The Dad Joke

(scene opens in dining room)

Beta: (tying shoes) I need to be dropped off at 6:30 and then picked up after the game.

Me: Okay, we can do that, but what time?

Beta: When the game is done.

Me: Yes. But what time does the game end?

Beta: I don’t know, how long does a basketball game go?

Husband: (holds two hands wide apart) From end to end.

(room pauses)

Me: (puts head down on table and laughs until she cries)

Beta: (scowls)

Husband: (quite pleased with himself)

Beta: Mom. Not that funny.

Me: (wheezes) Honey, the jokes with accidental set up are the best jokes.

Husband: Got another one for you. How do you tell the sex of an ant?

(silence)

Husband: You put –

Beta: Wait. Let me figure it out.

(more silence)

(Gamma enters the room from the parlor)

Husband: (gleefully) Gamma! How do you tell the sex of an ant?

Gamma: (measures the room and with resigned hopelessness) No. Just no. (leaves)

Carrot: (begins to laugh again, wiping tears)

Bail! Bail! Bail!

(scene opens in early morning dinning room, several bouquets of multi colored roses on the table)

Me: (reading email, drinking coffee)

Beta: (sees card, picks it up to read it, item drops out) Mom? What’s this?

Me: Your father gave that to me. We’ve been married twenty years today. That’s my golden watch.

Beta: (with relief) Oh good. I was hoping dad got this for you and wasn’t some toy of Delta’s laying around. You know that there’s no way he bought this by itself, right? That this was probably some Paw Patrol set and there’s a bunch of other Paw Patrol stuff just laying around the house somewhere.

Me: Going the extra mile for the joke is why I like your dad so much.

Beta: It kinda makes sense he’d give you a gold watch. I mean, you’re kinda retired. You don’t work.

Me: (mildly) I don’t work?

Beta: (recovering) You don’t work for money. Dad works for money and you kinda hang out here with him.

Me: (obviously laying a trap) Oh. I just hang out here and let dad do all the work.

Beta: (sweating) No! That’s not –

(footsteps off screen announces the arrival of Husband)

Husband: (blinking in the bright light of the dinning room) What are you doing up so early?

Me: (gets up, kisses husband) I was going to sneak out and get you a card, but I forgot that pandemic means nothing opens before 6 am any more. Beta loves the gold watch you got me. Said it made sense since I don’t work.

Husband: (gives Beta “you done messed up” look)

Beta: (dramatically flails arms)

Me: (sitting, picks up coffee) Also told me that you work, and I just kinda hang out.

Husband: (dramatically alarmed, looks at Beta) Run.

(Husband flees off stage, not pursued by a bear)

Beta: (mean mugs Carrot) That’s not what I meant! I know you work hard!

Me: Extra mile for the joke, honey. Have a good day at school.

Can’t argue with that.

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Alpha: (hunting breakfast) Ha-HA! (pulls bag of leftover pizza from ‘fridge)

Me: (pointing) HA! Ha-HA!

Alpha: Ha-ha-ha-HA!

Me: HA! Hu-ha-ha-ha. HA!

Husband: You guys are dorks.

Alpha: (draws himself up) You married her. You made me.

Me: He does have a point.

Husband: I was cool once.

Joke Grenade

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Beta: Mom, I’m a failure.

Me: (caught typing, pauses) What?

Beta: I’m a failure. Remember the whole step-joke?

Me: Yeah?

Beta: I just figured out why it’s called a step-ladder. It’s a ladder. With steps.

Me: (covers face with hands) Oh god. Oh god, you’re kidding me.

Beta: Yeah. Sorry. Are you disappointed in me?

Me: (laughs in unbelievable are you serious) Maybe a little.

Poker Face

(scene opens in cluttered dining room)

Beta: (describing the gear needed for Welding class)

Me: (looks up from computer at Husband) So…now we’re buying him boots?

Husband: Something like Timberlands. Heavy duty work boots.

Me: (turns to Beta) Are you going to wear them all day?

Beta: No, they’ll stay in my locker.

Me: Finally using your locker? Glad someone knows what a locker is.

Beta: I have a locker in my welding classroom. I don’t use my real locker.

Husband: Only use your step-locker?

Me: (absentmindedly) What are you doing, step-locker?

Husband: (whips around to stare at Carrot)

Beta: (points at Carrot, yelling) NO!

Husband: (whips around to stare at Beta)

Me: Ha-ha. Outted you.

Beta: (flames bright red)

Husband: You’d better go to bed.

(Beta flees, stage left)

Husband: (to Carrot now laughing helplessly) I think this makes you the bad parent.

Carrot: (wipes tears) I’m okay with that.

Well, you asked.

(scene opens in mini-van)

Beta: I think Dad jokes aren’t funny. I bet mom jokes are funny. Mom, tell us a joke.

Me: (wearily) I’m well rested.

Husband: (uproariously laughter behind the wheel)

Me: (takes cue) My children are well behaved.

Husband: (increased laughing) Oh my god! That’s hilarious! I’m laughing so hard I’m crying!

Me: I never have to yell at them to do homework.

Husband: (booming fake stage laughter) It’s too much! Stop! I’m going to have to pull over if you keep going!

Me: My house is clean.

Husband: (pulls over to side of the road, puts head down on steering wheel, hysterical fake laughter)

(cut scene to four kids and a dog staring flatly at the front seat)

Beta: I’m sorry I said anything.

Husband: (to Carrot) Dear, that was wonderful. You should do stand-up.

Checking In

(scene opens in basement)

Me: (quietly walking up behind Bigs, checking laptop screens for shenanigans) Are you both in class?

Both: (doesn’t move, wearing headphones) Yeah.

(shot Beta’s screen tiled with screens bearing kids’ names)

Beta: I’m in music class, the teacher is about to start

Me: (to Alpha) What about you?

(Alpha’s screen a single shot of an empty room)

Alpha: I’m watching my favorite YouTube. “Drying Paint”

Me: (doubles up laughing)

Beta: (to Alpha) Wow. You made her laugh.

Alpha: I didn’t just make her laugh. I got the wheeze out of her.

Here’s the wind up…

(scene opens in dim kitchen)

Gamma: Look at that chonky squirrel! I want a squirrel as a pet!

Husband: (looks out window) Eh, you can’t really have a squirrel for a pet. They’re not domesticated animals.

Gamma: Can I domesticate it?

Husband: You could tame one, but that’s different than domesticating.

Me: (looks up from making coffee) I don’t know how many generations it takes to domesticate something. Gamma, what you really want is to make some Crow Friends.

Gamma: How do you do that?

Me: Well, you need to feed them, but there are so many squirrels here, you’d need to call them to the yard first and then feed them.

Gamma: (skeptical) How do we do that?

Me: You can get a Crow Call on the internet.

Gamma: (skepticism deepens) A Crow Call?

Husband: Yeah! A Crow Call. Watch. (cups hands, leans towards window) HEY CROW! COME HERE CROW!

Gamma: (stares)

Me: (closes eyes) Seriously.

Husband: (laughs himself silly) I’m helpy!

Tough Crowd

(scene opens in dining room)

Delta: (watching Carrot light Advent candles) What are those for mommy?

Me: Each week we light one to remind ourselves what’s important; Peace, Hope, Love…

Husband: (interrupting from foyer) Profits for the candle manufacturers.

Me: ….and Joy. Which your father is.

Delta: No, he is pain and despair.

Me: Well then.

Husband: I heard that.

Random Encounter

Me: Okay, Universe – I really got to sleep tonight, I’m totally wiped out. It’s hotter than hell and the windows are open. Please no drunk AM fireworks, car alarms, random dogs, incontinent skunks, street racers. Can you do that for me?

Universe: Sure.

Alpha: (falls down the stairs at 1 am)

Me: (murderous) What the hell are you doing, Alpha?!

Alpha: Bat in our room.

Me: (stares) Seriously.

Universe. LOL

No One Should Live Like This

(scene opens in cluttered dinning room)

Me: (to Husband walking in) Your mother called, she’s canceling Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Do you mean he’s still dead?!

Me: (stares, laughs, fumbles for comeback) Okay, I got nothing. Can we start that scene over again?

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: Your mother called, we’re not having party on Easter.

Husband: Oh my god! Were they not able to roll the rock back?

Me: No!

(Husband exits to kitchen, comes back)

Me: (sigh) Your mother called. We’re not getting everyone together on Easter for the family gathering.

Husband: What am I going to do with all these extra nails?

Me: (gives up) That’s it. I’m blogging that and you can’t stop me.

Vague Similarity

(scene opens in doctor exam room, Beta and Gamma suffering each other’s existence, Carrot failing sanity checks)

Doctor: (enters) So, tests came back. They both have strep.

Me: (wearily) Not a surprise.

Doctor: I figured they both had it the way their voices were all garbled, but had to do the test to make sure.

Me: Yeah, they do sound like they have golf balls in their mouths.

Beta: Goth balls?

Me: Golf balls. Sounds like you’re talking around solid objects in your throat.

Beta: Oh, okay. That makes more sense. I was trying to figure out what goth balls are.

Me: Eh, it would probably still work as a descriptor. They’re dark and full of pain. (laughs)

Beta: (stares in WTF)

Doctor: (stares in professionalism)

Me: (sighs) Yeah…you don’t get why that’s funny. When can they go back to school?