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My four-year-old grandson loves a good joke. Actually, Emerson loves any joke. He has mastered the forms and conventions of joke-telling perfectly. Chicken crossed the road? Em can tell you twenty reasons why. Knock-knock? Make his day and say “who’s there?” Emerson will never run out of  jokes because he knows the formula and can make them up at will. Humor? Optional.

Nothing tickles me more than exchanging jokes with Emerson on video chat.  (Love my webcam, baby!) He gets as close as he can to the computer on his end so his head floats larger than life on the screen in front of me. (“I am OZ, the great and terrible, who are you and what do you want?”) Usually I am expected to lob the first volley.

Nana: “How do you tell which end of the worm is its head?”

Em feigns bewilderment, even though he has heard this one before.

Nana: “Tickle its tummy and see which end laughs.”

Em chuckles agreeably and returns fire in his scratchy little voice.

Em: “Knock Knock!”

Nana: “Who’s there?”

Em: “Banana”

Nana: “Banana who?”

Emerson’s eyes dart around the room, scanning for any random object on which to pin his punchline. Ah-hah. Got it. He turns back to the computer with a victorious grin.

Em: “Banana in a stinky sock.”

He totally cracks himself up, collapsing back in his chair in self-satisfied glee. I laugh out loud and wait for his next invention. The wait never lasts very long. The whole process delights me.

One problem plagues our joke exchanges. It happens when Em says, “Tell me another joke.”  My mind does not retain jokes. Or if I do remember the beginning, the punchline escapes me. Or worse, I forget how it starts and the punchline tumbles out before the set-up. Hopeless. If I try to make up a random joke, Em style, he gives me a lame chuckle and a skeptical look like, “Really Nana, you can do better than that.”  Then he waits. Nana on the spot.

So, this post is actually a plea for help. Please leave me a comment with your favorite clean-and-politically-correct joke in it. (It’s not hard, I promise. Just click on the “Leave a comment” or “# comments” button and type in your joke.) Better yet, leave me two or three jokes. Emerson’s appetite is insatiable and I would love to collect a serious stockpile for the long winter months ahead. Make me laugh–I promise I’ll remember the punchline.