This may come as a shocking revelation to some, but I'm a very sarcastic person with a pretty dry and ironic sense of humor that borders on narcissistic cynicism.
|This picture has circulated Facebook more times than the words #StopKony, but still it pretty much describes me perfectly.|
As of late, I've noticed myself using sarcasm less and less, and I'm almost positive it stems from our two new recent additions to the family. You see, if you do something, and you are positively reinforced for that behavior, you tend to use that behavior again, seeking the same response. Now I'm sure that has a clinical name, but I call it the "Conditioned Response."
So it makes sense that if you do something, and you are negatively conditioned, then you won't do it again, because you don't want the negative experience. Again, I'm no psychologist. So stay with me.
Before The Missus and I got the kids, I was a sarcasm machine. My wit was withering, y'all. I could wilt plants at a hundred paces with my abilities. Really, it was a work of art. I dabbled in sarcasm the way Van Gogh dabbled in paints. The way the Democratic party dabbles in socialism. The way Nic Cage dabbles in acting.
I think you understand.
However, there have been some changes. It turns out, the kids don't understand sarcasm. The Missus keeps saying, "They're concrete, Travis. Concrete."
Here's an example:
Yesterday, as we were about to leave for church, I was walking through the house in my underwear trying to find clothes. As I approached the living room, I could see that the front door was open, so I asked Aven to close the door. I said, "Aven, please close the door."
"The front door?"
"No, son. All of the other doors in the house."
And he started walking back to the bedrooms to close all the doors.
"AVEN! YES THE FRONT DOOR JUST CLOSE THE FRONT DOOR PLEASE NOW CLOSE THE FRONT DOOR!"
"Travis. They're concrete. Concrete, Travis."
The girl child is just as bad, but with her it's mainly making terrible jokes. Jokes that the boy child finds hilarious. Keeli spent fifteen minutes yesterday on the car ride home "April Fooling" Aven.
"Aven. There is poop on your shoe. APRIL FOOLS!"
"Aven. The cow is in the car. APRIL FOOLS!"
This went on and on until Aven started whining. Finally, I said, "Keeli, stop. You have no idea what April Fools is, and until you do, you're not allowed to April Fool anyone." Then The Missus added, "What your dad is saying is that you suck at April Fooling."
Then I pretended to pass out at the wheel and swerved into oncoming traffic while they screamed at me to wake up; and then I popped my head up and yelled "APRIL FOOLS!" It was a valuable lesson.
But seriously, if I don't get to a comedy club or try to start writing stand-up bits again soon, I think I'm going to be in real trouble. My father-in-law taught the kids some sort of fart joke the other day, and they're still laughing about it now. The sad thing is, The Missus can tell I hate it, but she thinks it's hilarious, and does her best to always hide her amusement when they start in on it.
I have come to appreciate the laughter of a child. I've even started to appreciate the fact that their innocence shields them from the oft-pointed barbs of a sarcastic or sardonic reply. I realize that there might even be an advantage, living in a world where sarcasm doesn't exist. How living in that world might mean less hurt feelings, and fewer questions about loyalty.
But if I can't live in that world, why should they?