My Dad and the Social Value of Always Having Jokes
Anyone who knows my dad also knows one simple truth, he’s always got jokes. I bet you that he’s told me over a thousand in my lifetime and nearly every time we spend any time together he somehow has another one in his arsenal.
I used to think that he was part of some underground joke organization that was always coming up with and distributing new material. But, over time I realized that my dad, just like a few other friends of mine, has built up a network of other people who love jokes just as much as he does.
Storytelling is the key to a good joke
Of course, knowing the joke and being able to tell it the right way are two very different things and the storytelling is what separates the pros from the wannabes. This is that my dad has mastered over the years like a carpenter who has mastered his tools, able to cut and sand any piece of wood to his will.
My dad will tell it as it’s supposed to be told, pulling you into the story and playing the roles within the joke as if he’d been practicing for months. Timing is also important and as he finally gives the punchline his laughing alone is enough to make you think it’s funny (even if it isn’t).
Telling jokes adds social value and creates connections
Over time I’ve also realized the social value of always having jokes to tell — especially when it’s expected of you. My dad has become that guy, the guy who always has a joke ready and whether you like it or not, he’s going to tell it to you. Some are good, some are bad, and some are a little offensive, but it’s what my dad does and I’ve grown to appreciate it as something that makes him unique and interesting.
I’ve tried to tell jokes like my dad does, but it’s just not my thing. I can never remember the stories and the punchlines end up falling flat. But, I’m sure being constantly exposed to his storytelling over the years has something to do with why I love writing and sharing stories, too. For my dad, telling jokes as a way to connect with other people works and I’m sure it could also work for others who are looking for a unique way to hop into a social situation and add value.
The photo below is of my dad laughing after he finished up telling me a joke at Bob Evans. I didn’t think it was that funny, but no matter what he still somehow gets a laugh out of me. What can I say, the guy’s a pro.