Joke One-upmanship

By nature, I’m not a traditionally competitive person. I never get worked up over athletic events and at school whenever we had contests I really didn’t care which class brought in the most canned food and got to pick which teacher had to spend the day dressed as a giant turkey.

However, on occasion the goddess of competition takes over my brain and it is always about really random things. Things like who can drink the most lemonade shots during a scary movie before they must pee (spoilers, it is always me, I have a giant bladder) or who can find the weirdest YouTube video (also me).

It is this nonsensical competitive streak that gets me into trouble with jokes.

Listen, I love a good practical joke and I will banter with anyone until the sun goes down. Combine that with a need to win nonexistent competitions and occasionally I fall into the trap of joke-one-upping.

A prime example of this is George the balloon. I know George came from a neighbor but I honestly can’t remember the occasion. I just know we suddenly had this balloon with a monkey on it that didn’t deflate for months. Of course we couldn’t pop it when George was making such a valiant effort to stay alive. So Dad thought it would be funny to put it in front of my door. And then I put it in front of his door. Then he put it back in front of my door so I put it in his room.

Over the next few months, George was constantly on the move. He went everywhere from my closet to Dad’s shower to my bathroom to under Dad’s blankets in place of his pillow. And so ended George. This scenario repeated itself with Dead George, a small skeleton that also made the rounds until it ended up hanging in the garage.

Thankfully no one has ever engaged in a full on prank war with me because I am pretty sure things would get over the top fast. But I have engaged in some verbal chicken, as it were.

This usually starts when someone tries to make a joke for shock value (usually about drugs or murder or robbery) and instead of being shocked I shoot back an even more outrages reply. For example…

Person A – What are you doing tonight?

Me – Oh you know, the usual

PA – so murder?

Me – Hey now, I prefer the term hired hit. And I have to pay the bills somehow.

PA (while slightly unsure how to reply) – Well if you need a lookout, let me know.

Me – Don’t say it unless you mean it.

…the next day…

Me – Hey PA, where were you last night? I almost got caught while I was cutting up the body. I could have used some backup.

PA- uh…yeah. Next time.

Now I have relationships with people that revolve solely around a joke they made one time and I had to one-up them.

Luckily, so far it hasn’t gotten me into any real trouble but one of these days I am going to somehow gain access to a cadaver and think “hey, it would be so funny if I showed up on Person A’s doorstep with this and pretended like I need their help to get rid of it!”

And then because it is just my luck, I would end up getting pulled over with this dead body riding in the front seat because I thought it would be funny. I imagine the conversation would go something like this…

Officer – Mam, is that a dead body?

Me – Oh, you mean Joe? Yeah, he does seem to be dead.

Officer – I’m going to need you to step out of the car…. did you murder Joe?

Me- *dramatic sigh* I prefer the term assassinate, I am a professional after all.

Then, while he cuffed me and shoved me in the back of his car I would be left trying to explain, “no, you don’t understand, it’s funny because I didn’t kill him.”

They’ll book me and my Dad will have to come pick me up, grinning ear to ear with a brand new George balloon.

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