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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Kids want more jokes in the newspaper

After I had been interviewing and photographing kids in the Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation summer program at Woodridge Park recently, three young boys wanted to talk about my work as a reporter.

On a nice summer afternoon, I'm never in a hurry to leave a park so I stayed to chat with them.

One of them told me he doesn't read newspapers.

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said.

It's been my experience that children want to say things they believe are helpful so another child told him that he should read the newspaper because "it has interesting stuff and I had my picture in it once."

I thanked him for the nice comment when the third child chimed in.

"Maybe you should have more jokes in the paper," he said.

I thought about that and decided to test his suggestion.

The next week, I went to Thompson Family Park and asked the kids to bring a joke the next afternoon.

When I arrived, the kids were ready for me.

To me, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is children laughing. I wanted to find out what kids think is funny but that idea went nowhere fast. They just wanted to tell their jokes and be silly. I was silly, too, something I never do with adults.

"What's black and white and red all over" asked Scout Adams.

"I give up," I said, even though I knew the answer.

"A newspaper," Scout said.

"How about an embarrassed zebra?" I said.

"How about a porcupine with a rash?" said Savannah Herbert.

These kids were good.

Then, there was a round of "why did the cow cross the road" jokes.

"Because he wanted to go the 'moovies,'" said Jesse Truax.

Why did the cow got to the space station? Because he wanted to go to the "mooon."

Savannah, a fourth-grader, and Scout, a fifth-grader, are buddies. The two of them ought to be doing stand-up comedy.

Guessing they are smart and creative, I asked them about their favorite subjects in school.

"Art, music and gym," Savannah said.

"Art, music and library," Scout said.

Then, Savannah started telling "knock, knock" jokes and more silliness ensued because I fell for the one that goes on forever with the joke teller responding with "banana" three times until she said, "Orange. Aren't you glad I didn't say, banana?"

"Why did the hungry guy go to Italy?" asked Savannah. "Because he wanted to see the leaning tower of pizza."

My favorite joke of the afternoon came from 6-year-old Parker Pietruszewski. He told it with his eyes shut as if he was trying to remember and afraid he wouldn't tell it right.

"What does a cloud wear under his shorts? he asked.

"Thunderpants!" he said shouting out the answer with glee before I could say, "I give up."

An afternoon spent laughing in a park? Priceless.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600