Several people say their grandparents are hilarious, but I'm one of the lucky, unrelenting few who managed to coerce said grandparent into providing video evidence.
Like any good granddaughter, I waited until my grandma was at her most weak and vulnerable from fasting on Yom Kippur to spring this idea on her. The woman hates being photographed, much less videotaped, so it took some serious begging and bargaining before she reluctantly agreed to let me film us reading some of the jokes from William Novak's new book, Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks, together.
Her reactions ranged from "I don't think your sense of humor is as good as you think it is, Lindsay," to "OK, well, this one is pretty funny, I'll give you that," to "If you don't stop filming me with that stupid phone, you're out of the will for good this time." Getting written out of a will is a classic "joke" that comes up both in Novak's book and whenever I see my grandma. Funny how that works.
Her reactions to the actual book were far more positive. Once left to her own devices, she ignored the Post-It notes I had so thoughtfully used to mark jokes I'd hoped my grandma would find funny and flipped through the book at her leisure. She read joke after joke in silence, before suddenly erupting into fits of laughter — usually when she came across a, well, let's just say less than squeaky-clean one.
Grandma's verdict? She'd buy the book for herself and recommend it her eclectic group of "newly old folk" friends.
I told her she wouldn't have to go to all that trouble since I'd be more than happy to give her my copy as a lovely Hanukkah present.
Suddenly, she wasn't laughing. I have no idea why.