My family and I, like many, have a running gag. I used to love going to the zoo, and in fact I still do. Seeing animals that are rare, wondrous, precious, or just plain there is a treat that I’ll be sharing with Little Danger for sure.
On this particular once-upon-a-time, I sat quietly in my stroller as my parents wheeled me along the pathways at the St. Louis Zoo. We spent a bit of time watching the giraffes in the sweltering heat of an August summer day. I was fascinated by the way the giraffe would swish its tail, shooing the flies away from itself with its very own built-in flyswatter. Of course, being only 5 or so, I didn’t quite have the vocabulary or patience to properly articulate such a sentiment. Instead, I happily chirped out “Gee, I like that giraffe’s butt!”
Thus began a long and endearing (though occasionally embarrassing) run of giraffe butt jokes that has persisted for 3 decades. It’s still possible for me to make my mom giggle by the mere mention of a giraffe butt, and I try to make sure I do so every now and then. For instance, finding myself in London’s largest toy store, I staged a shot of me grabbing a giraffe by the tail…and I submit to you that if you can afford a life-sized stuffed giraffe, you can fuck right off. Some of us outside of the rarified airs actually have to struggle to make ends meet.
I’ve always been a fan of little in jokes like this, secret ways of saying things within a couple, family, or group of friends. They build a secret language of shared experience, humor, and love. What’s your favorite family in-joke?