It is a rule of nature. If you are five, then you are well versed in the Ways of the Knock-Knock. You are especially enamored of this little chestnut:
-- Who's there?
-- Interrupting co--
It was early Sunday morning. And when I say early, I mean early. As in heading to the 24-hour diner in the dark, early. As in five hours before a childless friend called to say he'd just gotten up, early. As in capital-E-A-R-L-WHY oh why has god forsaken me, early.
The boys and I ordered our usual and settled at our favorite table, in the corner. We like it because Robert gets to hone his people-watching skills and TwoBert gets to scream DADDY BUS DADDY BUS every time the M103 chugs by. I was counting the seconds until my coffee arrived, but the boys were wired as all get out. So the knock-knock jokes began. TwoBert hasn't quite got the hang of them yet, as best illustrated below:
TwoBert: Who's there?
TB: Apple who?
Me: Applebee's! Now you try it!
Me: Who's there?
Me: No, just say "apple."
Me: Who's there?
Me: Actually, you can just say "app--
So the three of us started riffing on the Iterations of Interruption, and how they can be deployed to the greatest possible annoyance. We used just about every animal we could think of, then moved on to interrupting car horn (HONK!), interrupting trumpet (TOOT!), interrupting nuclear bomb (BOOOM!), and interrupting butt (also TOOT!). Then, out of nowhere, Robert came up with this:
Me: Who's there!
Robert: Interrupting silence!
Me [slightly aghast]: Interrupting ... silence ... who?
Robert: [grins triumphantly]
As if scripted, our food arrived right after that. And as I sliced up the pancakes, pondered Robert's precocious appreciation of Zen koan, and kept TwoBert from biting into one of the syrup squibs, I thought to myself: I am one of the least forsaken people I know.