posted on February 22, 2022 by Marissa Clarke

Inside Jokes

One of my favorite things in well-developed family and friend relationships (in real life and on the page) are the little inside jokes that break tension and strengthen bonds.

In my family, we have three ongoing inside jokes: The Raisin Toast song, being “Stobarted,” and the perennial favorite, singing “Happy Holiday” at inappropriate moments.

The Raisin Toast Song:

When my three kids were teens (I have twins and a daughter a year older—yeah, that’s three kids in two years), we had a particularly grumpy morning. Not sure why… not sure there was even a reason. We ended up at a little diner you’ll find all over the South called Waffle House. We were at a booth sharing glares—at this point, I’d given up on being peacemaker. After more than a few tense moments, one of my daughters started to fight back a smile. Then she stopped fighting it and broke out in giggles.
“Listen,” she said.
Still glaring at each other, the twins cocked their heads and started to laugh as well.
“They’re singing about raisin toast.”
“No way.”
“OMG. That’s so stupid.”
“It’s awesome!”
Soon, we were all singing along with the ridiculous, upbeat tune, and had even inspired a couple of the tables next to us to join in.

After that, whenever anyone woke up grumpy, someone else in the family would serenade them with “There are Raisins in my Toast” until they smiled, which usually didn’t take long. It’s supremely silly. Check it out here.

Being Stobarted:

On our third anniversary, my husband and I left our three babies for the first time with someone else (Oldest was a year and a half old and the twins were four months). My husband wanted to make our special day perfect, so he made reservations at an upscale seafood restaurant overlooking the beach. The restaurant was not crowded, but instead of seating us at a table near the windows overlooking the water, we were escorted to what I assume was a private party room in the back called The Stobart Room (named after a sea captain or something). It was unattractive with no windows and bright, flickering fluorescent lighting. I might have cried… Okay, I was bathed in mommy hormones; I definitely cried. Hubs got us moved out to the main dining room, and after a while, we started to find it funny. After that, instead of saying, “We got screwed,” we substituted, “We got Stobarted.” Even recently, one of my now-grown kids said, “I think that salesman is Stobarting us.”

Happy Holiday:

This one is the most common insider joke in my family. My mom came to live with us after she was no longer able to take care of herself. She had always been a grumpy person and complained a lot. It got much worse over the holidays, and when she’d flare up about something, my husband would sing “Happy Holiday” from the movie, Holiday Inn.  Instantly, my mom would stop her shenanigans and laugh. We’d all laugh.

Mom passed years ago, but to this day, regardless of season, if one of us is angry or off the rails, someone in the family belts out a verse of “Happy Holiday” and all is well. In fact, I’m giggling just thinking of my husband breaking out in song only a few days ago when I couldn’t open a jar and was cursing at it.

Inside jokes in my books:

In my stories, I try to incorporate this same type of inside humor. In ACCIDENTALLY PERFECT, the hero has a teen daughter, Bethany, who is mad at her dad because he won’t let her go on an overnight camping trip with her boyfriend. She tells a woman she meets on the beach about it, calling her dad an “overprotective, old-fashioned, old man,” who thinks sex “only happens after dark.”

The woman, Lillian, is amused to discover the old-fashioned old-man is the town hottie and barely more than thirty years old. When told about it, he doesn’t find it funny, but Lillian turns it into an ongoing joke—one of those insider things that draws characters closer and makes them more relatable.

Eventually, the hero embraces the joke to the point that book closes with, “Let’s go home and do some old-fashioned, old-people things.”

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Do you have any little fun insider jokes in your family or friendships? Tell me about it for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or one of two digital copies of ACCIDENTALLY PERFECT. (Will substitute one of my other romantic comedies if you have already purchased the book)

Huge thank you to Writerspace for hosting me today.


Marissa Clarke

Marissa Clarke

Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where the everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa's heart) with an iron paw. She also writes young adult novels for Penguin USA as Mary Lindsey For sneak peeks at upcoming projects and chances to win prizes, join her Facebook street team group, Camp Clarke.

6 thoughts on “Inside Jokes”

  1. bn100 says:

    not really

  2. Rachel Flesher (aka Raonaid Luckwell) says:

    We have a few (some of them are to embarrass my sons, especially the middle – the Marine)
    When my middle was young, he came up to me and said “Mom, I like this song called “Pecker Face” by Lady Gaga.” I was like “Wait, what? Do you mean Poker face?” To this day, especially around him, I call it Pecker Face.
    Just recently we started one with my 17 year old which embarrasses him. When he least expects it, I’ll say it. He gets so flustered and embarrassed.

    Hubby and I was watching an anime called Slayers. The bad guys were flexing their pecs like the Wrestlers do on WWE. And the two main characters (one boy and one girl) comments about it. The male goes “Hey Lina he did that pec wiggle thing to.”
    She goes “My turn!”
    So, whenever we watched wrestling or a movie where a guy flexs his pecs, we quote the anime.

    1. Charlene Booth says:

      Pecker Face is too funny!

  3. Colleen C. says:

    I can not think of anything…

  4. Onara Garcia says:

    While upset and texting my coworker, what was supposed to be ‘ya f***ing hoo’ Was auto corrected to ‘yaflinghop’ and has become our inside joke.
    That auto correct is both hilarious and aggravating! 🙂

  5. Charlene Booth says:

    My husband was a U.S. Marine who frequently wore green camos and had a tendency to walk much more quickly than I did. One day I was urging him to slow down. His response was to say, “I can’t help it if you’re so pokie.” I said back to him, “Well, if I’m Pokie, that makes you Gumby!” Pokie and Gumby were cartoon characters from back in the day, and Gumby was green. We’ve been married 36 years and still call each other those names from time to time. To tease our daughter when she was young, we used to tell her that she was our favorite daughter. She would beam with pride. Then one day it occurred to her that she was our ONLY daughter. She got frustrated and declared, “But I’m your only dollar!” After that declaration, we immediately began to tell her that she was our favorite dollar. Not to leave our son out of this, one evening we went out to eat dinner and he ordered salmon. Back home, he began bragging about how salmon is good for your brain. He got excited and jumped up and down shouting that he could feel himself getting smarter by the minute. As he jumped he hit his head on a shelf attached to the wall. He was unhurt, and his assertions about his intelligence have not been forgotten by our family!

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