapes are lights? . . . A LOT of colors!!!" She then laughed at her own joke at least as hard as she laughed at mine. At the time I thought that maybe I just didn't get it but now that I think about it, she may not be at the point yet where she understands the simple schematics of the common question/answer joke, the humor of which relies on some sort of organizational clarity or play on words.

So my friend Corey told me a joke, that was guaranteed to "kill", about a duck that visits the same store every day to ask for duck food. In the joke, the store-keeper tells the duck every day that they don't have duck food and finally threatens the duck that if he comes back again he'll "nail the ducks feet to the floor." The next day the duck comes back in and says, "do you have any nails?" The store-keeper responds, "no." So the duck says, "ok. Do you have any duck food?" Kills! Really. You're laughing.

Just after she told me the joke my 5th grader entered the room and plopped down in a chair, completely ignoring me when I said "hello." Corey gave me an encouraging look so I said "do you want to hear a joke?" He said, while rolling his eyes as if I just asked him to help me move and I hadn't even begun to pack when he showed up, "fine."

"So a duck walks into a store-"

"I've heard it!" (another roll of the eyes. For this I finally award child X the long overdue Tellin' It Like It Is Award).

I looked back to Corey whose eyes were wide, and she mouthed, as if she finally understood, "I'm so sorry. He really does hate you."

Corey, trying to help, said "maybe it's a different joke. How does yours' go?" He then said, "I don't remember." End of convo.

How am I going to make it every Tuesday until April? Maybe I should try Kaylee's joke on him . . . "A lot of colors." I think I almost get it.

PS- Uncle Will, I tried to tell him the Brown Chicken/Brown Cow joke (which is impossible to explain in print) but it didn't work. I think that may have been my fault though.

It Just Gets Stranger~


  1. I LOVE the Brown Chicken Brown Cow joke, I think it's hilarious! I also laughed out loud at the duck joke... What is wrong with that kid how could he not love spending time with you??

  2. Eli - you should roll your eyes right back at him!!!! Or you could make a sticker chart and tell him that every time he is good, you'll give him a sticker! Or you could do what Dad does......."RRRRRRR! Thats what I heard!" That got a laugh out of Muggy! And Kaylee (the unreliable source) has me tell her that story about 16 times a day, and then she laughs her head off!!! Or you could tell him to grow up! Good luck - keep us all posted!

  3. In all seriousness, I'm willing to bet the farm I don't have that there really probably is a true and tragic tale to this child's life and he's only there because someone is making him be there. But, I already know you know there are ways to get through to stubborn little souls...and when you do, you make a profound difference in their life. We've learned a few tricks of the trade over the past year or so for breaking the ice and getting through to stubborn, hurting kids. We'd be happy to share.

    Hopefully we'll have some time later tonight or tomorrow to put together a list of questions and such. We'll get them to you ASAP.

  4. Man, thats tough... maybe you should just smack him around and ask him what his problem is... kidding. I wish I knew how to console you... for what its worth, I think you're one of the funniest people I know :)

  5. Kaylee called to tell me another joke last night that she made up:

    "How did the lightbulb get inside the fish?"

    "I don't know, how?"

    "He ate it of course!!!"

    I laughed pretty hard

  6. Maybe you should pretend to hate him. You know...kinda like a reverse psychology thing. And then he'll be like "What the heck?" and try to get you to like him again. But don't give in!! JK

  7. I have no advice. But I hope it gets better!

  8. The duck joke made me laugh, too.
    Oh well. April will be here before you know it. Brown chicken, brown cow!"