Getting Excited for Christmas · 22 December 2018

Christmas is just around the corner, and I am excited.

I recently had the following conversation (or something like it) with a student:

Student: “Are you excited for the non-specific winter holiday coming up, which I assume is Christmas?”
(My pat answer.) “I try not to get excited about things until they actually happen.”
Student (exasperated): “But that’s the whole point!”

Adoration of the Shepherds
by the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
This work is in the public domain.

The short exchange gave me pause. Getting excited about the very specific winter holiday, which is indeed Christmas, is the whole point.

I love Christmas. I love the season of giving. I love celebrating. I love family. I love the food. I love the cheer. I even love the humbugs in my life. (I really only have a couple who say they are humbugs, but the fact that they are gems is quite a different story.) And of course, I love that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. (No, I am not preaching.)

We need to get ready for the Christmas season by watching some of my favorite movies. A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. We need to get prepared for our Christmas dinner by buying food and researching recipes. We need to buy gifts and decorate. And we need to prepare our hearts for the King of Kings, the reason for the season.

All of which translate into getting excited for Christmas. Which I love to do. I just forgot for a moment. I forgot because I while I do like to save my energy for the moment, I need to remember that I should be excited for each moment. And for big occasions, I need to be excited for the preparations as well.

I am glad that my student reminded me that the excitement for the Christmas season is as important as the yearly event itself. Sometimes, I get worried about the little details. Sometimes, I wonder if I have gotten the right gift. Sometimes, I wonder if I am really ready for the season. And in that wondering, I sometimes forget to get excited.

I do not know if I am quite ready for Christmas. There are still presents to wrap and letters to send (maybe even one to Santa). There might even be a couple gifts left to buy. But like my student said, I ought to be excited about Christmas. About all the preparations and all the presents and all the get-togethers and all the family and all the eating and all the movies. Mostly, I ought to be excited to give love and to receive love. After all, love is at the heart of Christmas. (See, not too much preaching.)

Christmas is just around the corner. I am not so sure I was excited about it before. But thanks to my student’s reminder, I am now.

“Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good night.”

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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My Joke (Revised) · 15 December 2018

Abbott and Costello
This work is in the public domain.

I did some research on dog breeds and decided that the joke I wrote before needed some revision. Not that it is necessarily a bad joke. (I know it is not a great joke, but I cannot get it out of my head.) I just thought that it needed a little something. Like maybe a couple cards to deliver it. Or maybe even a couple headliners who could take the show on the road as part of their vaudeville (or radio) repertoire. But since I do not know anybody like that, I figured I would let Bud and Lou tell the revised joke.

BUD: Hey, Lou. My wife and I are going to start a dog breeding business.
LOU: Really. So what kind of dogs are you gonna breed.
BUD: We’ve got Labrador Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels and Poodles.
LOU: Nice. So are you gonna just have pure breeds or are you gonna do some cross breeding?
BUD: Cross breeding?
LOU: Yeah. You know. You cross the Labrador Retriever with the Standard Poodle and you get a Labradoodle.
BUD: I’ve heard of those. And maybe crossing a Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle to get a Cockapoo.
LOU: A Cockapoo?
BUD: Yeah. A Cockapoo? That sounds right.
LOU: Nah. Nah. Nah. That sounds all wrong.
BUD: So what would you name a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle?
LOU: Me?
BUD: Yeah, you.
LOU: Well, a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle make a Labradoodle, right?
BUD: Right.
LOU: And a Golden Retriever and a Poodle make a Goldendoodle.
BUD: Okay.
LOU: So a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle ought to be a Cockadoodle.
BUD: A Cockadoodle?
LOU: Yeah. A Cockadoodle.
BUD: That’s ludicrous.
LOU: No, it’s not. See, after you’ve been breeding dogs for a while, you open up a doggie barber shop.
BUD: A doggie barber shop?
LOU: A doggie barber shop.
BUD: Okay. And then?
LOU: Then, when your customers with the Cocker Spaniel/Poodle cross breeds come in to pick up their dogs, you say, “That will be seven fifty for your Cockadoodle do.”

I can just hear the laughter. Or the crickets. But it does not matter. I still think it is funny. And it might even be a better joke logically than the one I thought of before. Looking back, I never knew that joke writing took so much research. Which is probably why I am not in the joke writing business. That and the fact that I have no funny bone in my body. (Although I do have a humerus.)

I leave you with that last sorry attempt at humor. But no promise that I will not write any more jokes. Thank you and good night.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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I Made Up a Joke · 8 December 2018

Statue of a Rooster Cock at a park in South India
by Adityamadhav83
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

I can hardly believe it. I made up my own joke the other day!

Okay. Somebody else has probably already made up the joke, but I am claiming here and now that I made it up independently. For if I had merely heard it, I would only be able to remember the set up or the punch line, but not both. Because in my brain, never the twain shall meet. It is just how my brain works, unfortunately.

Sometimes I wonder if God wired my brain a little differently than other people when I was in my mother’s womb. That maybe He said, “This child is going to need a double dose of coordination just so he won’t be a klutz.” And as a result, He wired the speech center of my brain to my hands and feet instead of to my mouth. That would really make sense if could type with my feet, but it still make sense. After all, I can barely speak, but I can communicate by writing. Or at least it seems so. And like I have said before, I cannot tell a joke to save my life.

Which brings me back to my joke.

(By the way, I made sure to NOT look up the joke. I did not want to find out that somebody else had already delivered it and had great or poor success. Probably poor since I am not sure I have much of a sense of humor anyway. Nonetheless, I wanted to think that I have some sort of funny bone. Even if it is pretty simplistic. So if you know who actually wrote the joke in the first place, do not let me know. It is nice to be in fool’s paradise every once in a while.)

Back to the joke.

(By the way, I can envision how the joke would be delivered in real life. Since I can never finish a joke that I only remember the setup of, or I can never start a joke that I only remember the punch line of, I would need to have help. Actually, I can imagine a couple of my friends helping me even though I remember the whole joke. I would start it out and one of my friends would finish the first part. Then, the other of my friends would finish the second part. It would be quite entertaining even though I probably would not have forgotten my own joke.)

But back to the joke.

(It would actually be quite funny if I really had forgotten the whole joke by the time I finished writing this blog post. After all, I am already in several paragraphs and have said nothing about the joke except that I thought of it and can even see the delivery of it. But nothing about the joke so far. In fact, I wonder if I remember it at all. Actually, I do, but it would be ironic if I had forgotten it by now.)

So the joke. (Finally.)

Dog breeds are rather interesting. At least in the naming. After all, when you breed a Labrador retriever with a standard poodle, you get a labradoodle. So if you bred a cockapoo with a poodle, wouldn’t you get a cockadoodle? (Pause for laughter to die down.) And if you had to shampoo it, when you dried said dog, wouldn‘t you have a cockadoodle do?

Okay, it was funnier in my head. And it became even less funny when I read that a cockapoo was already a mix between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. But still, I actually laughed at my own joke. I know that is lame, but still…

Ah well, I can tell by the silence coming from the internet that my foray into joke-making has surely gone awry. But that is okay. As long as I do not keep trying, I will probably keep the few readers I have. And it was nice thinking that I had made up a joke. Still, after writing the joke and researching the foundation of the joke, it is much easier to believe that I merely thought of something that resembles a joke. But I am still claiming that I made up a joke.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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