When I moved in with my dad, I hung out downstairs in the funeral home fairly often. That sounds crazy to most folks, but I can assure you the dead people weren’t all that bad. True, they aren’t much good for conversation or advice, and they always showed up to the place naked…but at least they always left dressed to the nines and were good about not eating up anyone’s food. The more interesting characters in my opinion, were the ones that walked in on their own accord. The preachers, limo drivers, the various families, and the miscellaneous folks too. This was the 90’s so many of those old school types were still around being old school type of people. They had jokes and conversations that many folks today would deem “inappropriate” for a 12-year-old boy but seemed fascinating to me. 

Unlike today’s generation where pretty much everything is available all the time, my early childhood saw television programming ending at some point in the evening with bars of colors. The saying that the only things open after midnight are legs and hospitals, probably came about because those night owls didn’t have anything else to do but crime and copulate really. Now a days everything is open past midnight along with the legs and hospitals. Instead of bright color bars interrupting a snooze or getting some action, Netflix is rudely asking if you’re still watching. Not sure this was obvious already, but we didn’t have cable, some of y’all probably knew that when I said programming ended for the night. Honestly, I miss those days more than I enjoy these days. Discovering new artists, comedians, authors, actors, and musicians took effort resulting in a greater appreciation for the art being made. Now, every jackass with a phone or computer can create content to be consumed by the masses or a handful of folks…present company included.

The current version of me watches a lot of comedy shows and shows that are supposed to be funny. Amazingly enough, the Netflix algorithm suggests every variety of cooking competition and food shows available. Sadly, I watch these to kill time now or have as background noise while I work. Meanwhile, I typically discover that new stand-up specials are available from the hacks at Yahoo. Yes, I feel like Netflix is failing me at the moment, but that’s not really where I’m going with all this. 

Mitch Hedberg

Recently, my daughter requested that we tell jokes at dinner. I’m a terrible sport because I have so much respect for comedy, I’m not trying to drop duds at the dinner table. This doesn’t stop my wife or daughter from delivering the corniest jokes available from a Laffy Taffy wrapper or some dad jokes they Googled. My daughter asks me to tell her jokes all the time, and I disappoint all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I say funny shit, but it’s usually “you had to be there” funny versus planned funny. What made me want to write about this was recalling when I did the same thing to my dad, except I specifically asked him to tell me dirty jokes. That’s no surprise for those that know me personally. I spent most of my time outside of school around older people in an era where kids usually were just errand runners for grownups. I heard the conversations though, so even though I had nothing to contribute, I wanted in.

My dad, for whatever reason waited years to tell me a joke that was “inappropriate”. I always thought, “if he knew all of the inappropriate stuff I said with my buddies” and I still think that. Hell, I could’ve gotten the green light at 11 if he knew how left of center my brain was. Along with the teachings of my environment, I prepared myself for anything he could throw out. I heard Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Martin Lawrence and DL Hughley at that point and my pops didn’t curse nearly as much as those guys. I was 14 when I finally got the joke and though I won’t share the actual joke, I’ll let you all know I found it funny and not dirty at all. 

One of the guys that would do work for my dad around the funeral home was unintentionally hilarious in my opinion. People in the neighborhood called him Bull, I assume because of the shape of his nose, but he was too old for me to be around to know for certain. At the time he had an issue with drugs, but he was still really intelligent. One day I went downstairs, and he was there with the receptionist, so I figured I’d chill until my dad got back. I read the room, I interrupted a conversation that she thought I had no business hearing…but he was high or drunk and was lacking a filter, so he let it fly anyway. He said “Lil Doug, you’re a smart young man, you know what a click (clit) is”? As if the smart young men are first in line to get access to these. I looked at the receptionist, her jaw was mid-drop at that point trying to shut him up, I looked back at him, and he was determined to explain in his terms what it is. He goes “it’s like a dick that girls have, and it’ll be your best friend unless it comes with a crazy woman which will be more fun but more headaches”. I laughed and thought to myself “I’ll probably need to look this up myself”. At the time, I had zero experience so I took his word for it, these days though, I wish I could speak to him to ask what kind of women he was messing with. 

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems as if kids now are sheltered from the realities of the world both good and bad. That’s not to say we need to introduce more kids to drug addicts and alcoholics for life lessons, but being able to witness them could be of service. I never needed Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush to tell me to say no to drugs, I saw the guy on the bus with the heroin lean nodding but never falling. I saw crackheads with rotting teeth and manic personalities. I saw potheads…they were cool, but I still saw them. There’s nothing confusing about which drugs to avoid and the one that’s alright. Instead, kids are learning about men becoming women and vice versa, pronouns that don’t agree with the English language, and are force fed concepts that occur so rarely that it’s probably of less value than being ignorant at their age.

That being said, tell your sons and daughters an inappropriate joke or two if you have them in your arsenal. Watch the confusion on their face if you aren’t as inappropriate as I am. However, if your mind takes you down the wrong path with the last picture, you might as well rip the band aid off, they can handle it I promise…and if they can’t handle it, probably shouldn’t have listened to the goofy, yet well-adjusted blogger anyway.

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