My son is nearly 15 and has always loved a good potty-humor joke. I will admit that he gets that from me. A well-crafted and properly timed fart joke can break the tightest tension and clear the air in a room. Well, at least it can clear a room. Kind of like an IMproperly timed fart can do in and of itself. (See what I did there? Quite a groaner, I know.)
The general problem with my son’s love of this kind of humor is that he rarely knows the proper time and place for such a thing. If he finds something funny, he is still of an age where he believes that everyone will. We have been working on appropriateness and audience, but my experience has been that teenage boys aren’t always the quickest learners, at least where that type nuance is concerned.
At any rate, I can say that I was not entirely surprised when he came to me this weekend, grinning from ear to ear and asking me – I can’t believe I’m going to say this – to pull his finger. Someone else taught him to ask the question, and they specifically told him to ask me, thinking I wouldn’t know what it meant. Trust me, son. It is not news to me.
Do I need to explain it? I suppose I might. I suppose there are folks out there who were raised with enough class to not be aware, or who may have avoided some of the more basely humored sitcoms where it may have been seen.
Wikipedia defines “Pull my finger” as “a prank regarding flatulence in which a mark is asked to pull the finger of the joker, who simultaneously farts so as to suggest a causal relationship between the two events.”
You may now better understand the propensity for teenage boys to enjoy it.
Fortunately, my son’s first foray into the prank occurred when we were in the car, so the audience was limited to me. The timing still could have been better (namely when the space was a little less confined), because when I refused to pull his finger, he pulled it himself. Insert forehead smack here.
I explained that this was one of those jokes that could not be told in general company. That church was not a good place for it, nor was it likely to be well received by girls, period. I mentioned that anywhere farting was frowned upon – like the dinner table – this joke would be equally unappreciated.
And then I asked the name of the person I should thank for sharing this little tidbit with him. He told me, and the offending party is a generally good guy, so I’ll let it slide. Maybe I’ll get my son to ask me next time the guy is at the house and I’ll oblige him. And then immediately leave the room.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.