general
Humor
Riddle

Jokes/Riddles

The informant is a caucasian female in her 50s. She was born in Southern California to an upper middle class family. The informant was raised presbyterian, but now professes to follow no religion. She attended Stanford University and then settled back in Los Angeles. She works part-time as a high school drama teacher. The informant is married with one child.

The informant learned these joke riddles as a child in the 1960s. In her youth she would retell them to her friends and family frequently. She considers them to be riddles and will supply them if anyone asks for a riddle, even to this day. She remembered these examples specifically because they have interesting and unexpected answers and made her laugh as a child. She says that she was not able to guess the answers to any of these three and that prompted her to remember and retell them.

Text:

What do you loose every time you stand up?    Your lap.

Why do birds fly south?    Because its too far to walk.

When you throw a white hat into the red sea, what does it become?    Wet.

Analysis: It is interesting that the informant still tells these childhood jokes/riddles when well in adulthood. Her fascination with the unexpected answers has transferred these examples into long term memory. It is the subversion of the expected answer type, replacing it with the unusual and ridiculous, that intrigued the informant as a child. This aspect of subverting the norm is common in children’s folklore, representing the exploration of boundaries through the safe means on jokes, songs, stories, etc. While these jokes represent a very mild version of such a rebellion, there is still present a slight twist that pushes against how the mind is taught to think when posed such questions. That the informant remembered these jokes to this day indicates that the resonance she had with the unexpected and surprising nature of these examples. That she still retells them today perhaps indicates that, even as an adult, she is still drawn to the slightly subversive nature of these jokes.

Comments are closed.

[geolocation]