Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thanks Chuck

Establishing and keeping connections with people is a full time job. It is difficult and not something that I am remotely good at with anyone. People I work with, friends and even family... Family is what I care about the most, but I still find it hard to connect to them.

My son Calvin is ten and becoming a man. I am always trying to find ways that we can be together and bridge that gap that is between us, but even the best plans don't always work out.

Luckily, I am an opportunist.

Calvin has his own unique sense of humor, but as Steve Martin said, "Comedy is not Pretty." In the wrong place with the wrong audience, and you can get in quite a bit of trouble with your best punch line. Timing is everything.

Recently, I was waiting to take Calvin out to dinner after his play practice. I am just standing there taking up room in the hallway while he is waiting in line to change his clothes. I hear him say to his theater instructor, "You know Jesus is the son of God, but God is the son of Chuck Norris."

I was furious! First of all, he has been told to not try out his new material with anyone but me. Plus, he has already gotten in trouble for trying to be funny by talking about religion to his theater instructor. Jokes about religion are hurtful and make people angry.

What surprised me the most was his Chuck Norris joke. When and where did he hear Chuck Norris jokes? More importantly, why did I not know about this sooner? All that wasted time when we could have been giggling over ridiculous punch lines!

After doing my parental duty- chewing him out for his poor timing and for breaking the joking about religion rule, I asked him where he heard the Chuck Norris joke. Still a little shook up from the stern talking to I gave him, Calvin sheepishly said, "I made it up."

He is creating his own Chuck Norris material? Wow! I am thrilled. As an early adopter of Chuck Norris jokes, I have treasured them ever since I told my first one in public and was greeted with a puzzled look. It is an acquired taste.

If you don't know the story behind Chuck Norris jokes, I will try to clarify. A few years back some college kids were sitting around trying to think of funny things to say to one another when one of them touched on the ultimate man icon of the 80's, Chuck Norris. His cool steely look, and his Karate abilities made him a natural for this humorous game of one-up-manship. Chuck Norris Facts became a fad. These jokes are mostly shared among guys, because we are, as a rule, immature and silly. The more impossible the Chuck Norris feat, the funnier it is to us.

It has apparently escaped my son that I have a Chuck Norris t-shirt, and my wife had just given me a Chuck Norris Facts poster that I took to work. So, I tried to lighten the mood by telling him one of my favorite Chuck jokes, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris? ...All of it.”

And with that one joke, there was a new bond between us- and a whole slew of new inside man jokes! We spent the next hour at Wendy’s with me telling Calvin Chuck jokes from my blackberry while scanning Chuck Norris

You know your son is having fun when he squirts coke out of his nose while laughing.

Thank you Chuck for helping me to stay close to my son.

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