A Joke Years in the Making
I remember many years ago when I was a wee lad of ten, my father and I were traveling home one day. As I sat in the car next to him he began to speak. The tone he used was one I knew so well. It had a meaning. That meaning: a joke was incoming.
So I listened, enthralled in the details, wondering when the punch line would come out and smack me with a well timed hit. After a minute or two of back story, my dad stopped. He looked at me and said, “Sorry, buddy, I feel like God is telling me not tell you this joke.”
Now, telling a ten-year-old they can't have something is a sure fire way to make them want that thing and sure enough I wanted that joke, no, I needed that joke.
Dad was resolute and did not let a single detail slip no matter how I worded the request.
Years passed, we moved country, I graduated high-school, I left home, I got married, I started balding, I had kids, I got a degree. Over two decades had passed since dad had dangled that joke in front of my face and snatched it away.
Then one fateful day I was at a function with a lot of family and friends were there, including my father. I was talking to another group of people when out the corner of my ear I heard a passage I had not heard in twenty years. Just a few words and my brain made the instant connection to that car ride that took place on the other side of the world.
I slowly moved closer, waiting for the closure that was denied my younger self. A million thoughts raced through my mind. Was he going to stop telling them too? Would he see me and stop telling it? How could I be sure it was, in fact, the same joke? I knew each thought was irrational.
I listened, and suddenly, without warning, there it was, the punchline. After twenty years of waiting I finally knew how the joke ended. All thoughts in my head ceased, and I was left with but one: That was a terrible joke.
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