Sunday, January 5, 2014

When Abe Lincoln meets Jack Daniels

"We don't find vulgarity funny."
I should have known that's what my mother would say when I offered to share a Comedy Central video clip that I had to preface by asking her not to be offended. I should have possibly rethought my decision to show (with my children watching, in fact reciting the clip word for word) a video entitled Drunk History. But, come on, what's not funny about drunk people explaining historical events?

Click here to see for yourself.

And my mom's response? "Well, that's an interesting type of humor to teach your children. Now they know what drunk people sound like."

At moments like that, I wonder how can I truly be a product of this family?

Can I help it if I appreciate the strategic use of a handheld fart machine? Is it my fault that I believe an F-bomb dropped for effect can be, well, effective? Is it so bad that my daughter was in only the 4th grade when she was teaching Cheech and Chong's "Sister Mary Elephant" to her fellow students on the Catholic School playground? Is it so wrong that How I Met Your Mother is considered family entertainment at my house? Ok, it probably is wrong. In fact, when my oldest two were the age my youngest two are now, I wouldn't have permitted it. I remember my very first viewing of Family Guy with my oldest. I hated it. I thought it was unnecessarily, stupidly vulgar. I was disgusted with  the movie, Anchor Man  the first time I saw it, but just this week actually paid for all of us to see the sequel. In truth, I was pretty disgusted with that too, and I will never get those 2 and a half hours back or the IQ points I lost watching it. However, it was 2 and a half hours spent with my children belly laughing and that is priceless.

It seems the older I get, the less my appropriateness filter works. That fact was proven over Christmas when my kids and I were playing the Awkward Family Photos card game. The picture was of an unattractive man in a disturbingly tight Speedo, standing in a flower garden and holding a bouquet. The question asked for a title, and before I could stop myself, I responded, "Scratch and Sniff." In front of my children. And their friends. I'm not sure if the teens laughed more at my own embarrassment or theirs. But, hey, at least I was adequately embarrassed by my lack of filter. I'm sure my mother would not have laughed at all. In fact, she might have disowned me or at least put my name before her prayer group...again.

Now, before you all judge me too harshly, let me just say that  we really dig the high brow stuff, too. We can chuckle inwardly at sophisticated wit. We really can. In fact, unless you understand the intellectual irony of Abe Lincoln dropping the f-bomb, you really can't fully enjoy the humor of Drunk History, right?

I wonder at what age we can stop worrying about offending our parents with our language or off-colored jokes, or appreciation of vulgar humor. I also wonder where I got the idea of weighing the funny against the inappropriate, and if the funny factor weighs heavier, well... I sure didn't get it from Mom and Dad.

Seriously though, how am I a product of my parents?

Come to think of it, I wonder what our neighborhood milk man's sense of humor was like back in the fall of '68? Dad was out of town a lot.

Ooops, sorry. That wasn't funny. Was it, Mom?

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