I think I’m losing my touch.
I’m not sure if it’s because my kids are getting ready to leave home — my son is headed off to college in the fall, while my daughter will be leaving to be an exchange student in Austria.
Or maybe it’s because I don’t work with as many kids in my current job, by which I mean that most of my coworkers are over the age of 30.
Whatever the cause, my dad joke game just isn’t what is used to be.
Case in point: recently, my daughter mentioned that she had seen a study that found that cows from different regions have different accents. She apparently had read this online.
Now, there has to be a whole wide world of internet-related cow humor, or cow-related internet humor, depending on how you want to look at it.
But in the moment, I froze. I had nothing. No bad puns, no play on words, not even a 1980s song lyric.
I bought a little time for myself by responding with “really?” But I could tell she was expecting something more.
Eventually, I came up with something — “Did you moogle that?” — but without the timing, a dad joke is just a bad joke.
It’s such a tough thing as a parent when you fail in the eyes of your child.
I haven’t completely lost my touch. While watching the new season of “Stranger Things,” we noted that the mayor is was being played by Cary Elwes, who is most famous, at least in our house, for playing Westley in “The Princess Bride.”
There’s a plot twist at the very end (I’ll try not to spoil it here), and I speculated that the character involved might be the mayor — “Or would that be inconceivable?”
It has all the makings of a good dad joke — the timing, the reference to a recurring line in a classic movie, the cheesy delivery — but my kids weren’t around to hear it. I’m pretty sure the dogs thought it was hilarious, though.
This summer has been a transitional one for me. With both of my kids headed out into the world, what it means to be “Dad” is changing. Apparently, my sense of humor is part of the transition.
It’s not a bad thing to be moving on to the next stage. And I’ll be sure not to get too comfortable — my daughter will be oversees for the coming school year, but she’ll be back for her senior year of high school.
Even without life revolving around kids’ schedules, I’ve found that I’m just as busy. I have more time for volunteering with local organizations. There’s a long list of projects around the house that have been started over the last 18 years but never quite finished. My yard is slowly starting to look better than it has in a while. Maybe it’s time for me to start wearing plaid shorts and socks with sandals.
I’m really excited for my kids, and the opportunities they have ahead of them. But I am starting to feel a bit nostalgic. For example, I remember watching “The Princess Bride” for a family movie night, with kids and dogs all cuddled together on the couch. I hope the kids remember that, too — if not the actual moment, at least the feeling of being warm and cozy and having everything right with the world.
And I hope that, as they embark on their new adventures, when they hear a particularly bad joke, the thought that pops into their heads is, “That’s as bad as one of my Dad’s jokes!” That would be a dad joke for the win — or FTW, as the kids say.
In the mean time, I’m still looking for some good cow-related internet humor. Maybe I should moogle it.
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.