Excerpt from Boomers, Zoomers and Other Oomers
We boomers can still appreciate a sense of humor. We’ve had the privilege of watching the works of icons such as Bob Hope, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner, RIP. Aren’t we grateful these old men didn’t slow down at age sixty-five?
The younger generations, unfortunately, have had their appreciation of humour compromised big time. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld generally avoids appearances before college crowds, noting that they are too sensitive, jumping to label every joke racist or sexist or otherwise prejudicial. .
Just look at the classical joke genres and tell me if the joker would run into trouble with the politically correct police.
–Knock Knock? Who’s there? No way José. “No way José” is not part of the joke. I am simply saying that you cannot use this knock knock formula anymore as it likely violates rights to privacy. Nowadays you simply do not dare do that. After all, we have never had as much privacy as we have now. Privacy is sacrosanct. Nobody has a clue what we are doing on our computers. Furthermore, the term “Knock” evokes an image of violence. You cannot hit anything, let alone a door. Some folks may feel offended and they’ll have to find a safe room. Maybe that room is behind that door you’re knocking on. Who knows?
–An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a German enter a bar. I don’t care what any of them order at the bar. Any way you pour it, some people will rule it out as being racist. I can only imagine there will be a cute punchline after the Englishman orders his scotch, the Frenchman his Champaign, and the German his beer. But I will not venture a guess what the punchline will be. Verboten.
–A close cousin to this genre is “There is a priest, a minister, and a rabbi.” Try one of these jokes in places such as some university campuses and you risk getting drawn and quartered. Actually, there is a double risk: one for including these three religious representatives and possibly another for failing to include reps of other religions. And I don’t even know where agnostics and atheists fall into the picture. The human rights tribunals would have a feast on you.
–How about the hyperbole joke, such as “It’s so hot that …” Don’t dare touch this one with a ten-foot spatula. If you do, you will be making light of climate change. No weather is funny. Pass.
–Why did the chicken cross the road? Uh huh—animal rights. Ask that one again and you may as well invite PETA to converge on your house with torches and pitchforks.
–And don’t ask what you get when you cross an elephant with a jar of peanut butter. Triple no-no. In addition to (1) knocking animals—sorry, make that assailing animals, you are (2) messing with genetically modified organisms, and (3) offending the allergy associations given that there is a plague of people allergic to peanuts. FYI, I might get some slack cut on that one; one of my sons and granddaughters are in that club. Actually, I know the answer to that joke but I’m not talking. Google it. Given your secure privacy status, nobody will know.
–And likely the shortest joke in the English language, the iconic joke, the signature joke of the “King of the One Liners,” Henny Youngman, is definitely taboo. I am talking, of course, of “Take my wife, please.” Now was the legendary comedian being sexist or disrespectful to his wife? You tell me. Did you know the two were happily married for sixty years? Just maybe the humour helped cement a marital union of the type you rarely find today.
Can the world lighten up a bit? As legendary humourist Erma Bombeck once said, “When humour goes, there goes civilization.” Anybody listening? We boomers are. And our humour is contributing to the flame of civilization.
Using our sense of humour is vital. We have the ability and the luxury to see life’s foibles through humour lenses (not bifocals). We all have one. People my vintage are living in a different world than we grew up in. There is technology to figure out. Perpetual- “your call is important to us”, voicemail pain, robots etc. Let’s laugh whenever we get stuck trying to navigate a website or email thread or word-processing task without the help of our children, or rather, grandchildren. And speaking of the kids, we may as well smile as we listen to their peculiar vocabulary. “Whatever”. “Like.” “OMG!”
Let’s see the humor in smart driverless cars. I just hope that while on the highway they’ll be smart enough to pull over when nature calls.
Are we old? We are not young. Are we aging? Yes, all of us one way or another. Even the millennials and the Zs were younger when you started reading this four minute read.
Can we do something about aging? Not much. But it ain’t all bad. We can’t all run those marathons, but as long as we’re still on this stage as Shakespeare called the world, how about we behave and give a dynamite performance.
Not making an exit at this time. To humor. To aging better. Cheers.
End of excerpt.
If you have aged since starting to read this excerpt, which hopefully you have enjoyed, this book may be of interest to you. Available in eBook and paper versions on Amazon, Indigo, Apple books etc., and wherever fun books are sold. Please click on books page to check out links for some of these sources.