One of the great joys in my life is sharing jokes. When I see a cartoon that makes me laugh out loud I want to share it with somebody. Usually, the first person I share these things with is my roommate (he’s closest, after all).
Perhaps you can imagine my disappointment when I show him the cartoons and then have to explain the joke every single time. I’m sure we all know how explaining a joke ruins the fun.
My roommate is about my dad’s age - 60 or 61 years old. He has a Master’s degree in psychology. He worked for years as a marriage counselor. I find myself completely baffled that a person with that level of education, with a profession that utterly depends on being able to quickly understand words in the context they’re spoken, can be so utterly unable to figure out a joke.
It’s not just jokes, though. He completely misses the point in other things as well. My roommate loves black gospel music, so I rented a movie called The Gospel a while back, and watched it with him. The movie is essentially a modern retelling of the story of the prodigal son, set in the context of a black Southern Baptist-style church. After the movie he said, “So they’re criticizing money-grubbing TV preachers?” :smack: That topic was one very small part of the movie, but it wasn’t even close to being the main thrust of the story.
As far as the jokes go, though, my best friend was visiting one day and I was showing him one of the latest funny cartoons I’d found. My roommate asked him, “Do you understand the cartoons he shows you?” My friend said, “Usually, but we’ve pretty much got the same sense of humor.” Now, while that’s true, I don’t usually think the cartoons and jokes I share require a certain sense of humor. Perhaps they require a certain small amount of thought to understand, but otherwise the jokes are usually blatantly obvious to me and I “get it” immediately.
So I thought I’d try a little experiment. I’ll ask you to take a look at this cartoon and tell me if you “get it”. Don’t try to explain it in your reply - just answer “Yes” or “No”, or “I get it” or “I don’t get it”. Maybe indicate how long it took you to get it, and whether or not you thought it was funny.
My answer: I got the joke immediately. Am I unusual? Is my sense of humor so sophisticated that I get it when most people don’t? Should I just save myself some discouragement and stop trying to share cartoons like this?