Just One More Knock Knock Joke

Will you remember me in an hour?
Yes.
Will you remember me in a day?
Yes.

Will you remember me in a week?

Yes.

Will you remember me in a month?

Yes.

Will you remember me in a year?
Yes.
I think you won’t.
Yes, I will.
Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
See? You’ve forgotten me already!

Here’s the thing about knock knock jokes. We think we’ve learned something and then we make the same mistake. We learn it again and then we make the same mistake for the third time. What’s that all about?

I have a friend who says it means we sometimes need to learn the same lesson on a deeper level. Often I “get it” in my head but it doesn’t really seep into the core of me. For instance, when I’m driving and my friend, Sam, is sitting next to me.

“There’s a slow car coming up, pass him!” Or, “You have plenty of time to make the light—just go!” When I get upset, Sam asks, “What’s your problem? I’m just helping you! I’m like a co-pilot!”

What happens, however, is that if I don’t drive the speed he thinks I should be driving or if I don’t anticipate what he thinks I should be doing then he makes a comment. And then I stop focusing on my driving and start focusing on his next remark. I get more and more tangled in my head and the mood in the car turns sour.

But the problem isn’t him – it’s me.

If I suffer from his comments, then it’s my problem. And if my problem is another person’s behavior, then I’ll never find a solution until I accept that there isn’t a blessed thing I can do to change someone else.

The problem might be the other person’s behavior like in yesterday’s post when Chuck was always late to meet my daughter. Yes, it’s rude and wrong and disrespectful to be late but Chuck won’t start to arrive on time just because somebody else wants him to.

It’s like Larry David. I love “Curb Your Enthusiasm” because it shows that no matter how many people think Larry acts like a jerk, Larry isn’t going to change. According to his logic, he is right and everyone else is wrong. His friends have three choices: either accept him, suffer from his behavior, or decide not to have anything to do with him.

We always have options. As hard as it is, we can still choose different responses. I still get angry that he’s acting the same way but the truth is — and this is harder to take — I’m still reacting the same way. I always forget that; sometimes I have to learn it again and again.

The knock knock joke reminds me that if I expect someone else to be knocking on my door then the joke’s on me.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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