I was nine the first time I realized my sense of humor wasn’t always considered…appropriate.

I was at a friend’s birthday party, and, as I have done for probably every friend’s birthday since I learned how to work a computer mouse, I had made her an extra-special birthday card.

I’d heard a pretty funny joke shortly before said party, and thought I was pretty much the smartest person ever when I figured out how to turn it into a birthday note.

It’s festive because of the clown; it’s funny because of the cannibals (right?).  I was so excited when she peeled the card off the top of her gift, but…something was off as she started reading my joke.  Was she…confused? a slow reader? disgusted?

And then the reality of what I’d done began to sink in.

Panic started seeping in as she flipped open the card.

I was momentarily relieved!  My joke wasn’t a flop, my friend was just dumber than I’d thought.  Phew!

But then.  But then she handed the note to her mom.

And she got the joke.

And she didn’t think my joke was “age-appropriate.”


Now I only tell that joke to ten-year-olds.