The Peanut Butter Conundrum

Today’s post comes from Sherrilee.

My father wasn’t as funny as he thought he was.  Don’t get me wrong; he had a lot of wonderful qualities.  He was kind, thoughtful, intelligent, generous.  But Billy Crystal he wasn’t.

When I was a teenager, he would answer any call that came in after 8 p.m. with “Joe’s Morgue.  You stab `em, we slab `em.”  He thought this was endlessly funny.  My sister and I ended up getting our own phone.

I was thinking of him tonight when I opened a new jar of peanut butter.  When I was growing up, if you scooped out the first peanut butter from the center, he’d gasp “Oh, no, you took it from the center!”  Of course if the next time you scooped from the right side, he’d throw up his hands in mock-horror and say “Oh no, you took it from the wrong side.”  Then when you chose the other side… you guessed it, “Oh no, you didn’t take it from the middle!”  Every jar.  Every single jar.

He’s been gone for 13 years and while I’ve always missed him, it wasn’t until tonight that I realize I even miss his stupid peanut butter joke.

I scooped the peanut right out of the middle!

Who’s the funny one in your family?

74 thoughts on “The Peanut Butter Conundrum”

  1. My son. Of course, he inherited a lot from me and his grandfather. I got an early dose of his humor when at the age of seven he invited me to a serious just before bedtime chat. When I opened the door, a hairy black spider descended upon my head. The boy was more than pleased with himself at my reaction; more than pleased. When we travel to areas of the country that serve grits he will invariably order one grit.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Everybody is funny at our house, unfortunately mostly inside jokes.

    I grew up in a not terribly humorous household, except the middle brother. In his youth, he had impeccable timing.

    I still remember one at supper, the baby brother was being particularly obnoxious and my mother had had it.

    “Paul, if you don’t quit that, I am going hit you”

    Without missing a beat, middle brother piped up,”let me! let me!”

    My mother fell off her chair she was laughing so hard. But maybe she was just hysterical at that point.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Good morning. I come from a family that is not particularly good at humor. My mother was very “straight laced”. My Dad was not as humorless as my mother. However, I don’t remember that he relied on humor to any great extent. My brother enjoyed teasing me. I didn’t think that was funny. Apparently I am somewhat capable of using humor. I was told that I should tell some jokes to warm up the audiences at farm meetings. I came up with a few jokes that I used which, to my surprise, got some laughs.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My dad thought he was funny, and by the standards of, say, 1920, he probably was. The pinnacle of humor to him was mispronouncing things–soup and sandwiches were always “sloop and slandwiches,”, University Avenue was always “Universidad”, Social Security was always “Sociable Security”, and on and on and on and on, same jokes for decades on end…

    The really sad thing is that my ex-hippie friend’s family had the same sense of humor, but she actually liked it, so now I get to continue pretending that “brocco-locco-loccili”, “pâté” pronounced like “plate”, “pick-a-nick basket”, and the like are amusing (yes, I know that last one is Yogi Bear. That just makes it worse).

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I do call Shakopee, “Shakopee-Shooby-Doo-Wop-O-Kee.” And I’ve fallen into the habit of calling butter, “Boutros Boutros-Ghali” after the former Secretary General of the United Nations.
      …yes, I have issues…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I was just listening to this early this morning. Boutros Boutros-Ghali just doesn’t cross your path that often. I couldn’t find the whole song anywhere online but here are the lyrics to verse 3:

        Beneath my clothes I’m all buck necked (Beneath his clothes he’s all buck necked)
        Dead-headed Ed edited it with Beckett (A guy named Ed edited it)
        Moved my ‘fridge with Salvador’s Dali (Moved his ‘fridge with Salvador’s Dali)
        And Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali

        Liked by 4 people

  5. My father. As an amateur actor, he liked to be the funny center of attention at all times. On paper, he was funny, too. He and his 4 sisters had a round-robin letter they kept going for years. His contributions would end with a lengthy story leading up to a convoluted pun. The current comic in the Strib, Pearls Before Swine, frequently does the same thing but they tell it in eight panels.

    My brother, father and I loved to do spoonerisms. We once camped at Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Park in Ontario. We switched that name around to Lick of Two Ravers, Rake of Two Livers and Rick of Two Lavers, each with a funny story to explain them. Rod Laver was a tennis great at the time so I imagine that “Rick of Two Lavers” represented the hay piles of Rod and his wife.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. my dad did stand up in college and was a funny guy in general. i was at a sales meeting with him years ago with a group. it was a meeting followed by a round of golf and a dinner. an all day affair. at the ned of the day as we were commuting from one spot to another in groups of van load size bunches. one of the guys commented, your dad raeally funny. huh? he said a lot of people tell a joke or try to be amusing but your dad is really funny. i guess i had benever realized it was a thing that you could be good at. he was good and passed it on. my wife gets upset with me when we go to things like teacehrs conferences or out to where we meet people we are no particularly close to for an interaction. my tendency is to break the ice with a bit of humor. simple stuff. this last weekend my daughter was in a play and i was the usher who took tickets and handed out programs. i have fun telling peole their tickets are not valid. or telling them their ticket stubb is required to re enter when going out to the restroom. its fun for me to see peoples respionse and they seem to enjoy getting tweeked . life is too short to go through with a grimace. my kids pick it up spencer in particular is a funny guy. devin is funny but you know the guy who gives you a 10 minute set up for a 15 second joke…. it kind of kills it. tara is an appreciater and olivia is the performer so she gets into it with friends and on stage. not so much in daily interaction. emma is the quiet one bt she cracks herself up with a funny thought. my wife came form a humerless world and enjoys the zany life here at jones central. my uncle paul and my brother paul are both classic humorists and practicle jokers. uncle paul was the guy who would run adds int e paper for a 51 dollar payment for tyour used christams trees on january 2nd and thne put one of his friends address in the ad. he would travel with groups of fargoites and when the all boked intot he hotel he would go ann place wake up calls for 330 am in thir rooms while they were out. everyons knew it was him

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my brothers used to occasionally answer the phone with, “Highland Bakery. Which crumb you wanna talk to?”

    And, of course there’s the old Tumbleweeds comic strip with Claude Clay, the undertaker of Grimy Gulch, and his slogan, “You plug ’em, I plant ’em.”

    I come from an entire clan of entertainers. We’re ALL obnoxious.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well, my dad was the funniest one, followed by me. I have to bite my tongue a lot in therapy as i often find things pretty funny but I am afraid most of my clients don’t have the same sense of irony and the absurd that I have. Maybe that is why many of them need mental health services?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. my brother has the bizarro humor with left field notions of what is funny. when I ask him where the heck he pulled the connection from his joke to the topic he is commenting on he often cracks himself up so completely he has a hard time explaining.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Any time you all want me to put up some Monty Python, just say the word! This is the first sketch I ever heard – on a record (vinyl). Before the actual show got to America:

          Liked by 2 people

  9. My family was a lot like Linda’s. My dad was the closest thing we had to a court jester. His humor was earthy (borderline disgusting) and predictable. Certain words would invariably trigger the same response from him. (If you mentioned a bed with a canopy he’d be sure to sing out, “ALL our beds used to have them, but we kept ’em under the bed!”) Certain foods would cause him to cry out the names they had in the Army, and he might deliver One of the vulgar songs he’d learned in the Army (“Horseshit, it makes the grass grow green!”).

    Dad’s humor almost always took the form of funny stories or jokes (many of which I remember to this day). Our family never engaged in puns, wit or quick insults. When I went off to college, living in a dorm with 40 guys, I was totally at sea because virtually the only way they talked was with short, jabbing insults, most of which I couldn’t repeat here. I spent half a year in total confusion, literally not knowing how to talk to the guys in my dorm. It was like being forced to learn a new language. I still haven’t acquired the ability to make short, funny observations (as I prove on these pages every day!).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My mother avoided humor, mostly. But as a kid she acquired a few lines that characterized people she didn’t like with withering wit. My childhood was blighted by a neighborhood bully named Benny Mell. I remember my mother observing once, “Poor Benny. If he had a brain, he’d take it out and play with it.” (I’m sure that wasn’t original to her.)


      1. Dad used to taunt us with his “Ophelia” story. Ophelia loved cherry pie and didn’t like the idea of ever sharing it, so when anyone approached, her mouth (full of pie) dropped open and she’d say, “Pah, Pah, Pha”. The “ah” sound, along with the image of cherry pie dripping out of her mouth was so gross that it turned me off to cherry pie my entire life.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. My mom’s younger brother Buddy was the one you hoped would show up at Thanksgiving… a running stream of gags, puns (he got that from Grandpa), made-up names (we were the mattress-back Britsons). He showed up at a family reunion with a t-shirt “I’m Bob Hope’s Brother No Hope”, probably special made for the occasion.

    My dad had a droll sense of humor, but it was pretty subtle. Mom had the potential, I think, but it came down to me – I was enlisted from day one to make my (fairly sober) sister laugh. I loved to make her giggle, and then later loved to make my dad laugh… still trying for humor today.

    Husband’s family was pretty humorless, but I notice that at least half of them married people who offered comic relief.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Morning–

    I think all my siblings are pretty funny in their own way. One of my sisters and I are have a similar vein and often laugh at the same things.
    My dad loved teasing; not in a mean way, in a loving way. And I do that too.
    I’m very pleased to say our kids have learned our sense of sarcasm well. Yeah, like that will lead to gainful employment.

    So much humor comes with context too; just because it was funny then and there doesn’t make it funny here and now…

    “I guess you had to be there.”

    Liked by 5 people

  12. issac Asimov has a book on the science of humor. I loved it. the way a joke is set up or not set up is the key to its reception. I am sometimes in a situation and need an insert and I will go to my brain file for a oldie to slide in based on perameters chosen. I had a friend who requested punch lines to write down. he then would ask for he joke and remember them backwards. he had volumes of punchlines written down. sometimes the punchlines and the possibilities for how the joke got to that punchline are funnier than the real joke.

    the above joke is an example of the bait and switch I love in the joke files. get the brain working in one direction then give it tho old one two and the result is a smile.

    why do mice have such little balls.

    because not too many of them know how to dance.

    one of my favorites
    I believe I’ve been telling that on since the mid sixties

    Liked by 1 person

  13. my dad was the peanut butter guy. all of us had peanut butter toast with breakfast or for me there were many years where peanut butter was the breakfast on toast bagel or whatever. my kids all do peanut butter like I did. when we go to a restaurant I have learned to ask if they have peanut butter before I place my order. an omelet and hash browns are wonderful but if there is no peanut butter I may order soup instead.

    my dad suggested that when we get his ashes they go up on the mantle in a skippy jar instead of some damn urn. he died just as the transitioned over from glas to plastic and we were disappointed but actually it may be fro the best. denting e plastic is better than sweeping the glass when it falls off the mantle which is inevitable in my life

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Humor is such a complex thing, I think. Personally I prefer subtle humor, probably why the Marx Brothers have never appealed to me, and why I find most (but not all) stand-up comedy routines almost painful to watch. Also there’s a cultural component to what people find funny, and some jokes that were considered hilarious, say, fifty years ago would not elicit a smile today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. I am personally appalled at what passes as humor in Hollywood these days. There are whole SWATHS of movies that I’m not interested in that are called “comedies”. Ick.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Agreed, PJ. My dad grew up in a time when many (possibly most) jokes were based on ethnicity. It upset him later when such jokes were considered discriminatory. He tried to censor his remarks, and I tried to not judge him when he’d slip and make a reference to “dagos” or some other group. I think he honestly failed to see how some people found such statements hurtful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m fine with ethnic jokes so long as they are not mean spirited. I find that a lot of jokes about Iowans, Polish, Swedish, Danes, Norwegians, and Germans are pretty much interchangeable, pretty much good-
        natured teasing.

        Husband loves telling jokes about Indians from India – most of the thrill, I think, is doing his interpretation of how they speak. I find it hilarious that a guy with a pronounced Danish accent tries to do an Indian accent. Even some “dumb blonde” jokes are funny, but I object to mean-spirited racist and sexist jokes; you know them when you hear them.


    3. Humor is complex, and because it often is a reflection of prevailing attitudes and depends so heavily on context, it can provide insights into the tenor of a time that you can seldom get directly.
      That’s why I like to collect books of humor from the nineteenth century, with a special emphasis on the ones whose humor translates poorly, if at all into the twenty-first century. It doesn’t matter that the humor fails; what I find fascinating is puzzling out why it was so hilarious at the time. It puts one into a different mindset.


  15. My sense of humor is perverted. Most jokes aren’t funny to me, and as soon as someone says, “Let me tell you a joke”, I go into full pretend laugh mode. A major obstacle for me is a penchant for taking things literally. In other words, I rarely understand the joke. The second obstacle is the other person’s expectation that I’ll find his/her joke funny. This obligates me to fake a laugh because the joke-teller is looking for validation and I don’t want to let him down.

    The kind of things I find funny are watching someone fall down the stairs (the bump, bump, bump kind, not head over heels!) or videos of cars sliding round an icy road and bumping into each other. I also find it hilarious when every fall, two squirrels right outside my window battle loudly and endlessly over who gets to occupy a hole in the big tree that winter. I think it’s funny when someone farts in a group of people.

    I guess I like organic humor, not contrived to make people laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My paternal grandfather was a great one for practical jokes. When my dad was a boy grandpa once threw a rotten egg to my dad when they were playing baseball instead of the ball. My dad of course hit the egg, which made a pretty stinky mess. They both thought that was hilarious for years afterwards.


    1. My dad was a practical joker, and all the males in his family loved to tell jokes. At family gatherings the men would all sit together, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and telling jokes. The same jokes and stories that they had told each other for years. It seemed as if the joy was in anticipating the punch lines, which they all knew, or the point in the story where they’d get to repeat, word for word, in dialect, a certain quote.

      Whenever we visited onkel Ejnar and tante Ingeborg, dad would always ask Ejnar if he had any new records. Ejnar would always answer yes, and trot out Itsy Bitsy Spider (in Danish, of course), and they’d play it on Ejnar’s ancient Victrola. Neither of them ever tired of this. I visited Ejnar shortly before his death; he was 98 years old, a widower and still living alone. He reminisced about old times, and asked me if I remembered Lille Peter Edderkop, it pleased him that I did.

      Liked by 4 people

  17. Nephew Vin loves spoonerisms – like “The thot plickens.” He could recite Rindercella who had those two sisty uglers, and slopped her dripper.

    There are sight gags and physical humor (Marx Brother that PJ mentioned) that my dad considered too silly. Then there are sound gags. My mom loves Victor Borge’s Phonetic Punctuation; so do I:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. had tickets to victor borge at orchestra hall before he died. we didnt get word that they had canceled and showed up to be disappointed. victor never made it back. funny man


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