In honor of Father’s Day, we celebrate the dad joke, a genre of humor known for being not funny at all. Most jokes are intended to produce laughter. Dad jokes elicit — well, let’s put it this way:
What’s the difference between a dad and a dad joke? One’s a grown man, and the other’s a groan, man.
See? You are not gasping for breath and wiping away tears, unless you just huffed a handful of Icy Hot pain cream.
By the way, what did the man who invented menthol pain cream say when he spotted a French restaurant? “I see haute cuisine.”
“I don’t get it, Dad.”
That’s because you’re 6. Someday you will appreciate the linguistic ingenuity of that particular dad joke.
“I look forward to the warm nostalgia it will produce, Father.”
That’s not a conversation that ever happened. Dad jokes are always ignored by the children, after eyes have been rolled — in fact, science speculates that humans started to roll their eyes to indicate lameness when the first dad joke was told, in 10,000 B.C.
“What does hungry wolf in tree say he eat? Bark! Ha, ha — oh, woman! Woman! Small one’s eyes have rolled back in head. Only white show now! He — oh, they back.”
Here’s the thing: Dads know they are permitted by society to inflict these jokes on their children, but there are rules.
What did the French grocery store attendant ask the man who’d just bought some bread? “I don’t know, Dad. What?” “Baguette?”
This works only if you’re at the store and you just bought a long loaf of bread, and you hold up the bread in one hand and a bag in the other with a goofy grin that says, “Get it?” That’s the essence of the dad joke — a proud, spontaneous flash of conspicuous lameness.
Another example: Who’s the cellphone provider for black holes? “I don’t know, Dad. Who is the cellphone provider?” Event Verizon!
This requires your kid to have some knowledge of the terminology of celestial mechanics as well as telecommunication brands.
Likewise, you might ask what the most popular British phone company is. “Don’t know, Dad.” A tea and tea!
What sort of jokes are not permitted? Knock-knock jokes. First, because these are for children, and second, with the rise of video doorbells, they make no sense anymore. Knock-knock! Well, let me fire up the app and see exactly who is there.
When you think about it, the dumb jokes of your childhood were dad jokes. When is a door not a door? How do you get down from an elephant? That sort of stuff. But they’re different when they come from your dad, because he is trying to tell you something with these lame sallies of mediocre japery, and that is this:
It’s a shtick, and he knows it, and he does it because he loves you. He wants to give you something to remember. All you kids who wince when summer dad comes out in cargo shorts with tube socks and black sandals and a shirt so loud the person who made it had to wear a welder’s mask — that’s all shtick.
He’s really a suave, brilliant, witty man with a great sense of individual style, and that’s how you’ll remember him. Even if he wore cargo shorts and told dad jokes.
Especially if he wore cargo shorts and told dad jokes.