“What an adorable little house!” This was Fiona’s friend talking. They came over to babysit Sophie. Eli wasn’t born yet. It was a long time ago; Eli’s now thirteen. Actually, only Fiona came over to babysit, we told her she could bring a friend. It was close to Sophie’s bedtime.

My adorable little house was surrounded by mansions. Well, maybe I’m overshooting with that term, but really big houses. Five bedrooms, three baths, a dining room, a living room and a family room. Fiona and her friend lived in houses like this. Fenced yards, garages, usually a screened-in porch. We lived in a sought-out section of Washington, DC. Their homes sold for a million dollars. Houses like this were so common among their peers that a fourteen-year-old girl felt it appropriate to point out how different—or how small—mine was.

Susan was still getting ready. It was my job to give instructions and make small talk. I thought I’d try out my new joke. When I say new joke, I really mean it. For years I knew only one joke, a classic that I broke out at every opportunity. When I first got out of college my friends Brad and Lauren lived in Florida. They were certified to scuba dive, and they invited me to visit for a long dive weekend. During my certification class, one of the tests was to tread water for five minutes. When all the students were in the water, each of us churning our own mini whirlpools, the instructor asked “Hey, anyone know any jokes?” My standby:

Why did the Siamese twins move to London?
So the other one could drive.

My friends got divorced two years later. I only scuba-dived twice, both times that same weekend.

Twenty years later, Fiona and her friend were going to be the first people to hear my new joke. Disclosure: It’s not like I made it up. My friend Ed worked in a bar. Late nights, lots of alcohol, countless people to talk with. He told funny stories and jokes all the time. Here’s the one that made enough of an impression on me to replace my Siamese twin joke:

What do Winnie the Pooh and Alexander the Great have in common?
They have the same middle name.

Fiona: “Ugh. That’s a dad-joke.” As far as I know, she made that term up right then and there. I looked up the etymology of dad-joke, apparently it was coined in Washington, DC circa 2004.

The other day, Eli and I were running an errand. As many parents know, the best time to have a conversation with your teenager is while driving. In the car, they bring up the topics they consider too mundane to talk about around the house. Many of the topics are about stuff I actually care about.

“I have a new teacher in Math.”

“What? What happened to Mrs. McLeaf?”

“She just sits in the back of the room. The student teacher does all the teaching.”

See? Topics I care about. I asked if his teacher was any good.

“Yeah, he’s really funny. He tells us math-jokes. Dad-math-jokes.”

 Algebra was really easy in ancient Rome. X was always ten.

And down the rabbit hole we scurried. The rest of the ride was dad-jokes.

Why do seagulls live by the sea?
If they lived at the bay, they’d be bagels.

Eli suggested I get an app for my phone so I would always have a dad-joke handy (being a dad and all). “Oh, you really think they have an app for dad-jokes?” There are dozens. I downloaded the first app that showed up. Not because it was first, but because it had five stars. If I’m going to be telling dad-jokes, I want them to be quality dad-jokes.

Whenever the cashier asks my dad if he wants the milk in a bag, he says “No, just leave it in the carton.”

When I wake my kids up in the morning, still resisting, hiding their head under the covers, shrugging off my hand when I shake them, I tell them a joke.

How many South Americans does it take to change a light bulb?
A Brazilian.

And sometimes I start to tell my family a dinner time story only so I can squeeze in a joke.

My old coworkers said I’d never get over my obsession with Phil Collins. Just look at me now.

I’ve had an iPhone for a year now. For years I resisted getting one because I couldn’t really see the point. It just seemed like a distraction from life.  Sure, I missed out on reading emails, catching up on the news, and even responding to comments on my blog, but I was always happy putting those things off until I got home. But now that I have a universe of dad-jokes right at my fingertips, I think I can see the point.

Here’s a last joke that might appeal to Eli’s teacher:

Dad, I’m cold!
Go stand in the corner, I hear it’s ninety degrees.


20 thoughts on “Dad-Jokes

  1. Love the jokes – laughed out loud at a few and had to go tell the others who also laughed. I may have to get the app.
    We also live in a small house next to mansions. And it is not even updated to modern day – it is still living in the 1980’s. When the kids friends come over we hear our house is “homey” or “nice.” One child was even innocent enough to say that our house was very small but “that is good because you can reach for things really easily.”
    I just need some dad jokes to tell them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that we live in the middle of nowhere, we have a normal sized house. We’ve been here for 14 years and we still feel like it’s a bunch of wasted space. Most evenings, we’re all crammed into our family room nd the rest of the house is vacant. Susan wants a tiny house when the kids move out. I’d settle for small.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As somebody who has always struggled mightily with maths, I have to say that X was always 10 joke got me good!

    I just asked Alexa to tell me a dad joke and she said:

    “Why did the dad cross the road? Because he forgot something at the hardware store.”

    I’m not sure that could be classified as any kind of a joke. Her other one was:

    “Knock knock”
    “Who’s there?”
    “Cash who?”
    “No thank you I’m allergic to nuts”

    Jokes are not her strong suit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eli has the sort of relationship with Alexa where they talk about random stuff. I really only use her to play songs and half of the obscure 80s punk I want to hear, she can’t access. I thought she would be a life changer when we got her, but really she’s just a glorified radio with poor sound quality. Wow! I don’t know where that all came from. Maybe I should write a blog post about Alexa.


  3. Your post not only made me smile, it’s also remarkably timely. Jokes were our dinnertime discussion last night. My 9yr old son said he and is friends have been passing around “yo mama” jokes. I don’t happen to like “yo mama” jokes. They’re fundamentally crass insults–and frequently offensive. He gets them from youtube, which he apparently watches at friends houses or at his dad’s. We had a whole 30 minute conversation about why those jokes aren’t good and you can be funny in a lot of different ways without insulting people. But, to be honest, I struggled with the substitution equation. If I take “yo mama” jokes out of his world, what can I replace it with? Granted, “dad jokes” might not make my kid cool in school. But, at least we won’t double down on “funny” equated to “offensive insults of someone’s mama.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t recall us going through an insulting joke phase, but it’s probably because the punishment at school is too severe. I love the jokes because they are so corny, clean and non-offensive. My last job made me really sensitive about foul language and insulting remarks. But alas, the dad-joke phase has run it’s course. I barely get a smile out of them anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! Thanks for the laugh. For some reason, I cannot remember jokes 10 minutes after I hear them. why is that? I used to work with a bartender (I was a waitress when my kids were little) who could spit out joke after joke after joke. And they were funny! Some of them were dad-jokes, but he was a dad, after all.

    On another note, I visited Dr. Little today. He is amazing! He figured out in 10 minutes what my problem was and mapped out a plan for me. Thank you so much for the recommendation. It was well worth the 90 minute drive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it really helps that he can put himself in your shoes. He truly want people to run and cycle and he puts a lot of thought into what’s going to help. As an aside, he instructs a wicked good spin class.


  6. I once submitted a short story to a literary comp. It didn’t even get an Honorable Mention (but the judge said it was outstanding). To this day I still don’t know if they deducted 5 points for the protagonist’s terrible Dad joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think everyone secretly loves dad jokes and they just groan because they’re supposed to. Of course the literary standard of writing contests would undoubtedly take a negative look at well crafted, stupid puns. Thanks for reading.


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