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.”
“OMG. That’s so stupid.”
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.
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.”
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.