This one is for John. Happy birthday, son.
I happened across a thing the other day. I don’t yet know if it’s a real thing or a made up thing. It’s just a thing. A quirky thing. And as you may know I like quirky things.
It started with my son telling me a joke on his sixteenth birthday. He said:
There are four stages in life: You believe in Santa Claus. You don’t believe in Santa Claus. You are Santa Claus. You look like Santa Claus.
I think he was placing me somewhere between the last two stages. Gee, thanks a bunch, son.
And that got me thinking about “stages of life” jokes. Do they exist? Should they exist? Can we make them exist?
If a joke is told in a forest and nobody hears it, is it really a joke?
The first stages of man joke was possibly the riddle of the Sphynx. What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the middle of the day and three legs in the evening?
Admittedly, it’s not a very funny joke, but it does have the merit of being very old.
If you haven’t heard it before, the answer is man. Crawling like a baby, walking upright as a child, walking with a stick when he’s older.
As I said, not the funniest of jokes.
Apparently, Oedipus was the first person to solve the riddle, at which point the Sphynx died. Which sounds like pretty poor planning on the Sphynx’s part, if you ask me.
That gives us two “stages of life” jokes – Santa and the Sphynx. We know that nature hates seeing things in twos. If there are two of anything then we ought to be able to extrapolate to a third and a fourth.
So I googled “stage of life jokes”. And I found this:
THE MALE STAGES OF LIFE
DRINK Age 17: Beer. Age 25: Vodka. Age 35: Scotch. Age 48: Double scotch. Age 66: Mylanta.
SEDUCTION LINE Age 17: “My parents are away for the weekend.” Age 25: “My girlfriend is away for the weekend.” Age 35: “My fiancee is away for the weekend.” Age 48: “My wife is away for the weekend.” Age 66: “My wife is dead.”
FAVORITE SPORT Age 17: Sex. Age 25: Sex. Age 35: Sex. Age 48: Channel surfing. Age 66: Napping.
DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL DATE Age 17: “Tongue.” Age 25: “Breakfast.” Age 35: “She didn’t set back my therapy.” Age 48: “I didn’t have to meet her kids.” Age 66: “Got home alive.”
FAVOURITE FANTASY Age 17: A winning goal after the siren. Age 25: Sex in an airplane. Age 35: Menage a trois. Age 48: Taking over the company. Age 66: Swiss maid/Nazi love slave
WHAT’S THE IDEAL AGE TO GET MARRIED? Age 17: 25 Age 25: 35 Age 35: 48 Age 48: 66 Age 66: 17
IDEAL DATE Age 17: Triple Stephen King feature at a drive-in. Age 25: “Split the cheque before we go back to my place.” Age 35: “Just come over.” Age 48: “Just come over and cook.” Age 66: Sex in the company jet on the way to Las Vegas.
THE FEMALE STAGES OF LIFE
DRINK Age 17: Wine Coolers. Age 25: White wine. Age 35: Red wine. Age 48: Dom Perignon. Age 66: Shot of Jack Daniel’s with a Napkin chaser.
EXCUSES FOR REFUSING DATES Age 17: “Need to wash my hair.” Age 25: “Need to wash and condition my hair.” Age 35: “Need to color my hair.” Age 48: “Need to have Stefan color my hair.” Age 66: “Need to have Stefan color my wig.”
FAVORITE SPORT Age 17: Shopping. Age 25: Shopping. Age 35: Shopping. Age 48: Shopping. Age 66: Shopping.
DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL DATE Age 17: “McDonalds.” Age 25: “Free meal.” Age 35: “A diamond.” Age 48: “A bigger diamond.” Age 66: “Home Alone.”
FAVOURITE FANTASY Age 17: Tall, dark and handsome. Age 25: Tall, dark and handsome – with money. Age 35: Tall, dark and handsome – with money and a brain. Age 48: A man with hair. Age 66: A man.
WHAT’S THE IDEAL AGE TO GET MARRIED Age 17: 17 Age 25: 25 Age 35: 35 Age 48: 48 Age 66: 66
IDEAL DATE Age 17: He offers to pay Age 25: He pays Age 35: He cooks breakfast the next morning Age 48: He cooks breakfast the next morning for the kids Age 66: He can chew breakfast
And then there was this one:
Teens: you have all the time and energy, but you have no money
Workers: you have the money and the energy, but no time
Oldies: you have the money and the time, but no energy
Maybe it’s a nascent thing. Not yet a fully-fledged thing, but the beginnings of a thing. A proto thing. A neo thing. Perhaps together we could make it a thing.
The weird thing is, these stages of life jokes are moderately addictive. Once you start playing with them, you just can’t stop. Here are a few of mine:
Nappies, sensible pants, knickers, thongs, knickers, sensible pants, nappies.
You don’t look at teenage girls. You look at teenage girls, but they don’t look at you. You both look at each other. Your wife doesn’t like you looking at teenage girls. Teenage girls assume you’re a taxi driver.
Stages of your sex life: One day … Several times a day. Is today the day? I remember the day.
You laugh at your Dad’s jokes because they’re funny and you’ve never heard them before. You laugh at your Dad’s jokes because you’ve heard them many times. You laugh at your Dad because he keeps repeating his jokes. Your kid laughs at your jokes because they’re funny and he’s never heard them before.
What do we think? Could “stages in life” jokes become the next big thing? Or could it be that things have stages in life too? Maybe it goes something like this:
Not a thing. A new thing. Hey, everyone look at this thing! Starting to be a boring thing. I remember that thing.
Or in the language of this blog:
Ancient – the riddle of the Sphynx
Childish – the riddle of Santa
Grown up – the riddle of why I don’t get as much sex as I used to
Ancient – nah, heard it before.