The Destructive Power of the Knock Knock Joke

15 minutes of quiet. That’s all I wanted. I’d been ‘on’ all day, my only day off this week.

I had struggled with my mother’s emotional state after her most recent trip to the Lahey Clinic in Boston, had done our normal week’s worth of laundry, plus the linens and extras from last week’s house guest. The dishes were done, the closet put back together and I’d been a chef, a pirate and a supervillian.

And my own plans for the day were trashed when my husband fairly well poisoned himself and was too ill to tag in for kiddo care.

I was not a happy woman.

I timed myself out. I left my husband to his bed upstairs and  told the boy I needed 15 minutes. I was going to sit at the computer and look for paint ideas for the linen cabinet and some other in-the-works projects around the house. He could be in the room with me, playing, but not on the computer or anything else that needed my help.

On an up note, I found this:

I’ve already found a spectacular shade of lime green for mine!

Quinn peeked over my shoulder now and then, but was generally quiet.

Thankful for this, I kept my eyes trained on the screen and let all of the colors take the edge off.


This was harmless and required no brains. “Who’s there?” Purple for the porch. That looks great with the white.”


“Boo Who?” Hmmm. Maybe moss-green for the porch. And a built in storage bench. With pillows. It could be a reading nook!

“Aww, don’t cry, it’s only a joke.”

“That’s funny buddy. I have one for you. Knock-knock”

“Who’s there?”

“Oink oink.” Maye a Murphy bed for the back room? With a bookcase on the underside. Hmmm. Work out the logistics of that.

Oink oink who?”

“Make up your mind, are you a pig or an owl?”

We went on this way for another 15 minutes. I was beginning to relax. Had scored a few ideas for the house, checked on some pricing for the shingles and paint.

And then I stood up.

Quinn was standing on the antique fireworks chest, a paintbrush in hand.

Not a kid’s paintbrush. A real one. About 3 inches wide. And it was dripping white paint.


His eyes gut big while I crossed the room to see his work.

“Buddy, what are you doing?” Deep breaths.

“Painting for you! You want this closet painted, so it’s a present.”

I made my way toward him. And found this:

You are looking at a black prohibition-era fireworks chest, the side of the linen cabinet, a hardwood floor and the wall of my office. Isn’t it. . . pretty? And it was just for me!

That cabinet? Is really tall. But by standing on the chest, he got the whole thing.

At first, he was so pleased with himself. He’d made it pretty for me. I kept myself together and asked him if he remembered the rules about painting.

“But. . .” he trailed off as he looked at my face.

He closed his mouth instead, and just stood still while I began to clean up, muttering “KeepItTogetherKeepItTogetherKeepItTogether” a la Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger.

Around this time, my husband finally came downstairs.


Who’s there?”


“Mama who?”

“Mama’s leaving, Tag, you’re it.”


Related articles:

Check out A Little Off Color, the awesome blog where I found the laundry room instructions! I went in search of the materials for this project when I tagged out!



2 thoughts on “The Destructive Power of the Knock Knock Joke

  1. Hee hee, you had me laughing the whole way through. Oowweee, only another parent of small children would really get the pathos of this scene. I have two who are still small and troublesome as well. The other day, I forced myself, as I always do, to get all the kids’ things done first. Tended them, fed them, dressed them, played with them and then, set them up with activities. I sat to my computer. That’s when my youngest piped up and said, “You always sit at the computer. You never EVER do anything with us!” Oh the unfairness of it all. And to think, that’s probably what he’ll grow up believing too!!


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