Now I've 'Groan' Accustomed to My Father's Humor
My dad is an hour late when he shows up at my house.
"I can't believe the traffic!" he says, as he takes off his coat. "There I was, stuck behind a huge mattahue. What a nerve-wracking experience."
He follows me into the kitchen and accepts a ginger ale.
"I'm sorry the drive over was so hard," I say. "By the way, what's a 'mattahue'?"
"I don't know. What's a-matta you?"
If restaurants were divided into joking or nonjoking sections, I know where my father would sit.
As a child, I did not appreciate his persistent sense of humor. He lay in wait for me every morning. Wearing a respectable gray suit and reading the newspaper, he looked like an ordinary adult.
I knew better.
"Want a bagel?" he asked once, as I dragged in.
I analyzed the question, wary that a joke lurked in it. "OK," I answered. I'd learned that one-word replies made me less vulnerable to punnery. My father calmly sliced, toasted, and buttered a bagel for me. I took a bite and relaxed.
"Interesting article about the space program," he said.
I nodded and kept chewing.
"Johns Hopkins is doing a study on the nutritional impact of space. Do you know what those fellows eat?"
"Some sort of capsule or algae," I said.
"According to this article, all they eat is 'launch meat.' "
One bite later, the pun sunk in. He'd gotten me again! I clutched my stomach and groaned. Dad smiled.