Saturday 2 March 2024

I've told you a million times not to exaggerate by Steve Way


Musing about things literary, well sort of literary, I wondered whether ‘Dad Jokes’ would count as unique genre. What do you think? In doing so I remembered making embarrassing dadness a feature of one of the stories the first volume of the ‘Spell binding Stories’ series I’m working on, aimed at (hopefully!) making the teaching of spelling as required by the good old National Curriculum more creative and interesting.

The title of the story is, I acknowledge, not the most arresting but ‘The key to -ey words’ largely, as it were, explains what’s in the tin. Sanita and her friend Margaret are setting up a stall to sell items for charity but are struggling with how to write the plural of words ending in -ey as they suspect it’s not done in the same way as words such a baby. Sanita’s dad, Paul, arrives on the scene and along with embarrassing Sanita with a dad joke, embarrasses her still further before leaving.

It ends thusly;


There was silence for a moment when Paul had proudly finished explaining the solution to the girls’ problem. Sanita was actually wondering if you could disown your own father but then Margaret said; “Thank you Mr Powell that was very helpful,” and then began changing the poster to show that the stall would shortly be selling donkeys, monkeys and ‘Magic Keys’.

Sanita looked up at her smiling embarrassing dad. “Yes thank you dad,” she said in her unmistakeable yes-alright-you-helped-but-can-you-go-now voice. As long as he doesn’t call me ‘Honey-Chicken’ in front of one of my friends I may not have to kill him later she thought.

“Ok good luck with your stall girls… bye Margaret… see you later Honey-Chicken…”

Sanita was about to scream but then their first customer arrived.

Sanita would get her revenge. Soon she would become a teenager…


If Dad Jokes and related parental embarrassment potential could slip into children’s stories I was considering whether ‘Partner Jokes’ could count as a sub-genre that could also be utilised, of which maybe Jan and my ‘Partner Jokes’ could be a sub-sub-genre.

We live in a quiet rural town more or less in the middle of France. If it takes me a while to return from a trip to the pharmacie or boulangerie I would find it mildly odd if Jan didn’t ask me if there had been ‘a queue of one’. Here it’s not so much service with a smile more service with a long chat. I’ve sometimes spent longer behind the person being served here than in a queue of ten or more back in Blighty. Though as an eavesdropper it’s given me a chance to practice my French and of course on the whole we appreciate the calmer pace of life. (Even the teenagers say hello to you – well ‘bonjour’ of course – though they seem to be doing so slightly more grumpily than when we first moved here. Still maybe that’s progress for you.*)

On the other hand, if there is no queue of one and I’m back within a couple of minutes – the boulangerie after all is at the end of the street – on Jan declaring ‘that was quick’, I need only reply ‘They call me…’ the unspoken ‘speedy Gonzales’ now being unnecessary.

When in a fluster Jan deems herself indecisive, bemoaning, ‘I can never make my mind up!’ As you’ve probably guessed, I can’t help chipping in, ‘Are you sure about that?’

On other occasions, such as the other day when unasked I brought her favourite crisps from the supermarket, she is wont to declare, ‘you must be psychic’, ‘I knew you were going to say that’ is the automatic reply.

To my delight I’ve just started to teach one of my grandson’s maths and the poor boy has already had a taste of my (could this genre be ‘Grandad/Teacher jokes’) tried and tested quips.

We’ve already encountered a question demanding him to ‘simplify fully’, so I asked if he’d already had dinner. He was also equally befuddled when I asked if he had any exercise equipment but then pointed out that the question asked him to ‘work out’. It won’t be long until we encounter a question telling him to ‘expand’ as in ‘Expand 3(x + 4)’ so I’ll insist he take a deep breath before embarking on the calculation. No doubt, like everyone else I’ve taught, he’ll tell me that he doesn’t know anyone called Potenuse, which I’ll declare a shame as he therefore won’t be able to greet him by saying, ‘Hi Potenuse!’ Of course every maths teacher refers to the noble knight Sir Cumference.

Please forgive me for inflicting you with my daft humour but I would be delighted to know of any Dad/Teacher/Partner/Grandad jokes you would be generous enough to share and to know if you would be prepared – or have done so already - to incorporate embarrassing grown up humour into your stories!


The rivetingly titled ‘The key to -ey words’ appears in ‘Spell Binding Stories KS1’ ISBN: 978-1717984562 ASIN: B07G49YMT5

Also in the series so far: ‘Spell Binding Stories LKS2 with Grammar Supplement’ ISBN: 979-8378008919 ASIN: B0BW7FBPBM


*Like the supermarket opening on a Sunday morning! Phew!


1 comment:

Andrew Preston said...

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like my old Grandad. Not screaming like all his passengers.