You know me. I decided I was going to find the lighter side of him. I gave him an assignment that was due today. He was to tell me a joke or a funny story. He said he couldn't do that. I told him I knew there was a lighter side of him. He replied, "I don't know about that."
Before class I decided that I needed to have some jokes or funny stories to show him. I began searching on line. It quickly became clear that most of the jokes on the internet are either not funny or inappropriate. I knew I would have to explain some of them and I didn't think I could do it.
Here is an example. A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply, because he had no money with which to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing him and his sister. Now someone explain what is funny about that. A man wants to get drunk--not funny. He mixes a lethal liquid with milk--not funny. He gets ill--not funny. He vomits in the fireplace--not funny. He burns his house down--not funny. He and his sister die--not funny.
I was afraid my student would ask me what was funny about that. Yes, yes, I get the humor. But how do I explain it to a man who is so serious? The more I looked for jokes, the sadder I got. There wasn't one joke that I thought he would understand. I decided to look up Funny Pictures. Surprisingly most of them weren't funny either. I did find a few. My student described them to me with a straight face and a solemn voice.
Then I found some comics. I sent them to him. Even some of those he didn't think were funny. But he did like Calvin and Hobbes. Once he even laughed. I said, "Oh, I heard that. That was a laugh." He laughed again.
I do understand that there is a difference in our culture and our senses of humor. But to be honest, most of the jokes I read, I didn't think were funny. They were either violent or inappropriate. The sit-coms haven't been funny for years. But now our jokes? It is a sad day in America when our jokes aren't even funny.