I asked my informant to tell me a riddle or story he knew of:
Me: When did you hear this Riddle or Rhyme?
Informant: Fifth grade
Me: In Fifth grade… where?
Informant: Just, a teacher told me
Me: How does it go?
Informant: How much wood would a wood chuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck could?
Me: Could chuck… what?
Informant: Chuck Could, chuck… wood?
The fact that my informant learned this popular Rhyme as early as the fifth grade is testament to it’s longevity. It no doubt keeps its popularity since it remains hard to recite even for those who know it, such as my informant, who, still accidentally mispronounced the last word.
My informant told me this knock-knock joke one day when there we were in an awkward situation. He later explained that his sister always told people this joke when there was an awkward silence or to break the ice when meeting new people.
Jokes, I feel, are often an overlooked division of folklore. Since jokes are so common nowadays in our society, they become almost part of our everyday speech. They also seem to come out of nowhere, but somehow everyone knows them. Jokes permeate our culture and often represent certain aspects of politics, society and popular culture. In this case, the reference to Britney Spears truly demonstrates that certain jokes are only understood by special groups of people. If you told this joke to someone who do not know who Britney Spears is, the joke would lose all meaning.