The Slice

Deconstructing grade school humor

I had a friend at East Elementary School named Rob Campbell. He made me laugh.

Once, during a lively round of riffing on advertising slogans out by the monkey bars, he came up with something I regarded as hilarious.

You might recall Madison Avenue's line, "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent."

Rob tweaked that into "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with atom bombs."

In the decades since then, it has been suggested to me that Rob's rewrite is not really all that funny.

But I insist that my grade school pal's Cold War humor styling was actually trenchant social commentary. He was staring into the face of fear and laughing at our existential absurdity.

I suppose reasonable people can disagree.

Perhaps her oral hygiene regimen included the use of a thermonuclear device.  

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