Skip to main content

Dad Jokes

Today was a bad day. I argued with the President. I found myself frustrated by a wide variety of issues on campus. I had lots of important paperwork to do. And I find that I’m even further behind on too many tasks. Clearly, it’s time for a light essay.

I tell jokes (or perhaps jokes, given typical student reactions to the things I say that I intend as jokes). I tell jokes a lot. You’ll hear me say everything from puns to short question and answer jokes to workplay to long shaggy dog stories [1]. I think students have learned to put up with it. Some even laugh from time to time [2].

About a year ago, I was making one of my traditional stupid language jokes. Let’s see … I think it was I see that we have a drone club. Do they just sit around for an hour going mmmmmmm? Have they considered pairing with the meditation club? My students then told me that they couldn’t believe that I’d made yet another dad joke. I thought I misheard, but then they showed me about a dozen sites dedicated to dad jokes. As I understand it, a dad joke is a joke so bad that only a dad would make it.

Fortunately, I’m a dad at least three times over [4]. Hence, I’ve embraced the dad joke ethos, particularly in the sense that I am willing to make the same stupid joke again and again and again [3], sometimes with variations. My favorite is probably how I respond to What’s up? If I’m in the Noyce Science Center, I usually say Ceiling tile. On occasion, I just look up toward the ceiling. And once in a while, I look toward the ceiling, and start listing the things I see above.

My students and children can probably give you a whole litany of others of my dad jokes. One that I seem to embrace is reacting to people who say I’m good. For example, Do you want a piece of candy? No, I’m good. Are you suggesting that only bad people eat candy? Do you need help on that assignment? No, I’m good. So, only bad people need help? Wow! I can’t believe you’d say something that biased.

Do these get old fast? I’m pretty sure they do. But, hey, I’m old, so it’s okay if my jokes resemble me, or vice versa.

Believe it or not, one of my standard dad jokes often gets some chuckles. Here’s how it goes: Sam, how are you? Old, fat, tired, and grumpy. Did you find that funny? No? Well, people do laugh. Maybe it’s in how I say it.

[1] Shaggy dog stories: I think most students have now heard me tell the Polish Comedian joke. I even have a comic strip that middle son drew about that joke. I rarely tell my father’s two shaggy-dog stories, one about Pierre and the Moose, one about flatulance, mostly because I don’t think I can ever tell them as well as he did.

[2] Okay, there are one or two jokes I tell when I wear the Tigger costume that seem to be successful, one garners groans and the other elicits laughs.

[3] And again.

[4] You can ask eldest, middle, or youngest son to explain the at least.

Version 1.0 of 2016-10-11.