You should very much worry if Chaos tries to tell you a joke. And you should also refuse to listen. His jokes are not funny. At all. He is so not funny, in fact, that his brothers and sister think he is hilarious (which does NOT help the situation). When he was little, his favorite joke was "What do eggs and bananas have in common? SLIPPERS!!!" We explained that his joke didn't make any sense. That it wasn't actually a joke. Clearly he had mangled the original joke that he'd heard somewhere. But how do you explain the mechanics of 'funny' to a four year old? Or for that matter (ten years later) to a fourteen year old? Because I have to tell you that whatever it is we said to explain 'funny' - did NOT take. You want proof? The kids went on a joke telling jag in the car last night. After a round of knock-knock jokes from the little ones this was Chaos' offering:
Why did the clown go to Vietnam?
Because he knew the Viet Cong were shooting at soldiers.
Yikes! And double Yikes! I tried to impress upon Chaos that there is NO WAY a joke with clowns and the VC in it could EVER be funny - no matter how interested in history he is - but I'm not sure I got through to him because the other kids had started in on blonde jokes. I nixed those and Havoc wanted to start a riddle game but Chaos wanted to tell a really funny joke first. I made him promise there was no ethnic weirdness, or people going into a bar, or death or ANYTHING remotely objectionable about his proposed really funny joke. He solemnly promised and then told the following 'joke':
What did the Flying Dutchman do when he crashed his ghost ship*?
He got a ghost car.
*I have to admit that for a split second there was quite a bit of inadvertent humor and horrified laughter because we all thought he said "goat shit" not "ghost ship". But, even so, I think you'll agree that this is nothing like a really funny joke. So we tried number jokes:
The Ninja Princessa (repeating Nurse Nice's favorite joke):
What did the zero say to the eight?
Love the belt!
Havoc (repeating VBGF's favorite joke):
Why is six afraid of seven?
Because seven ate (eight) nine!
Chaos (worrying me with the opening line, but actually going nowhere disturbing):
How is six like nine?
By standing upside down!
(Well, ok. A little disturbing but not like clowns and the Viet Cong!) "Chaos, yes we understand that a nine is like an upside down six - but it's not a joke. Yes, it's numbers but it's not funny! What do you mean, why not?!" More explanation about lines and word play and expected vs unexpected. "Arrrrrgh!" (<---Saying this led us to a round of pirate jokes.)
What's a pirate's favorite letter?
Princessa (stealing Havoc's favorite joke and pissing him off so much that he put his thumb back in his mouth and refused to tell any more jokes):
What's a pirate's favorite type of socks?
Chaos: "I have one, I have one!!"
(Oh god I don't think I can take it!)
(Gulp.) "Ok, go for it."
What did the pirate say when he saw 40 tactical nukes headed his way?
Fetch me my brown pants? (<--I wish I could say I didn't bust out laughing at that.)
Chaos (slugging his little brother):
YAY!!! A joke! One that made sense and was a play on words and even fit with a theme! Never mind that Mayhem (who has a quick and sick mind and a great sense of timing) stole Chaos' thunder! Never mind that it had tactical nuclear weapons in it (we'll work on that later!) CHAOS MADE A JOKE! And we didn't even know that we were getting a jump on International Talk Like A Pirate Day!
And peace, mateys!
(VBGF - Shhhh! If you read this before Chaos gets a chance to ask you what the pirate said..., don't let on! He's very proud of himself and wants to be the one to tell you his joke!)