Up to My Eyeballs

Q: Why don’t people trust stairs?
A: Because they’re always up to something!

Explanation: Do you take the elevator or do you take the stairs?  Well, most of the places I go do not have elevators, but when they do, I usually take the stairs (unless the building is really tall and I have to go to an upper floor!).  There are lots of reasons to take the stairsTake the stairs is an idiom meaning walk up or down the stairs; it is similar to take the bus.

Up to something is also an idiom. If you are up to something, it means that you are planning something or involved in something, probably something bad.  A parent might say, “The kids are really quiet right now; I hope they’re not up to something.”  Up to something is not always bad.  I might say, “I knew my friends were up to something when everyone was too busy to for dinner on my birthday.”

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of up to something.  Stairs literally go up to an upper floor, while people who are planning something are up to something and you might not trust them.

Here are some Looney Toon characters who are up to no good:

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Not Too Long in the Tooth

Q: What do dentists call their X-rays?
A: Tooth-pics!

Explanation: I have never enjoyed going to the dentist, but it is necessary.  Every few years my dentist takes an X-ray of my teeth using those cardboard bitewings to get a good image of my teeth, and make sure there are no hidden cavities. X-rays use a small amount of radiation to see inside our bodies, and are really good for seeing teeth and bones.

A toothpick is a small piece of wood or plastic that is used to remove small pieces of food from between your teeth.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words tooth-pic (a picture of your teeth, pic is a shortened version of picture) and toothpick.

Take a look here to see how toothpicks are made-

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Run to the Light

Q: Why are plants so skinny?
A: Because they eat lite!

Explanation: Skinny means thin or lean; the opposite of skinny could be obese, fat, or chubby.  The stem of most plants is thinner than a finger, so yes plants are typically thin.

Someone who eats lite is someone who does not eat very much, or eats certain foods that are lower in calories.  You may have seen foods that are labeled lite or light.  Companies who sell those foods want people to think that those foods are more healthy, although sometimes, perhaps many times, they are not.

The word lite sounds the same as the word light.  In your middle school science class, you may have learned about photosynthesis.  Photosynthesis is the ability of plants to take sunlight and transform it into sugars that the plant can use as food.  So, if you think about it, plants are absorbing, eating, the light and making their own food.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word lite/light, and how it relates both to eating and photosynthesis.

Thinking back to when I was in middle school, there was a scary movie called Poltergeist where a child was told to run to the light (if you don’t like scary movies, please do not watch this movie clip).

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Of Courses

Q: When is dining out just like school?
A: When it’s a four course meal!

Explanation: When you go to a restaurant, you are dining out.  Dining out, eating out, and going to a restaurant for a meal all mean the same thing.  When you say that you are dining out, it probably means that you are going to a restaurant with servers who take your order and bring you your food; dining out is more formal than going to a fast-food restaurant.

Often, restaurants will offer meals with multiple courses.  In dining, a course means a type of food that is served at one time.  Typical courses are appetizers, salad, the main dish, and dessert.  There can be lots and lots of courses in a meal. (This is why sometimes there are many forks on the table at a really fancy restaurant!)

In school, a course is unit that may last a semester, a year, or another length of time.  You might have a year-long history course or a semester-long philosophy course.  Frequently, college students take four courses in a semester, although they can take more or fewer.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word course: A meal course and a school course.  Of course there are other courses such as a golf course and the course of a river (its path).

Here is a river changing its course-

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Missing You

Q: Why did the bat miss the school bus?
A: He hung around too long!

Explanation: First of all, let’s be clear: Bats don’t go to school.  Although, bats might make their home in the attic of a school or any building if there is a way to get inside.

In this joke, when you miss the school bus, it means that you arrived too late to take the bus.  There are other meanings of miss the bus: If you really liked taking the bus and you no longer take it, you might miss the bus, just like you might miss someone who is not with you; if you were trying to hit the bus with a snowball (don’t do this!), you could miss the bus when you throw the snowball and the snowball does not hit the bus.

To hang around means that you spend time with people, maybe talking, maybe not doing much of anything.  If you hang around too long, that means that you are spending too much time at a place and you will be late for whatever comes next.  Bats, of course, hang upside down when they sleep.  That is, they grab a branch from a tree, or something else, with their feet, and they hang with their heads toward the ground (the opposite of standing on your feet).

This joke is funny because it plays with the words hang (hung in the past), like a bat sleeping, and hang around, like spending time not doing much of anything.

Here is a short video about bats landing upside down:

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Muckety Muck

Q: What did the dirt say to the rain?
A: If you keep this up, my name is going to be mud!

Explanation: Today is the equinox: The autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere, and the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere.  The equinox marks a change in the seasons when the sun’s direct rays cross the equator.

Now, back to the joke!  Dirt is another name for soil.  Dirt can be dry and dusty (if it has not received any water), moist (if it has received some water), or muddy (if it has received a lot of water).  This can happen in houseplants or outside.  If you don’t water your houseplants, the soil will dry out and the plant will die; if you water them too much, the soil will become muddy and the plant will die.  Mud is dirt mixed with water.

My name is mud is an idiom that means you have a bad reputation.  If your name is mud, your reputation is bad, and you are known for something negative.  The original saying comes from the name of Dr. Samuel Mudd; he was the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth after Booth killed Abraham Lincoln.

This joke is funny because dirt is actually called mud when it gets wet, so it’s name will be mud, not dirt.

Names are important.  Here are some thoughts about remembering people’s names-

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That’s Rich!

Q: Why did the farmer bury all his money?
A: To make the soil rich!

Explanation: In the northern hemisphere, spring is right around the corner, and that means planting season.  Farmers want to have really good soil (dirt) to plant their seeds.  The seeds will sprout and grow in good, rich soil much better than in poor soil, soil that lacks the necessary nutrients to feed the seeds/plants.  Rich soil means good dirt for the growing of plants and trees.

When people have a lot of money, we say that they are rich.  Now, there are a lot of ways that people can be rich: rich in happiness, rich in love, rich in friendships…  However, the main meaning of rich is rich with money.

This joke is funny because it plays with the ideas of rich (lots of money), and rich soil.  By the way, burying your money in the dirt will not make your soil rich; it will just destroy your money.  If you have extra money, there are many wonderful charities that work to make the world a better place; they would be happy to partner with you to make the world a bit better.

If you have a space for gardening, here are a few tips to make your soil great, and it’s not by burying money.

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In Like a Lion

Q: Why did the lion spit out the clown after trying to eat him?
A: It tasted funny!

Explanation: OK, another joke from a circus.

Did you ever taste something that wasn’t quite right?  Maybe it tasted bad because it turned sour, like spoiled milk, or rotten like a bad apple.  If you taste something that has a bad taste, we say that it tasted funny.  To taste funny means that it tastes bad, and you shouldn’t eat it.  Most people will spit out bad food; hopefully they do it carefully into a napkin, or perhaps into the trash.

Clowns are characters that are supposed to be funny and make us laugh, although many people are scared of clowns.  At a circus, clowns come in to make people laugh, often between other performances that need time to set up or take down.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of funny clowns tasting funny.  A person who tells jokes cannot taste funny. And of course it is not funny at all if you are the clown getting eaten by a lion.

Speaking of lions, have you heard the phrase “in like a lion and out like a lamb?”   Here is a bit of March weather history for you…

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Q: Did you hear about the fire at the circus?
A: Yeah–It was intense!!

Explanation: I love the circus! Two of my favorite circus’ are La Tarumba in Lima, Peru, and Circus Juventus in St. Paul, MN.  Traditionally, a circus would move from place to place, carrying everything with it, including a tent where they would perform.

Intense means extreme or very very strong.  You can have intense feelings for something (or someone), like when you really, really like a certain brand of chocolate.  A situation can be intense, like when people are arguing loudly.  A fire can be intense if it is really big and produces a lot of heat.

This joke is funny because “intense” sounds exactly like “in tents.”  In the joke, the fire happened in circus tents and it was intense.

Here is Cirque du Soleil taking down and setting up their circus tent.  It’s pretty intense!

Thank you J. L. for the joke!

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The Graveyard’s Edge

Q: Why is there a fence around the cemetery?
A: Because people are dying to get in!

Explanation: A cemetery is a graveyard, a place where dead people are buried.  If you are looking for some famous cemeteries, you might check out this link from Fordor’s.  Most cemeteries that I know of have a fence going around the outside of the cemetery.  I am not sure why, exactly, but perhaps the fence shows where the boundaries of the graveyard are.

“Dying to do something” is an idiom that means that you really want to do something.  If I say that I am dying to eat churros in Madrid, it means that I really want to try them when I travel to Madrid.

This joke is funny because it plays with the meaning of “dying to:”  the literal meaning that people are actually losing their lives (we all will die!) and will go to the graveyard, and the figurative meaning that people are dying to get into the cemetery (they really want to get in).  Most people do not want to get into a cemetery; most people do not want to die.

Suicide, though, is not funny.  If you are considering suicide, please, please, please reach out to those who are near you and ask for help.  There are people who love you, even in the darkest moments.  For right now, read this amazing, saving poem.

If you are looking for an odd and wonderful book to read, I would highly recommend The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  It takes a while to get into the book, but it is worth the effort.  Here is chapter 1:

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