In Douglas’s Jokes excerpt he provides an extension to our previous reading on Freud’s theory of humor. He restates, from Freud, that jokes become funny when our conscious control gives way to our unconscious thoughts: then, there is a moment of relief in the freedom to unchain the unconscious. Douglas presses onward to say that children (among others) are funny because they are not in control of the line between conscious and unconscious. Essentially they say whatever comes to their mind because, at least what I took away from it, their brains have not fully formed that divide of consciousness yet.
I think that this statement is definitely true and this one small part of the readings for today caught my eye because it most definitely related to my service at Tunbridge Charter School. I have seen Douglas’s theory on children proven during my times in the classroom. I was assigned to work with a kindergarten class and kindergarteners are usually the funniest age group because they really have no filters, they say what’s on their mind and that lack of restraint is what makes their comments so funny to adults. I think it is when kids are not trying and speaking their mind that they are funny rather than when they try to tell a joke. The kids in my class crack me up although I don’t think they intend to: they’re just telling life like it is from their perspective in the world.
The first example of this would be my first day of service. Earlier that day I had a minor surgical procedure on my toe. I was fine I just had to wear flip flops instead of a closed-toed shoe and sport a large blue bandage over my big toe. I arrived in the classroom when they were all lining up for lunch and the teacher told them all to say hi to Ms. Toni. They all yelled hi, some waved, and then one student—obviously just curious—yelled out “What happened to her toe?!” To which the teacher replied, “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Ms. Toni.” To which I got “What happened to your toe?!” I explained that I had a boo boo on it and had to keep it bandaged. Within seconds shirts and pants were lifted up, arms, elbows, knees, stomachs all exposed so everyone could show me their boo boos. I found this hysterical. I was like the shiny new toy in class that everyone wanted attention from. The kindergarteners were being completely serious showing me their boo boos, no joke involved, but their lack of a filter in asking about my toe and what proceeded caused me to laugh about it.
I then walked to lunch with them and sat with a small group at the lunch table. Amidst talking about the movie Box Trolls and telling me their names this one kid, said, “I want to, you know, make it passed kindergarten and, you know, go to the real first grade.” Another hysterical moment for me. Now this kid wasn’t trying to be funny, he was stating facts: he wanted to go to first grade, just like I would say I want to make it to graduation. Yet the manner in which he said it and the funny possibility that he didn’t already know he would be making it into the “real” first grade was funny to me. His unconscious desires were conscious therefore letting him speak his mind, no line and no filter from which to hold back thoughts or feelings.
I have experienced a few other funny moments such as the ones I described during my three weeks at Tunbridge, however the rest have currently slip my mind (maybe I should remember to write them down next time). I can concur with Douglas’s statement that children are funny because of their lack of control. As kids and learning minds they honestly want to know things or give an opinion but we find what they question or come up with funny sometimes because of their lack of knowing and lack of control.