Thursday, May 05, 2016

Eddie Murphy has a joke about how he used to scare girls by waving a stick around, telling them he had rubbed against a dead bird, and then chasing them with it by saying, "Dead birrrrd, dead birrrd, gonna put it on youuuu". It may not sound funny when I repeat it--in fact Eddie Murphy also has a joke about people butchering his jokes--but just click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph, and maybe you'll laugh. If you don't, f**k it, the joke is funny to me and my main man Sabin. In fact in college, every time Sabin and I would see a dead animal or any dead bird for that matter, we'd start saying, "dead birrrd, dead biiird, gonna put it on youuu." No one around us got it, but we did, which again, was all that mattered.

So this morning as my son and I were walking to school, we saw not one, not two but three dead birds beside his school building. Apparently the school windows are so clean that the birds, who clearly are not being praised by MENSA for their overwhelming intelligence, are flying directly into them. This is prematurely ending their precious lives and probably scaring the shit out of parents and some kids who have to step over the carcasses. Some kids went and stepped directly on the dead birds, which was funny to me, but not really. Some kids screamed and ran in the other direction, and then there's my son Nyles.

Young Nyles didn't scream, he didn't step on the dead bird, but he took a few steps towards it, then immediately took two steps away, and proceeded to start the following conversation with me:

Nyles: Daddy, what's that?

Me: That's a dead bird Nyles

Nyles: Well who killed the bird?

Me: The bird accidentally killed itself by running into the window

Nyles: Noooo, someone else killed the bird (he's already subscribing to conspiracy theories, I like that)

Me: Maybe, but I think the bird flew into the window and died

Nyles: Well why did the bird do that?

Me: He's dead so I can't ask him

I thank god that my last statement, along with the fact that it was time to actually enter the school, effectively ended our conversation. The inquistive mind of a four-year old is relentless and not bound by time, how annoying their line of questioning is, or how repetitive they are--which is fine since it is their job to be curious. But I was trying to get Nyles to class, and then I needed to get to work, so we had to cut it short. Plus, from the time I saw the bird, until I dropped Nyles off, I had to keep myself from laughing in his face because all I really wanted to do was say to him, "Dead birrrrd, dead biiiird, gonna put it on youuuuu." But he wouldn't have gotten it..not yet anyway.

I texted the abridged version of this story to my main man Sabin when I got to work, and he laughed, and then told me how he was in the process of introducing his two daughters to clean Sinbad and Eddie Murphy jokes. He told me a story about how his wife told one of his daughters that her room was a dump, and her daughter responded, "When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!" That is the level I need to get to with Nyles, so in addition to the educational and musical content I've been shoving down his throat the past few years, I may need to pepper in some fine comedic stylings as well. While he is in the nascent stages of his comedy education, I need to stress to him how harmful it is to latch on to bad, unfunny comedy. That just sets a bad precedent that I simply cannot be responsible for as his father.

And now, one of my favorite routines from Richard Pryor. The line about the luggage (around the 0:53 mark) makes me laugh every time. But don't just fast forward to that part otherwise you'll miss the essence of the joke...

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