Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pooh Happens

I am a man in my mid-forties. I've lived a lot of years, had a lot of experiences, and reached a certain level of maturity. Or so you would think. You see, there are times when I am no more mature than a 10 year-old boy. Case in point: whenever I see the character Winnie the Pooh, I can not stop myself from making poo jokes.

I blame Oprah. (Wait. This is one of the few societal problems that is not Oprah's fault.) I blame A. A. Milne. Who names a character in a children's book "Pooh?" I think even back in the 1920s poo and poop were synonymous. And I don't care how much you dress it up by adding an "h" on the end, pooh is poo. Rumor* has it that Milne's alternate name for the character was "Winnie the Crappe." (*I like to star rumors.)

Anyway, by naming his bear "Pooh," Milne has left me no choice but to make poo jokes. Oh, they aren't funny jokes, but I feel compelled to make them nonetheless. As an example, I had some friends who had a set of Winnie the Pooh drinking glasses. Anytime they got the glasses out I would feel forced to say, "Hey, there's Pooh on this glass!" Like I said, not funny, but I just couldn't help myself.

The Wife knew about this Pooh compulsion early on in our relationship. (And yet she married me anyway. She's a saint!) Because she knew about this, when we started to have kids she went out of her way to avoid any and all Winnie the Pooh clothing and merchandise. She didn't want our kids to have them, because she didn't want to listen to my lame jokes. Avoiding the Pooh is not as easy as it sounds. There is Pooh everywhere! The Wife's Pooh ban didn't include Pooh's friends, just Pooh. So, we happily have a couple of stuffed Tigger dolls. And I've always been partial to Eeyore. (People say he reminds them of me.)
Look out, Eeyore! There's Pooh on that shirt!!!
But, despite her best efforts, The Wife couldn't stop the flow of Pooh. Pooh is everywhere, because the people pushing the Pooh are brilliant and relentless. Almost everywhere you look, there is Pooh. Pooh is unavoidable. Pooh happens. And so, a couple of Pooh books made it through The Wife's embargo. And then someone who didn't know about my Pooh joke obsession gave The Girl a little stuffed Winnie the Pooh.

At first, I tried to fight it. I tried referring to that little stuffed animal only as "Winnie." But, before long I was saying things like "There's some Pooh on the floor over there," and "That toy box has some Pooh in it." I just couldn't help myself.

And then, it happened. The ultimate Pooh joke, and it didn't come from me. It came from my cute, innocent, little almost-three-year-old Girl. The Girl and her Auntie K were on the floor playing with toys, while I was in the kichen doing some dishes. Before anyone knew what was happening, The Girl had grabbed her stuffed Winnie the Pooh and was holding it against Auntie K's backside. And then The Girl said, "I'm putting Pooh up your bum."

"I'm putting Pooh up your bum."

Needless to say (although I'm going to say it anyway) I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever heard! (So did Auntie K and The Wife.) I don't think The Girl knew what she was saying. But, maybe she did. Maybe she's the funniest kid on the planet. Or maybe it's hereditary. Maybe, because she's made from my genetic material, she's destined to spend her entire life telling really lame Pooh jokes. If so, heaven help us all. (The pooh will really hit the fan.)

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