What was the geometry student looking for at the beach?
Who Writes This Stuff?
Throughout my childhood, whenever there was a book fair at school and my mother allowed me to purchase a book or two, I seemed to always gravitate towards the joke and riddle books. I came from a family of jokesters, so jokes, riddles and pranks were the norm. But, with every new joke I heard and each new riddle I read from one of my favorite books, I was consumed with wanting to know who wrote these clever and comical jokes, who wrote these words that magically made me laugh inside and out? I always envisioned that somewhere out there, far away, there were people who were extremely intelligent and had a brilliantly witty mind creating these jokes and writing funny stories.
Once I became a mother myself, I found all three of my sons also clamored to the humorous and comical books, almost above any other genre. Calvin and Hobbes, Captain Underpants; The New Kid on the Block; and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales were just some of my sons’ favorite hilarity to read, and often we read these over and over—and over.
Gifted children are not gifted across the board and do not always excel in all areas—there’s intellectually gifted, musically gifted, artistically gifted, gifted in science or math or technology. And just in case you may not have thought about it before, I believe we also have comically gifted children and adults, too. Robin Williams, Groucho Marx, Lucille Ball and Chris Rock to name a few well-known comically gifted people. I consider my own sons comically gifted. They may not be celebrities, or will ever make a living from their wittiness, but they do make life quite hysterical.
It all started with my oldest who was on the shy side when he was a little boy. While talking to neighbors—no, wait, he wasn’t really talking, but I’ll continue—so, while talking to neighbors one day, I was a little annoyed that my then 8 year old would not answer the adults’ questions they were asking him. Questions like, “how’s school?” or “do you like your teacher?” were met with one or more shrugs of his shoulders. Finally, I asked my 8 year old to answer the neighbors’ questions because that was the polite thing to do, and he looked at all of us with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and said, “I am answering. I’m just using shoulder language!”
Comical giftedness was genetic in our family and my middle son has always kept us in stitches. Son #2 had a friend in high school named Shem. Shem could most often be seen riding shotgun in my son’s truck. Shem would sometimes unexpectedly be found sitting in the desk of one of my son’s many classmates. Or, classmates would be scared out of their wits finding Shem sitting in their back seats when hopping into their car to head home after school. Shem had no trouble doing my son’s bidding if it meant bringing someone to tears of laughter. One would think Shem was the comically gifted person, but you would be mistaken. Shem was just a torso mannequin with a bad wig and eyes with two pupils each painted on.
Ahh, now comes son #3. The reign of comical giftedness keeps flowing through our family’s blood. His jokes. That boy’s jokes always bowled me over. I am amazed at how quickly he can manipulate the English language to create his clever jokes and riddles. Here is one of his most recent:
What do you call a parent who is sitting in the passenger seat with their new teen driver?
Comically Gifted—The Other Giftedness
Most often, when we think of giftedness, we think of intellectual giftedness or more popularly, we think of children who are highly intelligent and do well in school. Maybe giftedness brings to mind those who are gifted in the arts or sciences. But, have you ever considered that giftedness includes those gifted individuals who excel at making us laugh? Comically gifted—the other giftedness.
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey
The New Kid on the Block, Jack Prelutsky
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka
This post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2016 Blog Hop–Loving the Unexpected Gifts of Giftedness. Click the image below to read all the posts about the surprising upsides and light-hearted facets of giftedness.