A few years ago, my sister came across a cache of letters and postcards I’d sent her when I was a kid and she was in college. In one dated around Halloween, I told her a joke that, when I reread it decades later, made me laugh so hard I was crying. Here’s the joke:
Q: What did the carving knife say to the pumpkin?
A: “In your face!”
I would argue that this is a perfect joke: silly, sweet, easy to remember and, despite its brevity, it still manages to include a good pun. When I woke up the other day, the joke was in my head, probably since the previous post about jokes was still knocking around in there.
The punch line of the joke reminded me of when my friends Brendan and Liz came to visit me in Barcelona and Brendan was especially taken with the expression ¡toma! which is what Spanish kids says when they want to say “take that” or “in your face.” I don’t even know how it came up, but during the time they were around, we found lots of things over which to feel superior in such a manner.
It’s a common enough saying in Spain — also used when playing video games à la “suck it!” — but when I asked Anne what the French equivalent was, she said she’d have to think about it since nothing came to mind easily. Until I hear otherwise, I’m going to believe that the French are too bien élevé to revel in such schadenfreude.