running joke

Any long term relationship has it’s own internal language, and that includes awesome long-standing jokes. I am a firm believer that if something is funny once, it is hilariousness when you’re still throwing it out there 10 years later.

So, the thing about Gretchen is that she remembers every lyric to every song, even songs she’s only heard once. I can’t remember the words to any songs, even songs I just lead the congregation through in worship, even songs I wrote and recorded and sang 50 times.

So, of course, one of my favorite things to do is start the first line of a song, and then immediately veer off into left field, just making up lyrics as I go along.

When we were dating, she thought it was cute. When we were dating a little longer, it was a little less cute. Then we got married, and she would just groan at me. This continued for like 7 years. Then, we had a pair of little ankle-biters. Sophia is sharp enough now to get what I’m doing, and she falls of the chair laughing, then says, “Nooooooo, Dadddddyyyyy!” In almost exactly the same exasperated tone that my wife uses. It’s hilarious.

So, I’m firmly convinced that this will be the running family gag for, like, the next 50 years. Sorry babe.

What about you all? Any long-standing gags that keep coming back around, 10 years in?

14 thoughts on “running joke

  1. june

    Brian has some chord progression thingy he often adds to the end of songs when he’s playing the piano at home…which makes me, and then him, laugh every single time. We were dating when I first heard him do it and it made me think that Mr. Straight A’s, Talented-Shmalented, Has The World On A String Steckler didn’t take himself too seriously. If he will get on here and say what it is, I’m sure you’ll all get it and laugh hard. Or, at least harder than you are right now, which is not at all.

    Another family gag in the making is being created by our 8-year-old son who routinely asks “What do you think George Lucas (or Harrison Ford or …) is doing RIGHT now?!” He also asks us to guess what Ginger, our dog, is thinking at any given moment. It’s annoying really, but it has the potential to become quite humorous. I think.

  2. Sam

    A running joke in our family started while my wife and I were still dating. I was playing the video game Tenchu: Stealth Assassins on the original Playstation. It is all about being a cool ninja and my wife would play with me.

    One time while we were actually playing it my wife bumped a glass of water, but caught it before it could tip over. I said, “Ooh, Tenchu reflexes!” So, now any time either of us does anything similarly reflexy we comment on our Tenchu Reflexes, because of a game we played for a few hours over a decade ago!

    I also have no doubt that our children will eventually pick up on the Tenchu joke, but will have no idea where it came from or what it means!

  3. sharolyn

    The thing about running jokes is that you never know if they’re going to be funny to someone else. But I’ll share one that is in the works.

    In one group of friends, we were among the first to have children. If you haven’t noticed, this changes a couple’s lifestyle. We were given a hard time for leaving parties early, not being able to go to the city on ten minutes notice, etc. (Aside: Those couples are having babies now. Heh, heh.)

    One night we were the only ones to not attend a party. Our friends noticed this, and T.P.’d us ROYALLY while we were happily in bed watching a movie. I mean there was toilet paper in every square inch of our front yard and high up in the trees. The thing is, as they drove away in the back of a truck, they took a picture. Our upstairs master bedroom window faces the front yard, and this filled our room with a flicker of bright light.

    This freaked Jason and I both out and here were our honest-to-God simultaneous thoughts:

    Jason: Someone bombed San Francisco.
    Sharolyn: Jesus is back.

    The next day, Jason emailed our friends simply: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”


    Since that night, one couple has moved to San Diego. The other two still live nearby. Conveniently, Jason has a former trombone student (and friend) who now attends San Diego State. One night this Fall, all three couples will get T.P.’ed on the same night. I’ll let you know how it goes. That is, if anyone is still reading. :)

  4. JC

    The running joke in our family is that we can turn nearly every word uttered by someone into a line from “Night at the Museum”. The girls love that movie and we have watched it…without exaggeration….20 times in the last 2 years. This gets old after a while, but with a small hiatus, we can usually get a grin when we pull out a one-liner. I have a feeling this will be a long-running gag.

  5. Cerise

    Oh, EXCELLENT. My brother and I are so hard on our parents – we had to do the missionary-traveling-to-speak-at-churches thing every time we came back to the States and Mom and Dad would work up these heart-rending presentations they’d give together at the podium. One was entitled “Lifted…and Held” about how we were snatched from the jaws of death countless times thanks to prayers from our supporters (seriously – every time we had a close call Mom and Dad would find SOMEONE who had been led to pray for us AT THAT VERY MOMENT – allowing for time zones). They’d cry every time retelling the incident where Nathan (my brother) and I got caught in a lightning storm in a teensy Cessna on the way home from boarding school. Every time – hundreds of times – Mom would pause and bite her lip and Dad would put his arm around her. No, it’s funny. You can laugh. Then I’d cap things off by singing “The Mission” by Steve Green. Man, we STILL rib them about all the soundbites they’d pull out. Plus, ‘Lifted and Held’ works in so many humorous avenues. Bras. Jockstraps. GYN stirrups. Hairspray. Stuck elevators…

  6. june

    Just catching up on the blog…Cerise wins: while with Mike and Gretchen over the weekend, something happened (I do not recall what) and Mike looked at G and said “I feel lifted…and held,” and I thought it was really funny and had not yet read this. And again I say, Cerise wins. We’ll be incorporating “lifted and held” into our lives from this day forward.

  7. june

    I think B and I should host an Addy Road gathering at our place…and it shall be called…

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