Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“Was That Funny?”

When my son was little, he went through a time when he would make up jokes and tell us, and watch our reaction and ask “was that funny?” He wanted desperately to catch on to humor, but humor is a whole new way of thinking, and he was only four or five years old.

We started with riddles, I think, jokes in which words had more than one meaning, and then we moved on to knock knock jokes. But when he first started making jokes, he started with pure nonsense.

Around eight, we introduced him to Shel Silverstein, a brilliant poet, who writes books for kids that are also a joy for adults.

(photo courtesy of

Where The Sidewalk Ends
Light in the Attic
Falling Up

We all loved Shel Silverstein. Our son would read the poems aloud to us as we zipped around the back streets of Europe. We never got tired of him. His poems are funny to both children and adults “One Sister for Sale” “The King Who Loved Peanut Butter” . . . and sometimes poignant, or even sad.

Slowly, slowly, our son built up a huge repetoire of humor. Today, he is one of the funniest men I know, albeit most of his wit is very dry, and sometimes . . . I don’t always get it.

And that doesn’t begin to tackle the problem of “what is funny” crossing national and cultural boundaries! I think you have really arrived in a language when you can tell a joke in another language, and the native speakers find it funny.

February 20, 2007 - Posted by | Books, Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Joke, Poetry/Literature, Random Musings, Relationships, Uncategorized


  1. What wonderful parents you are and your son sounds fascinating.
    Thanks for this post it is inspiring.

    Comment by jewaira | February 21, 2007 | Reply

  2. Lady J – I’m sure you are also a Shel Silverstein fan.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 21, 2007 | Reply

  3. […] To find more information from the source here […]

    Pingback by Famous Funny Movie Quotes and Stuff » Was That Funny? Here There and Everywhere | April 15, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: